A quick look at this Sunday afternoon’s match-up between the Atlanta Falcons and the Tennessee Titans seems to suggest that this game may end up as a lopsided blowout in favor of the visitors from the “gateway city to the South.”
The squad from Atlanta has a true franchise quarterback, Matt Ryan, a current Won-Loss record of 5-1 and a realistic chance at a Super Bowl appearance when that game is played early next year.
For their part, the Tennessee Titans have a recent history of failure. That is, this squad has been losing more games than it wins for the past few seasons. Losing seasons translate into high draft picks and the Titans were able to select a highly-rated college quarterback with the second overall selection in the most recent National Football League (NFL) Draft.
They chose Marcus Mariota of the Oregon Ducks and, while he has performed extremely well for a raw rookie, his team has managed only one win in the five games it has played.
On paper, this game, which will be played in Tennessee, is clearly a mismatch. The visiting Falcons are a team with an All-Pro quarterback, talented wide receivers and a stout defense. The home team, the Titans, relies on a first year quarterback with a promising future, capable, but not game-changing, wide receivers and a defense that can be scored on.
And, while the Falcons reach the end zone far more frequently when playing at home, they are still potent and explosive when “on the road.” Marcus Mariota has been able to put points on the board for the Titans, but their offense is not nearly as effective as the one that powers the Falcons.
Add to this obvious shortcoming the fact that Mariota suffered a knee injury last Sunday and will play this week while being at less than one hundred percent physically and it seems to be an almost forgone conclusion that the favored Falcons will reward their backers with an easy win.
But the truth is that there are very few “easy wins” in the National Football League. The game is played with emotion and desire. Frequently, less talented squads call on that emotion and desire to rise up and defeat teams that appear to be superior.
Pride and the willingness to “put it all on the line” may very well enable the less talented Titans to perform at a higher-than-expected level this Sunday before the team’s home fans. This squad can score, but often has trouble “closing games.”
If the team from Tennessee can eliminate mistakes and improve its defense it may find that it outscores the potent Falcons. Atlanta lost for the first time this season in its game last Sunday. There is every reason to believe that it can be beaten again.
Of course, it will take a stellar effort from the home team to pull off the upset. The belief here is that the young-and-developing Tennessee Titans will reward their followers with a surprise upset victory.
Courtesy of Bleacher Report