‘Thursday Night Football Preview: What to Watch for in 49ers-Titans – NFL.com

dWeb.News Article from Daniel Webster dWeb.News

NFL SPORTS:

8: 20 p.m. ET (NFL Network) | Nissan Stadium
Full Thursday Night Football schedule
READ: Playoff-clinching scenarios for Week 16

With three weeks left in the NFL season, it’s come to this for the Tennessee Titans and San Francisco 49ers: the Titans (9-5) are trying to shake a tail (the 8-6 Colts) in the AFC, while in the NFC, the 49ers are the tail. The Tennessee lead in the AFC South is shrinking and it now leads Indianapolis by one game. Although it’s more like a tiebreaker, the Titans have two wins over Indianapolis in the tiebreaker — that isn’t too encouraging for a Titans team which has lost three of its last four. Meanwhile, an 8-6 record is only good for third place in the NFC West for the 49ers. Absent a collapse by both the Cardinals and Rams, the 49ers aren’t going to win the division, but they are in a strong wild-card position where they currently are the No. 6 seed.

Here are four things to watch when the Titans play host to the 49ers:

Ryan Tannehill‘s play is trending in the wrong direction. In the past month, he’s thrown six interceptions along with two touchdown passes in a 1-3 game for the Titans. Although he’s been injured, he’s still available to throw interceptions and only two touchdown passes. At this point, however, the Titans will need his play to improve the quality of their personnel. This hasn’t been the case lately. The good news is that wide receiver A.J. Brown will likely re-enter the picture on Thursday after being designated for return from IR. But regardless of who is in the lineup, Tannehill’s effectiveness needs to reach a higher level before the Titans fade any further — Derrick Henry isn’t walking through that door anytime soon.
Nick Bosa has been on fire. Can the Titans contain the 49ers’ star pass rusher? The last thing Tannehill needs is Bosa in his face all night, but the trends of both his play and Tennessee’s pass protection suggest that’s exactly what’s coming. Bosa has notched at least a sack in six consecutive games, one short of a club record held by Aldon Smith (2012). His 15 sacks tie him for third in the NFL, while his 18 tackles for loss lead the league. He’s recorded 57 pressures, which ranks fourth in the NFL and first in the NFC. Coming off an ACL surgery that ended his 2020 season after just two games, he’s been even more disruptive than he was as the AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2019.
Zach Cunningham is settling in nicely in Tennessee. A team could not ask for more from the waiver wire than to pick a starter off another team’s scrap pile and have him make his debut as its top tackler. Cunningham was able to do that last week for the Titans with six stops against the Steelers, four solo. NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger liked what he saw of the linebacker, who has the ability to energize a Titans defense that already ranks No. The NFL ranks him 2 against the run. With another week to get comfortable with his new role and teammates, he could be problematic for the 49ers offense.
Nothing-special teams in San Francisco. Over their last four games, the 49ers’ special teams units have: 1) lost fumbles on two kickoff returns; 2) allowed a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown; 3) allowed a 23-yard punt return; and 4) missed two field goals inside of 50 yards, plus an extra point. Brandon Aiyuk‘s punt returns haven’t been much to speak of, either. It’s enough to say that it’s been quite a headache for Richard Hightower, special teams coach. This is a huge mess, and not just one ST unit. If the Niners make it to the playoffs, there could be some serious postseason consequences.

dWeb.NewsRead More

Similar Posts