Even in an age where the passing game is king, the best teams in the NFL can still fall victim to a dominant rushing performance.

Derrick Henry proved as much on Monday Night Football in Week 6, putting the Buffalo Bills to the sword with a 143-yard, three-touchdown performance as the Tennessee Titans claimed a thrilling primetime win.

It was Henry's fifth successive 100-yard game and his third this season with three touchdowns.

Unsurprisingly, the man who has won the rushing title in each of the last two seasons again leads the league in yardage on the ground.

More noteworthy, however, is the fact Henry is on pace to comfortably break Eric Dickerson's record for most rushing yards in a single season.

Dickerson's mark of 2,105 has stood since 1984, but Henry critically has the benefit of a 17th game in which to make NFL history.

But is Henry's pace sustainable? And, beyond writing one of the most incredible chapters in the NFL record books, what would it mean if Henry does surpass Dickerson?

Henry's potentially historic average

Following his dominant showing against Buffalo, Henry is averaging 130.5 yards per game, putting him on track for 2,219.

Such a gaudy average would be unsustainable for most backs. However, Henry has the exceptional skill set to again prove as the exception.

He finished last season with similar numbers, putting up 126.7 yards per game while leading the league with 378 carries – Dalvin Cook was second with 312 –  as the Titans star surpassed 2,000 for the first time in his career.

And his frightening combination of his size and speed has allowed Henry to display durability beyond most players at his position.

Henry has missed only one game across the previous two seasons, a period in which he carried the ball a league-high 681 times, with his 6ft 3in and 247lb frame and his explosiveness ensuring it is opposing defenders who typically come off worst in collisions.

A favourable schedule

Speaking to that explosiveness is Henry's 2021 yards before contact per attempt average of 3.01. That figure is comfortably above the league average of 2.40 and the difficulty in stopping Henry once he bursts to the second level of the defense is reflected by his number of big-play runs.

Henry leads the league with 19 rushes of 10 yards or more while he is the only player in the NFL with two runs of at least 50 yards.

Simply put, being in the path of this behemoth when he breaks into the open field is the most difficult position for an NFL defender to be in, and he will face plenty of defenses vulnerable to run during the remainder of the season.

On Sunday, the Titans face a Kansas City Chiefs defense ranked 30th in rush yards per attempt allowed (5.15), with six of the last 11 weeks of the season seeing Tennessee meet a team ranked in the bottom half of the league by that metric.

The blend of Henry's proclivity for big gains and a schedule that should present a plethora of opportunities for displays akin to his devastating effort in Week 6 is a perfect recipe for the former Alabama star sustaining his current pace and shattering Dickerson's record, which would be significant for several reasons.

Destined for Canton?

The magnitude of Henry breaking the rushing record cannot be overstated.

At present, it is only the advent of the 17th game that would make his current pace enough for him to surpass Dickerson, who averaged an astonishing 131.6 yards across 16 games.

Yet that would not detract from the scale of Henry's achievement, with that potential piece of history standing as a monument to his consistency.

In addition to claiming a record that has long since seemed unbreakable, Henry would become the first player in NFL history to record multiple 2,000-yard seasons, doing so in successive years.

Putting that into context, no player in NFL history has even posted back-to-back 1,900-yard seasons, with Dickerson the sole player to go over 1,800 yards in consecutive years, his record-breaking 1984 following a 1983 campaign he finished with 1,808 yards as a rookie.

Henry may only be in his sixth season as a pro but, should he maintain his pace and make NFL history, he can surely look forward to a place in the Hall of Fame.

The argument could be made that he would require a longer spell of dominance to secure a spot in Canton. However, Henry is on course for an unmatched two-year run at a time where the unstoppable bell-cow running back is considered a thing of the past.

This is the era of committee backfields, one where any running back taken in the first round can be viewed as a reach, and yet Henry is producing at an unprecedented rate amid a workload that would physically break many tailbacks and carrying the Titans to victories that have helped establish a two-game lead in the AFC South as they look for back-to-back division titles.

Tennessee's flaws on defense will likely prevent the Titans from seriously contending for a deep playoff run this year, but Henry has the distinct opportunity to make sure this season is memorable for entirely different reasons that would be worthy of him being immortalised and receiving a gold jacket after an increasingly astounding career comes to a close.

Kyle Shanahan needs to get the San Francisco 49ers winning again if their playoff potential is to be fulfilled, and this Sunday looks like a major opportunity.

