The fact that both teams represent southern cities is the only thing similar about them. The Titans, a squad that chose quarterback Marcus Mariota with the second overall selection in the most recent National Football League (NFL) Draft have managed to win just one of the seven game so far this season.
Tennessee has played well in spurts this year, especially when Mariota, now hurt, was on the field. But this young squad has not yet learned how to “close out” games. The Saints, a squad that has future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees calling signals, won a Super Bowl just a few years ago.
New Orleans was expected to be a playoff contender this season, but to the surprise of most pundits, this squad lost three of its first four games. The team from “the Big Easy” has rebounded nicely over the past couple of weeks and now sports a Won-Loss record of 4-4 and is in third place in its division, four games behind the currently undefeated Carolina Panthers.
First place in the South Division may already be beyond the reach of this weekend’s home team, but the Saints racked up fifty-two points against the New York Giants last weekend and now appear to be a dangerous team with a real chance to win one of the two Wild Cards available to teams in the NFC.
It won’t be easy because there are several teams that, like the Saints, find themselves in position to gain entry into postseason play.
The team from the Deep South can take a step in the right direction this Sunday with a victory over the struggling Titans. At this point, it appears that rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota will be unavailable when the two teams step on the field for the opening kickoff just four days from now which is good for Brees and the Saints.
Mariota’s absence favors the home team Saints, but victories are not won “on paper.” Every National Football League team has quality back-up players that are expected to “step up” when a star goes down with an injury. Zach Mettenberger is set to start for the Titans in place of Mariota.
While it is certainly true for all teams in the league that the most difficult position to replace with a quality substitute is quarterback, the Titans will “take the field” behind a signal caller that has the ability to complete passes and run an offense.
Its players are likely to “band together” in an effort to overcome the loss of its franchise performer and, as a result, it is possible, perhaps even likely, that the Titans can play with passion, desire and ironclad determination.
If the host team believes it can get by with minimum effort, fans of the New Orleans Saints may start heading for home long before the game ends.
Courtesy of Zimbio.com