The Cincinnati Bengals will take on the Tennessee Titans in Week 12 in an all too familiar matchup.
Cincy last bested the Titans in the Divisional Round of the 2021 playoffs, yet these two teams both pose as AFC juggernauts and legitimate postseason contenders in the 2022 season. Who will come out on top?
Here are the Titans players who could make a crater-sized impact.
The King. Henry has some of his best games in the late months of the year, and it seems he's unstoppable based on his performances in the last few weeks.
Henry currently reigns as the league's rushing leader through 11 weeks. In the month of October, Henry recorded a 100-plus yard rushing performance in every game; in Week 11, he burst onto the scene for 87 rushing yards and one touchdown along with a crazy passing touchdown.
What can't Henry do? The dominant back has been known to steamroll even the best run defenses, and given the current injured state of the Bengals' squad, Cincy should be very scared.
The 2022 first-rounder has seen his rookie campaign shatter due to injury, yet Burks appears to be healthy again. Burks missed a handful of games in the middle of the season but returned to the lineup in Week 11 and led the team as the top wideout.
He caught seven passes for 111 yards against the Green Bay Packers, proving he could be an efficient downfield threat. With that kind of volume, he's bound to score his first touchdown soon, and it could come against Cincy this Sunday.
The Titans aren't exactly known for their passing attack, but Henry alone may not be able to win this game. If the Titans ramp up their game in the air, expect Burks to get a lion's share of targets.
The underrated defensive linemen injured his knee in Week 11, and depending on the severity of his injury, his status against the Bengals is unknown.
Losing Autry would deal a tough blow to the Titans' defense as Autry, along with Mario Edwards, has been an incredibly productive edge-rusher so far this season. Autry is currently tied for the fifth-most pressures in the league and would certainly give the Bengals' O-line a run for their money.
Titans' defense as a whole
Speaking of Tennessee's defense, their unit as a whole poses as a dangerous threat, though they've admittely flown under the radar in 2022.
The Ringer's Ben Solak wrote about how the Titans are as good as they are even without A.J. Brown or an impressive quarterback (sorry, Ryan Tannehill), and the answer is their stalwart defense.
"This year, [Vrabel's] winning with defense: a defense that hasn’t given up over 17 points in regulation since Week 3. A defense that has totaled 53 pressures in the last two weeks. A defense that nearly beat the Chiefs with Malik Wilis at QB. And while this defense doesn’t have the names that other top defenses do, it has the scheme and the execution. It’s for real."- Ben Solak
Everyone wondered how the Titans won the top AFC seed last year, and the same people are likely wondering how they remain atop the AFC South and firmly in prime playoff position.
This is a defense without blockbuster names like T.J. Watt or Aaron Donald or Micah Parsons, yet somehow, some way, head coach Mike Vrabel has figured out a way to win.
Tennessee very nearly beat the Chiefs in 2022, and that alone tells you that this team should not be overlooked in the AFC.
The Bengals better be ready for this one.