To snap a three-game losing streak, the Niners (2-3) must get the better of an Indianapolis Colts side who, much like San Francisco themselves, have made an inconsistent start to the season.

By contrast, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are riding a three-game run of wins and have started 5-1 for just the fifth time in the history of the franchise, heading into a tussle with the Chicago Bears (3-3). Tom Brady has been a driving force so far as the Super Bowl winners carry on where they left off last season.

Patrick Mahomes has been hit and miss for the slow-starting Kansas City Chiefs, who will hope the NFL's highest-paid player can cut out throwing interceptions as they face the Tennessee Titans.


Indianapolis Colts @ San Francisco 49ers

If coach Shanahan's 49ers are to turn around their season, then facing a Colts side who have begun 2-4 seems like a pretty good place to start. Yet the Colts have dominated this series of late, winning on their last four meetings, albeit most recently in 2017 when they snatched a 26-23 overtime success. It would not be stepping out of line to predict this could be tight, given the 49ers have played nine consecutive games that have been decided by eight or fewer points, going back to last season.

That is the longest active streak of such close games in the NFL and the longest streak in team history, and the Niners do not have the best recent return when games go close, posting a 3-6 record in this sequence.

San Francisco fell 17-10 to the Cardinals in their most recent game, two weeks ago, while the Colts hot-footed their way to a 31-3 trouncing of Houston last Sunday. That came despite Indianapolis earning just 15 first downs for the entire game. It was the first time the Colts had won by 28 or more points while only having 15 or fewer first downs since 1972 against New England.

In his 21st career game, Colts running back Jonathan Taylor rushed for 145 yards and two touchdowns, meaning he surpassed 1,500 rushing yards, 500 receiving yards and chalked up his 15th rushing touchdown in the NFL. Only four running backs in NFL history have hit all three of those milestones in fewer games than Taylor, with two of those doing so with the Colts – Edgerrin James and Marshall Faulk.

San Francisco will hope to be recharged after a bye week. Deebo Samuel scored the fourth rushing touchdown of his career against the Cardinals, with Jerry Rice (10) the only wide receiver with more rushing touchdowns in 49ers history.

Chicago Bears @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

After a dispiriting loss to the Green Bay Packers last time out, the Chicago Bears encounter a Tampa Bay team in sparkling recent form. Tampa Bay have started the season 5-1, doing so for the fifth time in franchise history, and on each of the previous occasions (2005, 2002, 1997 and 1979) they backed it up by reaching the playoffs. History could be made on Sunday, given the Buccaneers have never started a season with six wins through their first seven games.

Yet this is a game in which the Bears have traditionally, and recently, had the upper hand. Chicago have stacked up 40 wins in 60 all-time meetings against Tampa Bay, which is the most wins by any team against the Bucs. The Bears have also won the last two in the series, scoring victories in 2018 and 2020.

Tampa Bay can seemingly do no wrong when Brady is pulling the strings so masterfully. Brady leads the NFL with 2,064 passing yards, the second-highest total he has ever had through six games of a season – beaten only by his 2,163 passing yards at this stage in 2011. Prior to this year, no Tampa Bay quarterback had ever thrown for more than 1,800 yards through six games.

What have the Bears got to offer? Chicago are averaging 246.2 net yards per game, which is more than 20 yards per game less than any other team. The 1,477 yards is the fewest Chicago has had through six games since the 1993 season. Rookie quarterback Justin Fields needs to make something happen, but others must step up too. In his first career start, Khalil Herbert ran for 97 yards and a touchdown against Green Bay last time out.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Tennessee Titans

"He's trying to make things happen," said Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, explaining away the two interceptions thrown by Patrick Mahomes in Week 6 against Washington. For Mahomes, that was a second straight game with at least two interceptions. He is tied with Jacksonville's Trevor Lawrence in second position on the list of the most interceptions thrown this season, with his tally of eight so far only topped by Zach Wilson of the Jets.

This is only the second run that Mahomes has endured of throwing two or more interceptions in consecutive games, the previous dating back to Week 5 and 6 of the 2018 season, and Reid will hope his radar is better set for the clash with the Titans. Mahomes is still doing an awful lot right in 2021, but the fact remains he threw just six interceptions last season.

