The Tennessee Titans have a chance to actually build some momentum, beginning with Sunday’s game against the Browns.
Coming off a convincing road victory in Miami last week, the Titans can erase a few of the bad things from their recent history with a win against the winless Browns.
First off, they have not won two games in a row in a season since the end of the 2013 season.
Then, there is the matter of the home-field disadvantage Nissan Stadium as become as the Titans have gone 2-16 there over the past two-plus season with both those wins coming against the Jaguars.
And finally, there are embarrassing losses to Cleveland the past two years. In 2014, the Titans blew a 25-point lead, allowing the Browns to complete the largest ever road comeback in NFL history.
Plus, last year, there was the sheer embarrassment of losing to a Johnny Manziel-led Browns team, one of only two wins for Johnny Football last year before his career imploded.
So what do the Titans have to do this week. Glad you asked:
First down: WIN “THIS” GAME _ That sounds corny and over-simplistic, but that is the message on the hallway video board outside the Titans locker room. It means don’t overlook an 0-5 Browns squad, and it means don’t look ahead thinking of what could be with home games against the Colts and Jaguars upcoming. The Titans must take care of business, because a loss at home to the Browns not only destroys the momentum built from last week’s win, but it would reinforce the problems of past few years.
Second down: Keep running the football _ DeMarco Murray has been rolling up the yards the past three games, going for 114, 95 and 121 in that span. The Titans should rely heavily on Murray and the suddenly stout offensive line to set the tone on offense for them Sunday.
Third down: Keep Terrelle Pryor in check _ Pryor, a former quarterback for the Raiders, is developing into a dynamic threat as a receiver for the Browns. He also could get some snaps at quarterback or in the Wildcat formation. Pryor is one of the few players on the Browns offense at the skill positions that the Titans will have to constantly monitor.
Fourth down: Bring the house _ The Titans defense had six sacks last week, running through a patchwork offensive line used by the Dolphins. The Browns have had their issues in pass protection as well, having already gone through four quarterbacks and Pryor in five games. Cody Kessler, coming off a rib injury last week, gets the nod, and you can bet Dick LeBeau will have something up his sleeve for the rookie QB. Brian Orakpo, with six sacks on the year, may be a big key for Tennessee.