TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 5: Tennessee Titans At Minnesota Vikings

Titans
Vikings
Denver Broncos v Tennessee Titans
Jacksonville Jaguars v Minnesota Vikings
Quarterback
The Titans are going to have to go with backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck because Jake Locker’s left (non-throwing) shoulder won’t allow him to line up. Hasselbeck is clearly one of the most experienced backups and can throw short- and medium-range passes, but he can’t go downfield.
Winner Christian Ponder is one of the top stories of the early season as he has stepped in and become a solid leader for the Vikings. Ponder has the size, arm strength and athletic ability to become a star quarterback, but he still makes mistakes and has a long way to go.
Offense
The Titans have been waiting for speedy Chris Johnson to play like a star during the first few weeks of the season, and he finally hit it big with a 141-yard effort against the undefeated Texans. If Johnson can continue to run successfully against the Vikings, that will take a lot of pressure off of Hasselbeck.
Winner The Vikings were hoping that running back Adrian Peterson would return to solid form following last year’s ACL injury, but he has exceeded expectations. Peterson looks as strong as ever and will wear down a defense with his physical style. Percy Harvin is a big-play wideout who can break a game open.
Defense
Winner The Titans are somewhat undisciplined on defense. They like to go for the highlight-film kind of hit and that puts them at risk to missing tackles. That doesn’t work against good teams. Strong safety Jordan Babineaux is one of the most dependable tacklers on the team. He had 12 stops against the Texans.
Winner The Vikings are doing a solid job on defense under head coach Leslie Frazier. The Vikings attacked Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford consistently in Week Four and registered five sacks. Defensive end Jared Allen is once again the dominant pass rusher on the team.
Special Teams
The Titans are very confident in placekicker Rod Bironas, who has a strong leg and is very consistent. Punter Brett Kern averaged 46.6 yards on seven punts against the Texans. He has a strong leg and is a good directional punter.
Winner The Vikings had the kind of game that special teams coaches dream of in the win over the Lions. Harvin returned the opening kickoff for 105 yards and a touchdown and they added a punt return for a score when Marcus Sherels ran 77 yards in the third quarter.

The Winner Is

Jacksonville Jaguars v Minnesota Vikings
Winner Vikings
4 out of 4

The Vikings are exceeding expectations because they are keeping mistakes to a minimum and taking advantage of mistakes by their opponents. They are brimming with confidence after their Week Three win over the 49ers and it may be too much to ask the Titans to come into Minnesota and get a win with their aging backup quarterback.

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. NEW YORK, UNITED STATES: (FILES)This undated file photo shows US baseball star Jackie Robinson as he signs a then-record contract to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers in New York. Robinson has been chosen to receive posthumously the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest award Congress can bestow on a US civilian, 02 March 2005, for his accomplishments on the baseball diamond, as well as "his lifetime of breaking down barriers and his unending fight for justice," officials on Capitol Hill said in an earlier press release. US Senator John Kerry and US Representative Richard Neal, who co-sponsored legislation honoring Robinson, will be joined by the ballplayer's widow Rachel Robinson, US President George W. Bush and congressional leaders at the ceremony. Robinson broke baseball's "color line", becoming the first African American to play in the Major Leagues when he debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Officials in Congress said however that he is also being honored for his contributions to the broader struggle for civil rights. (Photo Credit: Mike Powell/Getty Images)
    Best Two-Sport Athletes Of All Time

    With Tim Tebow getting a baseball deal, Starkey and Mueller drafted the best two-sport athletes of all time.

  2. OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 18:  Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons signals to his team during their NFL game against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 18, 2016 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 18:  Quarterback  Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints hands off to Mark Ingram #22 during the first quarter against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on September 18, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
    Week 3 Tale Of The Tape: Atlanta Falcons At New Orleans Saints

    The NFC South rivals meet in the Big Easy with Brees and company looking for their first win.

  3. CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 19: Danny Trevathan #59 and Akiem Hicks #96 of the Chicago Bears
stop Ryan Mathews #24 of the Philadelphia Eagles
at Soldier Field on September 19, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Eagels defeated the Bears 29-14. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 18: Quarterback Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates with teammates center Travis Frederick #72 and offensive guard La\'el Collins #71 after scoring a third quarter touchdown against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on September 18, 2016 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
    Week 3 Tale Of The Tape: Chicago Bears At Dallas Cowboys

    The Cowboys rookies have looked good the first two weeks, now they get the winless and injury plagued Bears at home.

See All Tales of the Tape

More From CBS Pittsburgh

Bringing You The Best in Sports Talk Radio
New Podcast Network
Learn How

Listen Live