Jan 18, 2022 - Sports

Defensive line the key for Titans playoff push

Titans defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons celebrates as he runs out of the tunnel.
Titans defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons. Photo: Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Titans embark on their Super Bowl quest as slight favorites over the ascending Cincinnati Bengals in an upcoming divisional round battle this Saturday.

Driving the news: The game is loaded at the skill positions. The Bengals have young stars such as Joe Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase, while the Titans are led by the return of Derrick Henry and wide receiver A.J. Brown.

  • But if there's one area where the Titans may have a distinct advantage, it's in the trenches.

Why it matters: The Bengals allowed the third-most sacks in the league and finished 30th in pass block win rate this season, according to ESPN analysis. That seems to present an opportunity for the Titans' ferocious front seven, led by second team All-Pro defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons.

  • Simmons finished the season with 8.5 sacks and 12 tackles for loss.
  • On the other side of the ball, the Bengals suffered a key loss last week when defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi was lost for the remainder of the postseason with a foot injury.

By the numbers: The Titans are 3.5-point favorites on DraftKings.

What we're watching: There's extra incentive to root for the Titans during the playoffs.

  • Edley's Bar-B-Que owner Will Newman promised one free pork sandwich to every Nashvillian if the Titans win the Super Bowl.
  • "I'm betting big," Newman said. "I'm going all-in on the Titans. So much so that if the Titans win, I'm feeding all of Nashville a pork sandwich."
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