The San Francisco 49ers will be taking on the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday afternoon, and to preview this matchup, we reached out to Justin Hoffman, the editor of the Tennessee Titans fan blog Titan Sized and a project manager at Pro Football Spot.
Here are five questions concerning the Titans:
1) How is former 49er Delanie Walker fitting in with the Titans?
Walker has fit nicely. While he may not have the big-play potential that Jared Cook had, Walker is much more dependable as a blocker and doing the small things. Through six games, Walker has 20 receptions for 185 yards. He’s on pace to shatter his previous career highs
2) How big of a dropoff will Ryan Fitzpatrick be from Jake Locker, assuming Fitzpatrick starts
Biggest difference comes with giveaways. Through four games, Locker had yet to throw an interception. Most of Fitzpatrick’s interceptions come in critical moments of the fourth quarter. According to this, Fitzpatrick had one of the NFL’s worst fourth quarter comeback trends in 40 seasons. Titans fans are seeing that in action.
3) Titans coach Mike Munchak was quote as saying that he hopes Colin Kaepernick doesn’t run the football on Sunday. What is the key for the Titans to stop Kaepernick?
First off, Alterraun Verner and Jason McCourty must win 1-on-1 matchups with their wide receivers. That allows the rest of the defense to concentrate on Vernon Davis and the 49ers ground game. It’s critical that the Titans defensive ends can control the edge. Last week, the Titans didn’t always use a spy on Russell Wilson. That burned them on a couple occasions. If no spies are used, then it’s even more important that Derrick Morgan and Ropati Pitoitua contain the outside.
4) What are the Titans’ biggest strengths and weaknesses?
Strength: Either the defensive backfield or defensive line. All four defensive line starters are capable of pressuring the quarterback. McCourty and Verner have both played at an All Pro level. Bernard Pollard’s energy has rubbed off on the rest of the defense. Michael Griffin has put some good licks on receivers. Along with Zach Brown, it’s a much different defense than one year ago.
Weakness: Interior offensive line. For the most part, their offensive tackles (Michael Roos, David Stewart) have held up. It’s the interior that hasn’t produced effective blocks in the run game or pass game. Keep an eye on Brian Schwenke, a fourth-round pick who will make his first NFL start at center. He joins Chance Warmack (another rookie) and Andy Levitre, the almost $50-million offensive guard who hasn’t immediately paid off.
5) Final score prediction?
Originally, I had predicted a close game with a 24-17 49ers win. As the game gets closer, I’ve become more confident. A Titans upset would largely depend on whether Locker starts. If its close heading into Quarter 4, then I’m not confident in Fitzpatrick’s ability to make those final plays to seal the deal. Locker…perhaps.
Be sure to visit Titan Sized for updates and analysis on the Titans.