NFL Preseason 2014: 5 Bold Predictions For Tennessee Titans vs. Atlanta Falcons

NFL Preseason 2014: 5 Bold Predictions For Titans vs. Falcons

NFL Preseason 2014 Atlanta Falcons
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons and Titans will square off in what will be the real tune-up for each team before the season begins. Starters will play into the second half and each fanbase will get a true picture of what their team will be in 2014. Both teams are looking to rebound after losing seasons in 2013, and this game will be huge in determining who makes the roster and who earns playing time. With that in mind, here are five things we can expect.

5. Julio Jones Makes an Impact

Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons WR
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

5. Julio Jones Makes an Impact

Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons WR
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The coaching and training staff have been very careful with star wideout Julio Jones this training camp. They have limited his practice reps and he didn't even see the field in the first preseason game. Jones will most likely play the entire first half with the starters, and in doing so he will make an impact. All reports are that he is completely healthy, so with extended playing time we are bound to see some vintage Julio explosiveness.

4. Zach Mettenberger Will Take Over Backup Job

Zach Mettenberger, Tennessee Titans QB
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

4. Zach Mettenberger Will Take Over Backup Job

Zach Mettenberger, Tennessee Titans QB
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Titans have gotten a steal from the sixth round in the draft. Through two preseason games, Mettenberger has gone 24-for-32 for 356 yards and two touchdowns. He, as rookies are prone to do, has also thrown two interceptions, but that's to be expected as he adjusts to the pro game. The ceiling is high on Mettenberger -- a lot higher than Charlie Whitehurst. With Whitehurst still nursing a hand injury, Mettenberger will seize the backup job.

3. The Defense Continues to Show It’s a Work in Progress

Paul Soliai, Atlanta Falcons DT
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

3. The Defense Continues to Show It’s a Work in Progress

Paul Soliai, Atlanta Falcons DT
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons' defense hasn't looked great, especially last week against the hapless Texans offense. Giving up 31 points to that unit is not something that bodes well for the 2014 season. The Falcons will not be elite by any means on defense as they have not one elite player on the roster. However, they will be better than what they showed in Houston. The starters this week will provide a little hope to what the unit can be in 2014.

2. Justin Hunter Continues to Rise

Justin Hunter, Tennessee Titans WR
Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

2. Justin Hunter Continues to Rise

Justin Hunter, Tennessee Titans WR
Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, Justin Hunter showed why many have him pegged as a breakout candidate to begin the season. With over 100 yards receiving and two touchdowns, Hunter flashed the tremendous potential he has last season, averaging almost 20 yards per catch. This week, his quarterbacks will have time to throw, which means he will have some shots to get deep. Look for him to play well and show the new staff he deserves more touches.

1. Jake Matthews Shows He Should Have Been at LT All Along

Jake Matthews, Atlanta Falcons OT
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

1. Jake Matthews Shows He Should Have Been at LT All Along

Jake Matthews, Atlanta Falcons OT
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

By all accounts, Jake Matthews has been impressive all training camp. He's proven Dimitroff and the front office right in taking him No. 6 overall. With Sam Baker lost for the year, the future becomes the present. Matthews will show the coaching staff that this is where he should have started when camp opened. He's the best lineman the Falcons have, and now he gets a chance to prove it at the most important position on the line.


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