NFL

Burrow's red-hot Bengals set for playoff rematch with stout Titans defense

By Sports Desk November 26, 2022

The Tennessee Titans will hope to gain a measure of revenge for their playoff defeat to the Cincinnati Bengals last season when they face off in a rematch of last season's AFC Divisional Round clash.

Tennessee earned the number one seed in the AFC last season but the Titans saw their season ended by the Bengals despite Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow suffering nine sacks behind a porous offensive line.

Burrow went on to lead the Bengals to the brink of a Super Bowl victory before the Los Angeles Rams' late turnaround saw them secure the Lombardi Trophy.

As the Bengals go on the road to renew acquaintances with the Titans, Burrow is on a hot streak once again, with Cincinnati's offense performing at its highest level of the 2022 campaign.

Indeed, the Bengals have scored 37 and 42 points in their last two games. The 79 points are their most over a two-game span since Weeks 12 and 13 in 2005.

The Bengals have won five of their last six games to improve to 6-4, with Cincinnati's offense averaging 397.2 net yards per game, the fourth-most in the NFL, in that span.

That run, which has kept the Bengals firmly in the mix for a second successive AFC North crown, has seen Burrow throw for 13 touchdowns, tied with the man he outduelled in last season's AFC Championship Game, Patrick Mahomes, for the most in the NFL since Week 6.

Burrow will also be buoyed by the performance of his much-maligned offensive line, which has allowed a pressure rate of 33 per cent this season, the fifth-best in the NFL.

Some of the Bengals' success in that regard is tied to the speed with which Burrow delivers the ball. His average time from snap to release is 2.49 seconds, the seventh-quickest among quarterbacks with at least 100 pass attempts this season.

He will likely need to maintain that speed against a Titans defense that is ranked eighth in pass rush win rate, and Burrow may not have much opportunity to lean on the run game to take some of the burden off his shoulders.

The Titans have held opponents to 2.80 yards per rush since Week 4, the best average in the NFL. Tennessee's 387 yards rushing allowed over those seven games is the lowest total by any NFL team over a seven-game span in a season since the 2014 Detroit Lions.

With Bengals running back Joe Mixon out with a concussion, the Titans will be expected to shut down the Cincinnati run game with little difficulty.

Should they do so, it will turn this matchup into a repeat of the battle between Burrow and a continually underrated Titans defensive front. As the NFL world witnessed in January, that contest can be extremely engrossing.

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