NFL Football

38
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
New Orleans 0 10 21 7 38
Tennessee 14 0 7 7 28
28
10:00 AM PT11:00 AM MT12:00 PM CT1:00 PM ET18:00 GMT2:00 11:00 AM MST1:00 PM EST12:00 PM CT22:00 UAE13:00 ET16:00 , December 22, 2019
Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee  Weather: 50°, Cloudy  Attendance: 66,756

Saints-Titans Preview

According to STATS
According to STATS

New Orleans Saints at Tennessee Titans

  1. The Titans have won five of their last six games against the Saints, including a 34-28 overtime win in their most recent meeting in Week 9 of 2015. New Orleans' one win in those six games was a 22-17 win in Nashville in Week 14 of 2011, the last time they travelled to Tennessee.
  2. The Saints defeated the Colts, 34-7, at home on Monday night. That was New Orleans' ninth game scoring 30 or more points this season, which is tied for the third-most 30-point games in a season in team history and one short of their single-season high (2011 and 2018).
  3. The Titans fell to the Texans, 24-21, at home in Week 15, snapping a four-game winning streak. Tennessee put up 432 total net yards in the loss, its most in a losing effort since Week 3 of 2015, a 35-33 loss to the Colts.
  4. Drew Brees threw for 307 yards and four touchdown passes in the win over the Colts. He has now thrown the most touchdown passes in NFL history (541), passing Peyton Manning (539) and Tom Brady (538). It was also his 36th game with four or more TD passes, breaking a tie with Peyton Manning for the most in NFL history.
  5. Derrick Henry has 1535 scrimmage yards to go with 15 scrimmage touchdowns this season. He is the fifth Titan to reach 1500 scrimmage yards and 15 scrimmage TDs in a season along with Billy Cannon in 1961, Earl Campbell in 1979, Eddie George in 2000 and Chris Johnson in 2009.
  6. Since Week 10, the Titans are scoring 34.2 per game, the second-highest average in the NFL. Over that same period, the Saints are averaging 30.5 points per game, the fifth-highest mark in the league.
Team Comparison

New Orleans
 
Tennessee
27.0 Points 24.2
276.1 Pass Yds 247.3
108.6 Rush Yds 130.6
19 Takeaways 22
(AP Photo/Butch Dill)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Ryan Tannehill has followed Drew Brees since he was still in high school. So Tannehill couldn't miss watching at least a little bit as the Saints quarterback wrote his name into the NFL record book a couple of more times.

“Obviously, he was on fire,” Tannehill said of Brees. “Kind of a cool moment for him, a guy that I've respected for a long time as a person, as a player. … So to be able to see him break that record, he's sustained success for a long period of time, and I was happy for him.”

That was Monday night. On Sunday, Tannehill and the Titans (8-6) get a chance at the Saints (11-3) with Brees having grabbed the NFL's career touchdown pass record at 541. Brees also set the NFL mark for the highest completion rate in a single game, completing 29 of 30 passes for 96.7%.

This could be quite the show. It's the first time since the NFL went to a 16-game schedule in 1978 that two starting quarterbacks with a passer rating of 114 or better have played this late in the season, though Patrick Mahomes and Philip Rivers came close last season in Week 15.

Brees is the league leader in both passer rating and completion percentage (115.3 rating and 75.8%) just ahead of Tannehill (114.6 rating and 71.5%). Brees and the Saints are chasing a first-round bye to go with their NFC South title.

Tannehill is 6-2 since taking over as the starter trying to help the Titans earn their second playoff berth in three seasons, which took a hit with a 24-21 loss to Houston last week.

Now with his second NFL team after being traded away by Miami in March, Tannehill is trying to earn a new contract after this season. Brees spent his first five seasons in San Diego before landing in New Orleans. Brees is in his 14th season with the Saints, and he said changing teams offers a fresh start.

“It's kind of like reestablishing the foundation, but you're also drawing on your experiences as a starting quarterback,” Brees said. "I mean, how many games did Ryan Tannehill start prior to arriving in Tennessee, a lot? He’s an experienced veteran quarterback, but yeah, new environment, new system and yet you're bringing some experience and wisdom along with it and that's a big deal.”

Saints coach Sean Payton says he's been impressed with Tannehill's decision-making in Tennessee and how quickly he's getting the ball out, helped by the Titans' run game and Pro Bowl running back Derrick Henry.

“You can see the confidence that he’s playing with," Payton said. "I think he’s 6-2 now since he's been their starter, so it’s pretty impressive to watch.”

MORE HISTORY LOOMING

Brees completed his final 22 passes in a 34-7 win over the Colts and he need only complete his first four passes against the Titans to set another NFL record for most consecutive completions. That mark currently is shared by Nick Foles, Philip Rivers and both Tennessee quarterbacks. Marcus Mariota, now on the bench, completed 25 straight over two games last November, while Tannehill had 25 straight completions for Miami over two games in October 2015.

Saints receiver Michael Thomas is closing in on his own NFL history.

He's had eight games this season with at least 10 catches, including the win over the Colts, for the most such games in a single season in NFL history. He leads the NFL with 133 catches and 1,552 yards. He needs only 11 catches to pass Marvin Harrison's league record of 143 catches in 2002 for most in a single season.

NOT REVENGE GAME

The Saints drafted safety Kenny Vaccaro with the 15th pick overall in the 2013 draft, and he started 67 of 68 games for New Orleans over five seasons. When the Saints let him go as a free agent in 2018, Vaccaro remained unsigned until the Titans lost Johnathan Cyprien early in training camp. He signed a one-year deal, then earned a multi-year deal from Tennessee in March.

“I grew so much as a man the five years I was there, it's exciting,” Vaccaro said. "I'm excited to see all those guys again.”

SECONDARY REINFORCEMENTS

While Saints starting cornerbacks Marshon Lattimore and Eli Apple are healthy, that didn’t stop New Orleans from claiming former Giants starting cornerback Janoris “Jackrabbit” Jenkins off waivers this week. Jenkins, who was waived by the Giants after using an offensive word on social media, arrived in time for practice Wednesday. Jenkins has four interceptions, as many as free safety Marcus Williams, who led the Saints in that department before Jenkins’ arrival.

IMPRESSIVE ROOKIE

Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown leads all rookies with 893 yards receiving this season and also has four 100-yard receiving games. With two games left, he could become the first NFL rookie with five 100-yard receiving games since Amari Cooper in 2015 with Oakland.

ALTERED FRONT

The Saints are trying to adapt along the defensive line after two former first-round draft choices - end Marcus Davenport and tackle Sheldon Rankins - had season-ending injuries two games ago. The defense had just one sack last week, a big drop from two weeks earlier when the Saints had nine in Atlanta.

“You talk about what he’s been able to do as far as extending plays but looking downfield, he looks like he’s more poised than he was in Miami,” Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Jordan said of Tannehill.

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AP Sports Writer Brett Martel contributed to this report.

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Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker

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More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Updated December 19, 2019

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