Thu, 22 Oct 2020

Early Look: Vikings Host Titans in Week 3

Minnesota Vikings
24 Sep 2020, 04:37 GMT+10

Eric Smith

EAGAN, Minn. - The Vikings hope the third time on the field in 2020 is the charm.

Minnesota is 0-2 for the first time in seven seasons under Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer and will host the Titans in Week 3.

The Vikings fell to Indianapolis in Week 2 and were plagued by another slow start in the first half.

The Titans are 2-0 for the first time since 2008. Tennessee squeaked out a 33-30 win over Jacksonville on a field goal with just under two minutes remaining in regulation. The Titans also won in Week 1 on a late field goal.

Here's an Early Look at the Vikings Week 3 matchup against the Titans, presented by Minnesota Eye Consultants, the Proud Ophthalmology Partner of the Minnesota Vikings.

Passing: Kirk Cousins had perhaps his worst start as a Viking and one of the poorest performances of his entire career.

The Vikings starting quarterback completed 11 of 26 passes (42.3 percent) for just 113 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions. His passer rating of 15.9 was the lowest in his career as a starter.

Cousins also had his first three-interception game as a Viking, and just the third outing in his 95-game career with three picks.

According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Cousins' completion percentage was 13.7 points below his expected rate, which was the worst mark among all NFL quarterbacks in Week 2.

Through two games, Cousins has completed 30 of 51 passes (58.8 percent) for 372 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions. His passer rating is a league-worst 61.9 among the 34 quarterbacks who have started at least one game in 2020.

Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill had himself quite a game in Week 2. He completed 18 of 24 passes for 239 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions.

His passer rating of 145.7 was the second-highest of his career when tallying at least 20 pass attempts. It also ranked second among all NFL quarterbacks in Week 2.

Through two games, Tannehill has completed 47 of 67 passes (70.1 percent) for 488 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions. His passer rating is 120.7.

Rushing: A pair of the NFL's best running backs will be on display Sunday.

Dalvin Cook had 14 carries for 63 yards and a score in Week 2. On the season, he has 32 rushes for 113 yards and three touchdowns.

Alexander Mattison added three carries for 13 yards. The Vikings have 40 total rushing attempts through two games, which is the third-lowest total in the league.

On the opposing sideline, Derrick Henry is a workhorse who ran for 84 yards on 25 carries in Week 2. He has a league-high 56 carries through two games and has rushed for exactly 200 yards.

Henry led the NFL with 1,540 rushing yards in 2019 and tied for the league lead with 16 rushing touchdowns. He then rushed for 446 yards in three playoff games as the Titans reached the AFC title game.

Receiving: Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen led the Vikings with just three receptions each in Week 2.

Jefferson had a team-high 44 yards, and Thielen contributed 31 yards. Cook had two catches for 8 yards, and Bisi Johnson had one catch for 24 yards.

Irv Smith, Jr., had a single reception for 3 yards, as did Mattison, while Kyle Rudolph did not record a catch in a full game he played for the first time since Week 1 of the 2019 season.

Thielen leads the Vikings with nine receptions for 141 yards and two scores in 2020.

Tannehill spread the ball around evenly in Week 2. Adam Humphries had a team-high five catches and had a score, along with 48 yards.

Jonnu Smith had four receptions for 84 yards and two touchdowns, and fellow tight end Anthony Firkser had four catches for 45 yards. Corey Davis added three catches for 36 yards and a score.

The Titans were without second-year wide out A.J. Brown, who had a 1,000-yard season as a rookie. Humphries leads Tennessee with 11 catches, while Davis has a team-high 101 yards through two games.

Defense: A week after giving up 522 total yards to the Packers, Minnesota's defense trimmed that total to 354 yards against Indianapolis.

But while the Packers success came through the air, the Colts ran the ball effectively against the Vikings, as Minnesota allowed 151 rushing yards on a whopping 40 attempts.

The Vikings once again lost the time-of-possession battle (21 minutes and 35 seconds for Minnesota, compared to 38:25 for Indianapolis), but that stat can be attributed to both sides of the ball.

On a positive note, Eric Wilson secured his first NFL interception Sunday, and Yannick Ngakoue recorded his first sack (and forced fumble) as a Viking.

Through two games, the Vikings have allowed 876 total yards and 71 points, although four of those points are from Minnesota's offense taking safeties in back-to-back games.

The Titans defense allowed 480 total yards against the Jaguars, 165 of which came on the ground.

Jack Crawford and Kenny Vaccaro had sacks for Tennessee, which allowed Jacksonville to convert on 10 of 14 third downs. Kristian Fulton and Harold Landry III had interceptions for the Titans.

The Titans defense features edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney, a former No. 1 overall pick who signed with the team as a free agent shortly before the start of the 2020 season.

Special Teams: Dan Bailey made his lone field goal try Sunday from 21 yards out. He did not attempt an extra point. Bailey is perfect on his two field goals and lone extra point in 2020.

Britton Colquitt had four punts for 168 yards, with a long of 46 on Sunday. Through two games, he's averaging 41.3 yards per punt. Rookie K.J. Osborn had three kickoff returns for 66 yards.

Titans kicker Stephen Gostkowski made both his field goal tries Sunday, and is 3-for-6 on the season. He also missed an extra point for the second straight game. Punter Brett Kern landed all three of his punts in Week 2 inside the 20-yard line.

Kalif Raymond handles return duties for the Titans. He has four kickoff returns for 71 total yards in 2020.

A rare losing skid

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer is 57-40-1 in his six-plus seasons in Minnesota, and has only endured a three-game losing streak twice in that span.

Zimmer's 2014 team started 2-2 and lost three straight to drop to 2-5, but the Vikings then won four of their next six. Minnesota finished 7-9 that season.

The 2016 Vikings started 5-0 before losing four straight games. Minnesota finished 8-8 that season.

The 2020 Vikings will try to avoid a three-game skid Sunday at home against the Titans.

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