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Week 7 Preview: Falcons at Titans

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Atlanta Falcons (5-1) at Tennessee Titans (1-4)

Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at Nissan Stadium, Nashville – TV: FOX

*TV announcers: Thom Brennaman, Charles Davis, Tony Siragusa

*Keys to the game: The Falcons have been consistently winning the time of possession battle, but need to clean up the turnovers that plagued their loss to New Orleans in Week 6. The Titans enter with the league’s 28th-ranked run defense and will see a heavy dose of Devonta Freeman as Atlanta looks to establish the ground game on the road and open up play-action for QB Matt Ryan. Tennessee owns the league’s top-ranked pass defense, but that’s primarily from playing behind consistently and Ryan won’t hesitate to test the secondary with WR Julio Jones close to full strength for the first time in weeks.

The Titans won’t know until late in the week whether rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota’s sprained knee will be strong enough to allow him to play. If not, backup Zach Mettenberger will make his first start of the season. Either quarterback will need support from the ground game, which lacks consistency and a home-run threat. With Tennessee set to start a pair of rookies along the offensive line, the Falcons should be able to control the line of scrimmage and work on executing on the pass rushing tweaks made over the extended break since their Thursday night loss in Week 6.

*Matchup to watch – Falcons FS Ricardo Allen vs. Titans TE Delanie Walker: Benched due to a slew of missed tackles, Allen is back in the lineup after his replacement, Robenson Therezie, struggled in coverage in Week 6 as Saints TE Ben Watson caught 10 passes for 127 yards and a touchdown. Walker leads the Titans with 22 catches for 244 yards and a touchdown, while Anthony Fasano has nine catches for 129 yards and another score.

*Player spotlight – Titans C Andy Gallik: The rookie sixth-round pick takes over for Brian Schwenke, who was lost to a season-ending dislocated ankle.

*Fast facts: Freeman’s 10 touchdowns are the most ever by a Falcon through the first six games of a season. … Walker has at least three catches in eight consecutive games.

WHO WILL WIN AND WHY

The Falcons were able to get healthy with 10 days between games while the Titans enter with a four-game losing streak, an ailing quarterback and an offensive line starting two new rookies.

*Our pick: Falcons 34-19.


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