The Chiefs' unsteady 3-3 opening is their worst of the Mahomes era, and it was 2015 when they got off to a slower start. On that occasion they followed a 1-5 opening with 10 consecutive wins, a single-season record for Kansas City that was matched last season.

Tennessee's bright start has featured some notable performances. The Titans ran for 146 yards and scored four rushing touchdowns in the 34-31 win over Buffalo on Monday night, taking them to 985 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns for the season. It is the first time in franchise history that the Bills have 10 or more rushing touchdowns and at least 975 rushing yards through six games.

Running back Derrick Henry has 10 rushing touchdowns so far, beating his career best of seven through six weeks in 2020. It puts him tied for the fourth most rushing touchdowns of all time through six weeks (Jim Brown 14, Shaun Alexander 12, Emmitt Smith 11).

Elsewhere...

The Detroit Lions face a tall order on the road against the Los Angeles Rams (5-1). Detroit are 0-6 for the first time since their 0-16 season in 2008 and have not scored more than 17 points in any of their last five games. Former Rams quarterback Jared Goff, now with Detroit, has thrown zero touchdown passes and an interception in each of his last two games.

The 5-1 Baltimore Ravens have recent history on their side ahead of a clash with the Cincinnati Bengals, having won five successive games in their head-to-head series, including the last three by a brutal average of 31.7 points.

Heading into a home game against the Houston Texans (1-5), the Arizona Cardinals are on a 6-0 roll. This has only happened twice before in franchise history, but never before in Arizona. The St Louis Cardinals in 1974 and Chicago Cardinals in 1922 are the teams who both started their seasons 6-0 as well.

Philadelphia QB Jalen Hurts could match an NFL record as the Eagles (2-4) tackle the Las Vegas Raiders. Hurts has rushed for two touchdowns in each of his last two games. Billy Kilmer, for San Francisco in 1961, is the only quarterback to achieve the feat in three straight games.

The Green Bay Packers last lost at home to Washington in 1988, winning five in a row since with home-field advantage, and they put a 5-1 season record to the test when the teams meet again. Washington (2-4) are yielding an NFL-worst 31.0 points per game in 2021, matching the team's worst mark through six games of a season in the Super Bowl era (1998).

Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel says Derrick Henry is "willing and able to carry us" after another barnstorming performance in a thrilling 34-31 win over the Buffalo Bills in Monday Night Football.

Henry finished with 143 yards and three touchdowns as the Titans moved to 4-2 in the AFC South this season.

It marked the fifth straight game Henry surpassed 100 yards for rushing, while it is the third occasion this season he has ended with at least three touchdowns.

Henry joined Jim Brown (1958) as the only players in NFL history to rush for three-plus touchdowns in a game three times in the first six games of a season, according to Stats Perform.

Through Week 6, Henry has three games with 125 or more rushing yards and three-plus rushing touchdowns – it is tied for the most such games in a single season in the Super Bowl era.

Speaking after the game, Vrabel said of Henry: "We continue to jump on Derrick's back and he's willing and able to carry us. 

"It's something that you know you have in your back pocket, your front pocket and you can use it. He gave us a big shot right there."

For his part, Henry said he is just trying to perform his best for the team every time he takes to the field.

"I just love to come out here and try to be the best player and team-mate I can," he said. 

"Come out here and try to take advantage of my opportunities and make plays for this team. Whatever I can do to help us win, I am willing to do.

"This, today, was incredible. The whole atmosphere, it felt like a playoff game. The crowd was in it – they came and packed the stadium out. It's something that we'll always remember, especially on a big stage like this."

Derrick Henry came up big in the fourth quarter and the Tennessee Titans thwarted Josh Allen at the death in a thrilling 34-31 NFL victory over the Buffalo Bills.

Henry scored his third touchdown for the Titans (4-2) with just over three minutes remaining against the AFC East-leading Bills (4-2) on Monday.

The Titans then held up Bills signal-caller Allen on a fourth-down quarterback sneak in the final seconds to snap Buffalo's four-game winning streak.

Henry joined Jim Brown (1958) as the only players in NFL history to rush for three-plus touchdowns in a game three times in the first six games of a season, according to Stats Perform.

Through Week 6, Henry has three games with 125 or more rushing yards and three-plus rushing touchdowns – it is tied for the most such games in a single season in the Super Bowl era.

After a tense opening quarter – Tyler Bass' field goal for the Bills was the only score – Buffalo and Tennessee traded touchdowns in the second period.

