Seven Titans Players to watch in Sunday’s AFC showdown with the Jets

The 2-1 Tennessee Titans head to MetLife stadium to take on the 0-3 New York Jets. Both teams are missing plenty of key starters, the Jets are going to be without OT Mekhi Becton, EDGE Carl Lawson, WR Elijah Moore, WR Jeff Smith, and arguably their best player, S Marcus Maye.

The Titans on the other hand will be without Bud Dupree, Julio Jones, and A.J. Brown among others. Tennessee may be missing some of their most notable names, but there are still plenty of players to watch for tomorrow. Let’s take a look at which seven Titans players we should be keeping an eye on this Sunday.

QB Ryan Tannehill

Ever since Ryan Tannehill arrived in Tennessee,  everyone has said that he’s riding the coattail of Arthur Smith, A.J. Brown, and Derrick Henry.  On Sunday, Tannehill has the opportunity to do it without two of those three. Smith is now the head coach of the Falcons while Brown joins fellow receiver Julio Jones on the inactive list with a hamstring injury.

Tannehill has the rare chance to stick it to those who have been inferring that he can only succeed when there are nearly perfect conditions around him.

Sunday will be a great opportunity to show the world that he can still ball out without the luxury of having any legitimate stars out wide.

RB Derrick Henry 

It’s no secret that Derrick Henry is likely going to see a ton of touches on Sunday with Jones and Brown both out. Henry currently leads the NFL in rushing to no one’s surprise, but it’s his pass-catching ability that is truly getting people’s attention.

Through three weeks, Henry has 12 catches already, seven shy of his career-high for an entire season (19).

Look for the Titans to try and get the ball in Henry’s hands early and often in order to set the tone against the Jets.

WR Nick Westbrook-Ikhine

One of the most pleasant surprises thus far has been the emergence of Nick Westbrook-Ikhine. The Indiana product was previously known for his tremendous special teams ability, however, in 2021 he is showing that he is much more valuable than that.

Westbrook-Ikhine has been targeted seven times and he has caught six of those passes for 69 yards and one touchdown. His willingness to block in the run game and his improved skill set at receiver have earned him this increased opportunity.

Look for Westbrook-Ikhine to be one of the most featured receivers on a day where Tennessee will be missing their top two guys. 

TE Anthony Firkser

Anthony Firkser is returning from injury just in time to face the first NFL team to give him a shot. Firkser returns to New York where he spent the offseason program there in 2017.

The Harvard product has a history of doing well against his old team. In fact, Firkser’s first-ever touchdown came against the Jets back in 2018.

The Titans are short-handed on offense so it’s a great opportunity for Firkser to make an impact on the game while also sticking it to the first team that passed on him.

EDGE Harold Landry

The Titans’ pass rush is starting to heat up, led by Harold Landry who has taken a giant leap through the first three weeks. Last Sunday, the Boston College product produced 12 quarterback pressures (career-high) on 32 pass rushes (37.5 pressure rate). Landry also produced a half-sack in the game and has 1.5 on the season. He is also the first player in the NFL with 10+ QB pressures in a game this season, per Next Gen Stats.

Rookie quarterback Zach Wilson has already been sacked a league-leading 15 times, including another five last Sunday against the Broncos. With Dupree out with a nagging knee injury, Look for Landry to try and turn some of these pressures into sacks on Sunday afternoon.

ILB David Long Jr.

Ever since David Long Jr. Was drafted in the sixth round, the former West Virginia product has steadily gotten better with each passing year. Now in year three, Long has earned himself a starting role on this defense and he’s making the most of his opportunity.

Long has 14 total tackles through three weeks and two tackles for loss as his playing time is steadily increasing with every passing week. 

CB Kristian Fulton

Kristian Fulton has been one of the Titans’ best players through three weeks. Tennessee’s second-round pick from a year ago has developed into a legitimate No. 1 cornerback and he’s arguably the best shutdown second year corner in a draft class that was considered extremely stacked.

Fulton is one of 24 cornerbacks who have been targeted at least 18 times. However, according to PFF, Fulton is the cornerback with the lowest percentage of receptions allowed when targeted (27.8%).

The Titans’ young defensive back has only allowed five catches on 18 targets for 88 yards, and that’s including the coverage bust in Seattle.

Fulton will likely have the responsibility of ensuring that Corey Davis doesn’t have the type of revenge game he is likely envisioning for himself.

Author: Shaun CalderonShaun Calderon resides in El Paso, TX after graduating from the University of Texas at El Paso in December 2019 with a Bachelors of Science degree in Kinesiology and a minor in education. Shaun is currently a full-time teacher and is also pursuing a career in the sports journalism world. He has been writing since August of 2019, where he started with the Fansided network and contributed there for one year. In August of 2020, Shaun was offered the chance to move over to USA Today Sports’ NFL Wire network to contribute for ‘Titans Wire’ where he was consistently featured on national platforms such as Bleacher Report, Yahoo Sports, MSN, USA Today, and more. On top of teaching and writing, Shaun does live radio reporting for local high school sports through the ESPN-El Paso network. He hopes you all enjoy his content as much as he enjoys creating it.

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