cbs4

Tale of the tape

Tale Of The Tape: Tennessee Titans At Denver Broncos

(credit: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) (credit: Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
(credit: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) (credit: Peter Aiken/Getty Images)

Tennessee Titans

Denver Broncos

Ryan Fitzpatrick is a more-than-adequate backup for starting quarterback Jake Locker, but there are clearly flaws in his game. Fitzpatrick is completely unafraid on the field, and any time he sees the smallest openings, he’s not going to hesitate. That means he’s going to leave his team open to interceptions, and that’s something the Titans can’t afford in this game. Fitzpatrick must protect the ball. Quarterback Peyton Manning continues to get the job done and lead the Broncos in an exemplary way. After beating the Chiefs for the second time in three weeks, the Broncos can claim homefield advantage in the AFC by winning out. Manning has had a remarkable year, throwing 41 touchdown passes and just nine interceptions as he outsmarts nearly every defense he confronts.
The Titans would have a much better chance of competing for 60 minutes in this game if they could get a consistent effort from running back Chris Johnson, but he is averaging 3.8 yards per carry. Fitzpatrick has a more-than-adequate receiving crew in Nate Washington, Kendall Wright and tight end Delanie Walker (concussion). Washington has explosive speed, while Walker should be a red-zone factor. Offense Knowshon Moreno is one of the most underrated performers in the league and he has run hard this season in gaining 842 yards and averaging 4.2 yards per carry. Wide receiver Eric Decker had a spectacular game in the Week 13 win over the Chiefs, catching eight passes for 174 yards and four touchdowns. Demaryius Thomas is an explosive deep threat while Wes Welker will not drop the ball.
The Titans rank ninth on defense overall and seventh against the pass, but they will have to play their best game of the year to control Manning and the Broncos. Outside linebacker Zach Brown has been a force this year with 72 tackles and 4.0 sacks. Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey has the kind of strength and explosion to destroy the pocket. He leads the Titans with 8.0 sacks. Defense The Broncos seem quite vulnerable on defense since they rank 26th overall, but they are willing to give up yards because they score a lot and they try not to give up touchdowns. Linebacker Danny Trevathan plays with exceptional effort and leads the Broncos with 98 tackles and he also has 11 passes defensed. Defensive end Shaun Phillips has done a stellar job and has 9.0 sacks.
The Titans hold their own on punt and kickoff coverage and they rarely give up a big play. Darius Reynaud has good speed as a return specialist, but his long this year is 40 yards. Rob Bironas is one of the game’s most dependable kickers, having made 18-of-21 FG attempts. Special Teams The Broncos find ways to get the edge on their opponents with their special-teams play. While they gave up a kickoff return for a score in Week 13 against the Chiefs, Trindon Holliday has returned both a punt and a kickoff for a touchdown this year. Matt Prater has made 15-of-15 FG attempts.

The winner is

(credit: Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
Denver Broncos
3 out of 4

The Broncos can earn homefield advantage throughout the playoffs by sweeping their last four games. Each of those games are winnable, but this may be the most challenging of the four. If the Broncos don’t have any mental lapses, they should handle the Titans without a big problem.
-Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor

More Tales of the tape

  1. (credit: CBS) (credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Sports Towns: Denver Vs. Kansas City

    Denver is a great sports town, and CBSDenver.com is taking a closer look at how the Mile High City stacks up against other cities in the USA when it comes to the sports culture. This week’s competitor: Kansas City!

  2. (credit: Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images) MIAMI, FL - MAY 30: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat looks on against the Indiana Pacers during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on May 30, 2014 in Miami, Florida.
    Dare To Dream: Love Or LeBron — Who Would Be Best For Nuggets?

    The NBA Draft takes place on Thursday night, and there’s a possibility, however small, that the Denver Nuggets might make moves to try to acquire Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love.

  3. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/Richard Heathcote) (Photo Credit: Getty Images/Warren Little)
    Tale Of The Tape: Winter Olympics In Sochi Vs. FIFA World Cup In Brazil

    With both sites having their share of issues in hosting major international sporting events, we went to the tape to decide who was the worst host of 2014.

See all Tales of the Tape