Henry sparked the Titans with a memorable 76-yard TD run before Allen threw a 14-yard pass to Stefon Diggs just over three minutes later and the see-sawing battle continued – Allen's pass to Cole Beasley cancelled out Ryan Tannehill's (18-of-29 passing for 216 yards and an interception) four-yard run to give the Bills a 20-17 half-time lead.

Bass' third field goal and Allen's third TD pass (finishing 35 of 47 for 353 yards, three TDs and an interception) to Tommy Sweeney outweighed Henry's touchdown run as the Bills stretched their lead to 31-24 heading into the final period.

But Tennessee's defence came up big after Henry scored the only TD of the fourth quarter, having watched Randy Bullock convert his 38-yard field goal.

The Jacksonville Jaguars cannot believe their 20-game losing streak as the embattled NFL franchise closes in on an unwanted record following Sunday's 37-19 defeat to the Tennessee Titans.

Not since the 2020 season opener – a 27-20 victory against the Indianapolis Colts – have the Jaguars celebrated a win in the league as they are currently in the midst of the second-longest losing streak in NFL history.

After dropping to 0-5 this season, the Jaguars face the threat of breaking the record for the longest drought since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, which is held by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (26 straight games from 1976 to 1977).

"You can't wrap your head around that," Jags running back James Robinson said afterwards. "We've got to find a way to win.

"We're a really good team. Obviously, our record doesn't show it, but we've got a lot of great guys in the locker room and we've just got to find something that's going to work for us."

Jaguars rookie Trevor Lawrence threw a touchdown and an interception in finishing 23-of-33 passing for 273 yards and two sacks, while the number one draft pick rushed for a TD on seven carries.

"We don't really talk about that [losing streak]," Jacksonville quarterback Lawrence said. "I don't think that's good to talk about that. You can't get desperate. You've got to just keep going to work. We're going to win some games.

"We're going to turn it around, and we all thought today was the day we were going to get that first win and it wasn't.

"We didn't execute enough down the stretch, but we're going to figure it out. We're going to turn this thing around. It's going to be a lot of fun when we do. We want to win. All the guys.

"We've got so many hard workers and everyone's so invested. It's not a team where you've got guys that aren't really committed or don't care. Everyone's all-in, so it'll come."

The NFL season is heading towards the quarter mark and it's likely desperation time for those fantasy owners who are yet to claim a win.

Thankfully there are several matchups in Week 4 that figure to be very high scoring and deliver huge fantasy performances.

Which players should you be looking at slotting into your lineup for the upcoming slate of games?

Stats Perform looks at four offensive players and a defense that can help propel you to glory this week.

 

Quarterback: Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans @ New York Jets

Tannehill followed up a 300-yard performance in Week 2 against the Seattle Seahawks with a three-touchdown display in a win over the Indianapolis Colts.

The Jets' defense is the strength of their winless team but still ranks 17th in the NFL in yards per pass play allowed with 6.79.

Given the ineptitude of New York's offense, which has committed the second-most turnovers in the NFL (7) through three games, the Jets' defense is likely to eventually wear down and provide Tannehill with plentiful opportunities to enjoy another strong fantasy outing.

Running Back: Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers vs. Las Vegas Raiders

The Chargers have their own problems with run defense, allowing the highest rushing average in the league at 5.8 yards.

However, fourth on that list are the Raiders, who have given up 4.81 yards per carry through three games.

Ekeler's yards after contact per attempt average of 2.5 is sixth among running backs with at least 10 carries and he is again a focal point in the passing game having made 15 receptions over the last two games. 

In a game likely to be dominated by high-powered offenses, Ekeler figures to play a pivotal role and, taking the favourable matchup into account, is a must-start in points per reception fantasy leagues.

Wide Receiver: Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers

Lockett has never had a 100-yard game against the 49ers, but caught 12 of 14 targets for 90 yards and two touchdowns in the regular-season finale against San Francisco last year.

Registering a burn, which is when a receiver wins his matchup on a play where is targeted, on 68.4 per cent of his targets Lockett is second among wide receivers that have been thrown to at least 10 times with a burn yards per target average of 19.29.

Going up against a banged-up San Francisco secondary, Lockett's ability to create consistent separation could prove pivotal in a matchup where Seattle may have to get into a shootout to prevail given the porous nature of the Seahawks' defense.

