The Cincinnati Bengals righted the ship in Week 3 by getting their first win of the 2023 season. Now they'll look to get to .500 against the Tennessee Titans in Week 4.
The Titans are also 1-2 but have gotten there in a totally different way. They narrowly lost to the Saints, beat the Chargers in a thriller, and then got blasted by the Browns. Their pass protection has been downright atrocious this season, as Ryan Tannehill has been sacked 13 times in three times. The Bengals pass rush, which is coming off a six-sack performance against the Rams, is licking their chops at this match-up.
To get more insight on the Titans, their pass-protection issues, and so much more, I reached out to Will Lomas of Titan Sized, FanSided's site for all things dedicated to the Tennessee Titans. Check out my conversation with Will below.
Bengals vs. Titans Week 4 Q&A
Q: What were the expectations for the Titans entering the season and do you think they've lived up to those in the first three weeks? Why or why not?
Will: The expectations for the Tennessee Titans were low by the recent standards, but not this low. On paper, everyone knew that the goal was to get to the bye week as a 3-3 team. If the Titans could do that, everyone felt like they could win the AFC South considering that the Jacksonville Jaguars were massively over-hyped and that the schedule was so front-heavy.
While they still could get to 3-3, the results on the field have been worse than their record suggests. I would say that they have definitely fallen short of expectations.
Q: What has been the Titans' biggest strength so far? What has been their biggest weakness?
Will: The strength of the Titans is their front four and their run defense. Jeffery Simmons, Denico Autry, and Arden Key have been factors in every game and they have given the defense a very sustainable pass rush that seems to show up every week. Their biggest weakness is pass protection where they have struggled from day one.
Q: The Titans are 1-2 right now because _______.
Will: Speaking of pass protection, left tackle Andre Dillard is the biggest reason why the Tennessee Titans weren't even competitive against the Cleveland Browns last week. Myles Garrett was outstanding and he tore through Dillard like a buzzsaw racking up 3.5 sacks before the game mercifully ended.
The Tennessee Titans could barely execute handoffs last week because Garrett was in the backfield so quickly and the fact that Dillard is starting again this week should make fans question just what level of competence does this coaching staff have.
Q: Who will be the Titans' X-Factor in this game?
Will: Treylon Burks. The biggest reason why the Titans won their game against the L.A. Chargers this year was that Ryan Tannehill hit a 70-yard bomb to Burks to give the offense some life. While he didn't show up on the stat sheet last week, Burks also had a DPI against him that helped move the chains on their most effective offensive drive of the day. If the Tennessee Titans pass protection can hold up, Ryan Tannehill has been very accurate on deep shots the last two weeks, and Burks is the guy who can make a big play downfield to give them a chance to win this game.
Q: Aside from Joe Burrow, which Bengals player scares Titans fans the most this week?
Will: Trey Hendrickson. The Titans will take their lumps with Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins because they play a conservative style of defense that begs opponents to throw for 350 yards against them, so you can't be scared of what you know is coming. After Hendrickson's big game against the L.A. Rams, the question is just whether he only gets one sack against Dillard or if it turns into two or three sacks.
Q: The Titans will win if _____.
Will: They can trick the Cincinnati Bengals into running the ball. If they can hit Joe Burrow enough early to make the Bengals coaching staff believe that it might be a good idea to try to get the running game going, then that would play right into the hands of the Tennessee Titans.
Q: Give us your score prediction.
Will: Bengals win 27-16.
Thanks again to Will for taking the time to answer my questions! Be sure to check out his work over on Titan Sized leading up to this week's game.