The Tennessee Titans could be in for a tougher 2022 season then anticipated.
The Titans started their season with a 21-20 home loss to the New York Gaints where they were beaten on both sides of the ball. The Giants showed they were a more disciplined and physical team than the Titans.
In a matchup where high-caliber running backs were the key to victory, Giants running back Saquon Barkley had a standout performance. On the other side of the ball, the Giants' defense completely handled the one-dimensional offense of the Titans.
The Titans' season was already off track before their week one game, when star edge rusher Harold Landry to an ACL tear.
Against the Giants, it was all up to defensive tackle Jeffrey Simmons and linebacker Rashard Weaver to be the main pass rushers for Tennessee. Overall, the Titans were no match for a revitalized Giants' offense, as they couldn't find any success in stopping high-powered playmakers like Barkley. Barkley rushed for 164 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries and caught six receptions for 30 yards.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Titans had a disastrous game, as they could neither run the ball nor find reliable, consistent receivers. Tennessee only accounted for 359 total yards with only 93 yards coming from the rushing game. In the passing game, no receivers could provide a game defining moment for Tennessee. Only rookie wide receiver Kyle Phillips was able to get open consistently; he caught six receptions (on nine targets) for 66 yards, leading the team in both categories. He did fumble on a punt return.
Philips was drafted by Tennessee in the fifth round (163rd overall pick) in the 2022 NFL Draft out of UCLA. He was selected to help relieve the offense after they traded star receiver A.J. Brown to the Philadelphia Eagles during the Draft.
Tennessee expected former Los Angeles Rams receiver Robert Woods and former Arkansas Razorback Treylon Burks, who was drafted in the first round (18th overall pick), to completely replenish the void Brown left, but the two receivers combined for only four receptions (on seven targets) for 68 yards and no touchdowns. For Phillips to be the most relied on receiver for Tennessee shows there are serious cracks in Tennessee's offense.
It is not going to get any easier for the Titans in week two, when they have to take on the Buffalo Bills (1-0) on the road. The Bills dominated the defending Super Bowl champs in the Los Angeles Rams 31-10 on Sept. 8 to start the 2022 NFL season. Buffalo's defense accounted for 16 quarterback hits, seven sacks, seven tackles for loss and three interceptions against the Rams' offense. Finally, the talented secondary of Buffalo held the offense of the Rams to only 243 total yards, with 191 of them coming from the passing game.
If the Titans cannot establish a rhythm on the offensive side of the ball and secure themselves against the defense of the Bills, it will be tough game for them. The Titans could find themselves in a 0-2 start to the 2022 NFL season and it could be a long and disappointing season for a team that was the #1 seed in the AFC last season.