Tight End: Dawson Knox, Buffalo Bills vs. Houston Texans

Still the most difficult position in fantasy football to judge, managers can often find themselves in a difficult spot if they do not own one of Travis Kelce, George Kittle and Darren Waller.

However, those lacking a dependable option at tight end may find Knox a worthwhile pickup for this week. He has a touchdown in each of his last two games, hauling in four of his five targets last week against the Washington Football Team, and gets an extremely enticing matchup in Week 4.

The Texans are allowing the fourth-most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends and, with the Bills' offense beginning to fire on all cylinders, Knox could prove an extremely astute addition to fantasy lineups if he is still available on your waiver wire.

Defense: New Orleans Saints vs. New York Giants

The Saints' defense had a field day in Week 3, picking off rookie Mac Jones three times, including one interception returned for a touchdown, in a bounce-back win over the New England Patriots.

This week, New Orleans gets to play a game at the Superdome for the first time this season, and the impact of a raucous home crowd will surely only make things more difficult for the Giants' offense and quarterback Daniel Jones.

He has been pressured 53 times already this season, the Giants allowing the 11th-most in the NFL, while the Saints' defense has racked up 56 pressures, putting New Orleans seventh in the league.

While the Giants' signal-caller has only committed one giveaway in 2021, that is a recipe for a disastrous day for a quarterback known for his lack of ball security. Should this go to form, the Saints will make life miserable for a quarterback named Jones for the second successive week.

Derrick Henry believes the Tennessee Titans pulled off a victory no one expected as they produced a stirring comeback to beat the Seattle Seahawks on the road.

The Titans had suffered a demoralising 38-13 defeat to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1 heading into their trip to Seattle.

Their 2021 season looked poised to go from bad to worse when the Seahawks led 30-16 on Sunday, as the Titans tried to cope with offensive line injuries to Taylor Lewan and Rodger Saffold.

But Mike Vrabel's team were not to be denied as they recovered to earn an impressive 33-30 victory in overtime.

Titans running back Henry racked up 182 yards and three touchdowns from 35 carries as well as adding six catches for 55 yards.

Julio Jones, meanwhile, recovered from a difficult Titans debut which led to his connection with quarterback Ryan Tannehill being questioned by making six catches for 128 yards.

"Last week, we didn't play to our standards, and that was on us," Henry, the 2020 Offensive Player of the Year, said after the game.

"I don't think anybody expected us to come out here and get a W. 

"I don't get caught up in all the scenarios and records but we stuck together and I'm glad we came out here and got a win.

"I knew if we stuck together, trust in what we preach and what coach preaches, play the way we practice, it would eventually come together for us."

Henry became just the fourth player in NFL history to reach 10 career games with at least 150 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns, after Hall of Famers Jim Brown, Ladainian Tomlinson and Barry Sanders.

Vrabel was understandably delighted by Henry's performance and the spirit shown by the Titans, who now have momentum at 1-1 going into a key Week 3 meeting with AFC South rivals the Indianapolis Colts.

"It [the impact of Henry] just never ceases to amaze me," Vrabel said.

"We have just got to keep being in opportunities and being in football games where he can help us affect the outcome. That's really what happened.

"I found out that they [the team] are willing to compete, willing to battle and fight.

"I was proud of them, I felt like that was our identity. You have to stop talking about your identity and hoping and wishing about an identity, you have to go out there and play to it and find out what it is.

"I think that [performance] was certainly who we are. These guys are excited, and they should be. All the credit to the players."

For Jones, acquired in a trade from the Atlanta Falcons in the offseason, it was his 59th career game with at least 100 receiving yards, an accomplishment that saw him tie Marvin Harrison for the third-most such games in NFL history. 

The seven-time Pro Bowler now only trails NFL greats Jerry Rice (76 games) and Randy Moss (64) in that category. 

Jones also became the fastest player in history to reach 13,000 receiving yards, doing so in 137 games to smash the previous record held by Rice (154).

Trey Lance threw his first NFL touchdown and Jimmy Garoppolo excelled but the San Francisco 49ers were forced to hold off a near-miraculous rally from the Detroit Lions in a 41-33 thriller.

Rookie third overall pick Lance was not able to win the starting quarterback job from Garoppolo, yet he still made his regular-season debut at Ford Field on Sunday, and he took his first snap with the Niners on the Detroit 16-yard line on their second drive of the day.

