Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Tennessee Titans

Sunday, November 27, 2011  12:00CST

Nashville, Tennessee: LP Field


Three things to watch in this AFC South vs. NFC South matchup:

1. Who Will Shine, Blount or Johnson?
Chris Johnson and LaGarrette Blount are two totally different style running backs.  C.J. likes to dance around before hitting the line, trying to find the seam, whereas Blount does the exact opposite, powering through the defense and pushing for yards-after-contact.  The Tennessee Titans (5-5) released LaGarrette Blount last season after a quick stint at running back.  Now, he proves to be one of the strongest backs in the league, averaging 4.6 yards per carry.  Chris Johnson has struggled this season with finding the hole and using his speed to get down the field. 

Tennessee ranks 23rd in rush defense and has given up big games to power running backs all season (Arian Foster 115 yards, M.J.D. 107 yards, Michael Turner 100 yards).  Look for Blount to do what he’s done all season and not go down easily.
2. Titans Passing Attack vs. Bucs’ Awful Pass Defense

No team gives up more yards-per-game than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-6).  Ranking dead last in the league, the Bucs give up an average of 398.9 yards a game to opponents’ offenses.  Matt Hasselbeck’s elbow injury suffered in last week’s loss to Atlanta reportedly will not prevent him from starting this week.  As he’s shown throughout this season, he can accurately throw the ball (whether Titans’ receivers catch the ball is a different story). 

Look for Hasselbeck to take advantage of the Bucs’ awful pass defense, currently ranked 29th in the league, giving up an average of 265.4 passing yards a game.  If his elbow begins to bother him, Titans have a poised back-up rookie by the name of Jake Locker who came in last week and threw for 2 touchdowns as the Titans tried to rally against Atlanta.  Locker looked good in Atlanta, getting the ball out quick and making wise decisions and head coach Mike Munchak liked the way he took control of the game.
3. Chris Johnson vs. Bucs’ Terrible Rush Defense
Will C.J. finally get his trademark game of the season?  The Buccaneers rank 27th in the NFL against the run, but the high-potential playmaker for Tennessee hasn’t shown he can run against any defense.  Last week, C.J. had his worst performance of the season with only 13 rushing yards.  Look for his eagerness to bounce back this week against a dreadful rush defense.  Johnson’s best outing was against Carolina when he saw 27 carries and went for 130 yards as the Titans were playing with a lead the whole game.  The quick-footed, speedy Johnson hasn’t been himself this year, but it’s never too late to finish the season strong.  If he can become a force early in the game, look for the Titans’ offense to thrive in both the pass and run game.