As we approach the Tennessee Titans’ week nine matchup against the St. Louis Rams, it is necessary to note just how important this game is to Tennessee’s overall outlook on the season. The Titans currently sit at 3-4 on the year, partly due to their missing starting quarterback Jake Locker for nearly a month. But, Locker is back and ready to make a playoff push.
Once starting hot at 3-1, the Titans are now victims of three straight losses — all losses coming by way of three of the strongest teams in the league, I might add. But, three losses nonetheless.
Going up against the Rams, the Titans must pull out a win and pull to 4-4 on the season if they want to become a relevant team among the AFC playoff picture yet again. Sitting behind the 5-2 Indianapolis Colts in their division, the Titans likely won’t be able to catch Andrew Luck and his red-hot Indy squad.
What they could do, however, is fight for a wildcard position. If they were to drop to 3-5, the likeliness of them making any noise in the playoff race is slim to none. The Titans still have to face the Colts twice as well as the Denver Broncos later in the year.
The Rams boast the 12th-best passing defense in the league, which will be tough for Locker to work against. In order to guarantee a win against St. Louis, the Titans are going to have to run the ball well — which, for Chris Johnson has been a struggle this year.
Johnson is averaging just 3.2 yards per carry while Locker has been the most consistently solid runner, surprisingly enough. Giving Shonn Greene more carries might help do the trick on the ground, as it looks like that’s exactly what the Titans might end up doing here quickly.
The biggest concern for the Titans is going up against two guys like Robert Quinn and Chris Long of that Rams front. If Locker can find some protection in front of him, the Titans have a shot to come away victorious. If not, their season may end up crashing and burning as they head to four straight L’s.