With leaks dropping left and right on the 2023 NFL schedule, there was a lot of speculation as to who the Saints would face in week one. Many of us at CSC were hoping for an NFC South matchup to begin the season, but the Saints landed an AFC foe in the Titans.
Even though the Titans traded up in round two of the NFL Draft to select Will Levis, who many thought could’ve gone as high as four overall, the Titans will most likely start veteran Ryan Tannehill in week one.
Tannehill has started three games against the Saints in the past, once as a Dolphin and two times as a member of the Titans. In those three games, he’s racked up 734 passing yards, five touchdowns, three interceptions and has been sacked 11 times.
Although he’s been on the roster each of the last two times the Saints have played the Titans, Derek Henry will play his first game against the Saints as he was inactive in the previous two matchups. Louisiana native and rookie running back Tyjae Spears will also be in the backfield for week one, making his NFL debut in the Superdome.
Henry was unavailable when the Saints and Titans met in 2019 due to a hamstring injury, only to be held out with a broken foot for the 2021 rematch. Guessing he'll be ready to go for Week 1 in 2023. https://t.co/V1ZbTcOx5G— John Sigler (@john_siglerr) May 11, 2023
Henry, one of the leagues best running backs, has played against every NFL team but the Saints in his seven year career. Luckily for the Saints, their front seven should be at fully healthy entering the season to help slow him down.
While the Titans have a dynamic backfield, they have arguably the worst receiving core in the league. After trading A.J. Brown to the Eagles in the 2022 draft, the Titans selected Treylon Burks, a highly touted WR prospect in last years draft. In one season in Tennesee, Burks recorded 33 catches for 444 yards and just one touchdown. Some other wide receivers on their roster include Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, Chris Moore and New Orleans native Racey McMath.
The Saints secondary should have no problem getting back into form in week one, but the Saints will have to make a concerted effort to minimize Derek Henry if they want to walk out of the Dome with a win.
The Saints are 6-9-1 all time versus the Titans, but they have split the series 2-2 since 2011. With new QB Derek Carr leading the offense, the Saints will look to start the season 1-0 for the third consecutive season before heading to Carolina for Monday Night Football in week two.
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