The Carolina Panthers should watch out for these Titans.
Another week, another chance to prove yourself. The Panthers had a chance to prove they were better than the Forty-Niners last Sunday, but they were humbly put on their butts instead. A game like that makes you wonder how an entire team can let that happen. Even more importantly, it makes you look at the playoff picture and wonder what scenario gives your team the best chance to make it. It all comes down to winning, and that’s what the Panthers are focused on doing this week.
After an otherwise successful month at quarterback, and with Cam Newton still dealing with his foot injury, the Panthers have decided to let Kyle Allen start again this week. His next task will be to get a win against a Titans team coming fresh off of a win against the Buccaneers. So far the Panthers are undefeated versus the AFC South, but the Titans are undefeated against NFC teams this year and they’re on a hot streak. The Panthers will have to game plan more effectively this week as some of the Titans can take over a game pretty quickly. There are three particular Titans that the Panthers should look out for:
#10, Adam Humphries
If that name sounds familiar it’s because we used to hear it twice a year. The Panthers’ defensive backs know this man very well and this time he’ll be playing a similar role. Back in Tampa the Buccaneers were headlined by DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans. Humphries played somewhat of a supporting role behind those two but still flashed brilliantly when necessary. Now, in Tennessee, Humphries holds the third spot for receiving yards on the roster and it’s not a coincidence.
The Titans are high on AJ Brown being their number one wide receiver. Brown models his game after Julio Jones (who we all know is a game-changer). However, as we saw last week, the Panthers need to be wary of former NFC South players exploiting weaknesses they remember from their days in the division. Expect Adam Humphries to have a big game if the Panthers underestimate his athleticism.
#22, Derrick Henry
Last week Tevin Coleman absolutely exposed the Panthers’ run defense with three rushing touchdowns. This week, we will face an arguably worse situation with Henry lined up behind Tannehill. We’ve seen what Henry does to a team when players ignore the basics of tackling. The Panthers will not count him out as they know the importance of a change-of-pace running back.
With over seventy percent of the Titans’ total rushing yards credited towards him this year, Derrick Henry is the Titans’ rushing attack. He’s mostly a downhill runner, but he can be shifty when necessary. The Panthers always seem to have issues guarding this kind of runner no matter how much weight they put up front. He’s expecting the best from the Panthers’ best, so a good matchup is sure to come.
#91, Cameron Wake
We often hear the phrase “defenses win championships” when talking about football. Last Sunday the Panthers had a sobering reminder that this is absolutely true. Jurrell Casey was a standout for the Titans defensive line last week, but this week an outside linebacker on the same side might be poised for a big game.
Last year the left side of the offensive line was exposed week after week, especially after the meltdown against the Steelers. This game will be a validation game of sorts, either proving or disproving that this is indeed a copycat league and that the Panthers’ critical weakness has been exposed. Cameron Wake was a wavemaker in Miami and he’s making his presence felt in Tennessee. The Panthers kept veteran Terrell Suggs relatively quiet in week three, but this time a veteran who has fresh exposure tape to study from will be looking to change the narrative.