Tennessee Titans vs. New York Giants: Scouting report, score prediction for Week 1 NFL game
The Tennessee Titans look to start their 2022 season on the right note, hosting the New York Giants on Sunday (3:25 p.m., Fox).
Tennessean sports writer Ben Arthur breaks down the game and offers his prediction:
Titans’ offense vs. Giants’ defense
This matchup bodes strongly in favor of star running back Derrick Henry, beginning his bounce-back campaign. The Giants are thin at middle linebacker — veteran Blake Martinez was surprisingly cut last week and one of their top backups, sixth-round rookie Darrian Beavers, tore his ACL in the summer — so they could have a difficult time containing Henry. New York ranked 25th defending the run last season, allowing 129 rushing yards per game.
With the statuses of Giants top pick Kayvon Thibodeaux (knee) and 2021 second-rounder Azeez Ojulari (calf) uncertain, rookie Nicholas Petit-Frere and the right tackle spot — the Titans’ biggest concern upfront — may not be seriously threatened. But the Titans must stay alert in pass protection. Giants defensive coordinator Don Martindale, who served the same position with the Ravens the previous four seasons, is known to deploy blitzes at a high percentage.
TANNEHILL MOTIVATED:Tennessee Titans' Ryan Tannehill moving forward, but 'burning fire inside me' from Bengals loss
2022 PREDICTIONS:Our 2022 Super Bowl predictions are in — but why no love for the Tennessee Titans?
GAME-BY-GAME PICKS:Predicting every game on Tennessee Titans' 2022 schedule – and whether a No. 1 seed is in play
With New York’s concerns at cornerback, this could be the perfect game for Ryan Tannehill and his new weapons to build confidence.
Who has the edge? Titans
Titans’ defense vs. Giants’ offense
The Titans’ defensive front is poised to dominate the line of scrimmage and make quarterback Daniel Jones’ day miserable — even without top pass rusher Harold Landry. The Giants are set at offensive tackle between No. 7 overall pick Evan Neal (right tackle) and 2020 first-round pick Andrew Thomas (left tackle), but their interior offensive line is one of their biggest weaknesses. That’s good news for star defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons and Denico Autry, who combined for 17.5 sacks and 22 tackles for loss last season.
Running back Saquon Barkley will be a handful, though. The 2018 Offensive Rookie of the Year has played just 15 games the last two seasons due to injury.
“Everybody has to be at the point of attack; meaning he can take it inside, bounce it, jump cut,” coach Mike Vrabel said of Barkley. “If there’s a crease there, he’s going to take it. You just have to build a wall. We played against him a couple years ago, but our good plays were ones where we had the edge set and there wasn’t a whole lot of space inside. Trying to avoid those opportunities where there’s just one guy making a tackle because those (situations) are difficult.”
Tennessee is unproven at cornerback opposite Kristian Fulton between second-year pro Caleb Farley and second-round rookie Roger McCreary, but New York doesn’t appear to have the personnel to be a serious threat on the outside. The Giants’ top two wideouts, veteran Kenny Golladay and 2021 first-round pick Kadarius Toney, combined for fewer than 1,000 receiving yards last season. Golladay, who had an unspecified offseason procedure, curiously played significant snaps in the preseason and Toney had an offseason knee surgery and a hamstring injury.
Who has the edge? Titans
Not only do the Titans have an obvious edge in talent, but the Giants also have injury issues, exacerbating their concerns in this matchup. This should be an uneventful victory for Tennessee if it plays to its potential.
Titans 30, Giants 14
Ben Arthur covers the Tennessee Titans for The USA TODAY Network. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @benyarthur.