Tennessee Titans-Denver Broncos: Who Wins the Position Battles?
So both teams are on a one-win streak and play each other next week. Obviously, one team has to lose. Who will it be? Looking at the matchup position by position might help us figure it out.
Quarterback: Advantage Titans
It seems every fan in Denver wants Orton out of a job.
Kyle Orton was the worst starting quarterback in the country on third downs last season and he hasn't shown many signs of being any better this season. He's thrown for 499 yards and is completing under 54 percent of his passes.
To make things worse for Orton, the Denver fans start chanting for Tebow as soon as the Broncos fall behind.
Matt Hasselbeck, on the other hand, has problems with inconsistency, but can still play at an elite level. Hasselbeck has thrown for 621 yards and has completed over 67 percent of his passes.
If Hasselbeck has an off game, Orton is better, but Hasselbeck is better the majority of the time.
Running Backs: Advantage Titans
So far, Chris Johnson hasn't really done anything worth talking about, but he's still Chris Johnson. Even if he wasn't, Javon Ringer has looked good so far this season and Jamie Harper was a beast in his preseason appearances.
The Broncos are no slouches at the running back position. Willis McGahee is a solid veteran and Knowshon Moreno hasn't lived up to his potential, but he's still a capable back. Between the two, the Broncos have a decent rush attack.
Even so, the Titans win this position battle by a mile.
Wide Receivers: Advantage Broncos
This was a close one. Both teams have great No. 1 receivers in Kenny Britt and Brandon Lloyd and both have a pretty good secondary guy in Nate Washington and Eric Decker. However, I have to give the Broncos the edge.
Brandon Lloyd is coming off of a Pro-Bowl and All-Pro season and he's an outstanding receiver. Decker seems to be breaking out, and beyond him, Denver also has promising sophomore Demaryius Thomas.
Tennessee may be drafting another receiver early in the draft this year and they'll be doing that for a reason. Denver wins this battle.
Offensive Line: Advantage Titans
The Ravens defense made the Steelers look foolish in Week 1, but the Titans O-line had no difficulty containing them.
Despite the plethora of holding penalties coming from Leroy Harris, the Titans still have a top 10 offensive line. Michael Roos and Dave Stewart are some of the best tackles in the game and Jake Scott has been a great guard his whole, long career.
The Broncos have a top level tackle in Ryan Clady and highly drafted Orlando Franklin. However, they're a pretty young offensive line overall, so they aren't as proven as the players on the Titans squad.
Another close one, but I have to give the Titans the edge.
Tight Ends: Advantage No One
Jared Cook is supposed to have a breakout season this year, but that hasn't been the case so far. Behind him is Craig Stevens, who has been OK this year in the limited time he's played.
The Titans are also playing Daniel Graham, who the Broncos just cut.
The Broncos, on the other hand, have Daniel Fells starting and he doesn't inspire much confidence either. Two rookies sit behind him.
Neither of this team's tight ends are scaring anyone.
Defensive Line: Advantage Titans
The Titans defensive line really came together once Derrick Morgan and Jason Jones returned from injury. Karl Klug continues to look impressive as well.
The Broncos have one stud defensive lineman in Elvis Dumervil, but beyond him, they are pretty weak at the position. Everyone expected them to select a defensive tackle in the draft, but they never did, and now they're defensive line is still weak.
The Titans don't really have anyone who qualifies as a stud defensive lineman, but Jason Jones is very good, Derrick Morgan is showing a lot of potential and they added veteran Shaun Smith and three rookies (Jurrell Casey, Karl Klug and Zach Clayton) to the interior line.
The Titans have this one won by a fair margin.
Linebackers: Advantage Broncos
Akeem Ayers is great, but he's no Von Miller. Miller looked like DROY material in the preseason and already has his first sack of the season. He's a force to be reckoned with on the outside.
Akeem Ayers is also a stud outside linebacker in the making, but he's just not as good as Miller.
Joe Mays, the starting middle linebacker for Denver, isn't great, but I haven't been impressed by Barrett Ruud either so far this season.
The Broncos other outside spot is occupied by Wesley Woodyard and the Titans second outside linebacker is Will Witherspoon. Both are solid, experienced linebackers, but neither of them is a special talent like Ayers and Miller.
Denver wins this one.
Defensive Backs: Too Close to Call
This is a tough one. The Titans have a great corner in Cortland Finnegan, but the Broncos have perennial Pro Bowler Champ Bailey. He's been in decline, but he's still a great player.
The Titans have two good players at the other corner spot in Alterraun Verner and Jason McCourty. The Broncos have Andre Goodman, who is pretty good as well.
At safety, the Titans have Michael Griffin, who's a top 10 safety, and Jordan Babineaux, who's new this year. The strong safety spot has been one of the weakest spots on the defense.
The Broncos have a new starter at free safety in Rahim Moore, who looks good but is unproven. He is, after all, a rookie. At the strong safety spot the Broncos have former standout Brian Dawkins.
So, the Titans are better at free safety, but the Broncos are better at strong safety.
The Broncos have a better No. 1 cornerback, but the Titans have better depth at the position.
This one is too close to call. Either team could use upgrades at one position in their secondary, but neither is hurting.
The Titans have a better offensive and defensive line, better running backs and a better quarterback.
The Broncos have better linebackers and better skill position players.
Despite the fact that I gave the Titans four position advantages to the Broncos two, it still looks like a close matchup. Of course, I still am picking the Titans to come away with the win.
The Broncos beat a heavily favored Titans team in Nashville last year and even though I'm picking the Titans to win, it won't by any means be easy.