Ross Jacobs has been an FFM correspondent on NFL games and NFL Draft matters for the past few years. He is going to be writing up some of his notes on various games he’s watching/studying this year. Typically, he will have written/submitted his work before mine, so this is a look at the same game with different eyes...and you can compare and contrast or find some new takeaways.
2020 Week 3 Analysis: Titans @ Vikings (By Ross Jacobs)
-I've been warning that the Titans were likely a bit overrated and the Vikings underrated, but I don't think anyone really expected this. The Vikings led 17-9 at the half after mostly outplaying the Titans. From there though I think the Titans played the better second half although it wasn't dominant. They gave up multiple long runs to Dalvin Cook, a 75 yard TD to rookie Justin Jefferson on a simple crossing route, Tannehill had an easy interception dropped by the defense, and the Vikings missed a field goal. They certainly had their fair share of luck to win this game.
-Tennessee's offense moved the ball almost as well as usual. Derrick Henry was hard pressed to come up with yards most of the game, but chalk that up to Minnesota's run defense. Tannehill did finally throw an interception to Harrison Smith and had another dropped by Holton Hill, but otherwise they looked fine. One issue I've been pointing out since week 1 though is that they aren't scoring a lot of TD's despite moving the ball very well. Last year the Titans had the most efficient scoring offense in the league by a wide margin when they reached the redzone, but this year they are far less effective. If they want to knock off the Chiefs and Ravens they really need to figure this issue out. Field goals won't cut it against the big boys.
-The Tennessee defense though looks to be in some trouble. They've given up 30 points in back to back games against the Jaguars and Vikings, not exactly offensive juggernauts. The schedule only gets harder from here with dates against the Steelers, Bills, Texans, Colts, Ravens, and Packers coming up. There's a very real chance the defense is going to hold the Titans back this year. I see them finishing somewhere around 9 wins or so, maybe 10.
-Minnesota finally got some offense going. Cook was running wild all night which has got to be a welcome sight for Gary Kubiak.
-Jefferson had a monster game as well, but nearly half of his production came on that one broken play where he beat a decrepit Jonathan Joseph on a crossing route and then the Titans somehow failed to tackle him. I didn't see anything particularly special about him here. He's not a bad player, but I don't see a future star either. Hopefully teams won't know this though and will lighten up coverage on Thielen.
-The Vikings are suffering from the same issue plaguing the Texans right now. They had a pretty nasty slate of opponents the first three weeks. They aren't as bad as their 0-3 record says, but it might get worse before it gets better. The Texans, Seahawks, Falcons, and Packers are up next before the schedule finally opens up a bit. It's not exactly a murderer's row, but it's certainly not easy. I could see Minnesota starting maybe 1-6 or so before making somewhat of a comeback during the second half of the season. They should finish somewhere around 5 or 6 wins.
-Justin Jefferson is not the next rookie superstar. He was mostly lucky here. He's a useful player, but I don't think he's the key to your championship.
-Cook and Thielen are still top tier at their positions. Thielen had a slow game here, but he is a great buy-low right now. Everyone is falling all over themselves declaring that Jefferson is the new #1 for this team. Don't believe it. This passing game runs through Thielen, and the schedule of defenses he's facing is about to lighten up significantly. If you don't have him and can't get him be prepared if you have to face him because he's about to go on a tear.