His second snap saw him hit Trent Sherfield for a five-yard touchdown pass and, though Detroit responded with Jared Goff connecting with tight end T.J. Hockenson, Garoppolo's 314-yard performance, which included a 79-yard touchdown throw to Deebo Samuel, scores on the ground from rookie Elijah Mitchell and JaMycal Hasty and a Dre Greenlaw pick-six appeared to have put the game beyond all doubt.

San Francisco led 41-17 with under five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, but a Jamaal Williams short-yardage plunge followed by a two-point conversion provided Detroit a glimmer of hope that grew brighter when George Kittle was unable to field an onside kick.

The Lions subsequently drove down the field and Goff found Quintez Cephus for a two-yard touchdown and another two-point conversion. They then had a chance to tie the game following a fumble from Samuel, but Detroit could not complete an incredible comeback to force overtime.

Samson Ebukam's pressure forced Goff into an errant throw, allowing the Niners to breathe a huge sigh of relief.

It was, however, a pyrrhic victory for San Francisco, who lost cornerback Jason Verrett to what head coach Kyle Shanahan believes is a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

Though the 49ers took defensive starters out of the game following Verrett's injury with what eventually proved an insurmountable lead, the ease with which the Lions moved the ball late in the game should be of concern to San Francisco, especially with two of their NFC West rivals enjoying excellent days.

The Arizona Cardinals and the Seattle Seahawks each won comfortably. Kyler Murray threw for four touchdowns and ran for another while defensive end Chandler Jones had five sacks in the Cardinals' easy 38-13 win over the Tennessee Titans, while Russell Wilson had four touchdown passes for the Seahawks as they saw off the Indianapolis Colts 28-16.

Steelers stun Bills

While not quite as dramatic as events in Detroit, the Pittsburgh Steelers' win over the Buffalo Bills at Orchard Park was certainly unexpected.

The Bills led 10-0 at the end of the first half, but Josh Allen was sacked three times as the Steelers held a usually explosive offense in check.

And, after a pair of field goals from Chris Boswell, Diontae Johnson's spectacular catch at the back of the endzone in the fourth quarter gave them a lead they would not relinquish.

Ulysees Gilbert III recovered a blocked punt to make it 19-10 Steelers, Mike Tomlin's men going on to close out a 23-16 win that deals an early blow to a Bills team seen as Super Bowl contenders.

Burrow makes winning return

Last year's number one overall pick Joe Burrow made his return from a serious knee injury in the Cincinnati Bengals' clash with the Minnesota Vikings, and it proved a successful one in a thriller at Paul Brown Stadium.

He connected with college team-mate Ja'Marr Chase, the fifth overall pick by the Bengals this year, for a 50-yard touchdown in the first quarter to give Cincinnati a lead that they eventually let slip late in the fourth quarter when Vikings kicker Greg Joseph tied matters at 24-24 with a 53-yard field goal.

That forced overtime, but a Dalvin Cook fumble in Bengals territory handed Burrow and the Bengals the chance to clinch it, and he did just that with a drive that set up Evan McPherson's 33-yard field goal and sealed a 27-24 success.

This year's number one overall pick, Trevor Lawrence, endured a very different day. He threw for 332 yards and three touchdowns with three interceptions as the Jacksonville Jaguars were beaten 37-21 by the Houston Texans.

Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel said he tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday, a day after his team's pre-season game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

Vrabel told reporters via video conference that he woke up on Sunday with a sore throat and went to the team's facility for a coronavirus test, which came back positive. A second test also was positive.

The 46-year-old Vrabel has previously said he is vaccinated. 

"As of now, I’ll be in quarantine, following the protocols and trying to do my best to help the football team while I am [home]," he told reporters.

"I am very confident in our football team, our coaching staff, our organization, that no matter what the situation is, we’ll handle it."

The Titans spent several days last week in Tampa holding joint practices with the Buccaneers ahead of Saturday's pre-season game, which Tennessee won 34-3. 

ESPN reported the Buccaneers were waiting on contact tracing, along with the Titans. 

Vrabel told reporters he was not aware of any other positive tests among the Titans on Sunday. 

Tennessee was the first NFL team to experience a major COVID-19 outbreak last season, with 13 players and 11 staff members testing positive over several weeks. 

Those issues resulted in two games being rescheduled. 

The Titans' final pre-season game is set for Saturday at home against the Chicago Bears. 

They will host the Arizona Cardinals on September 12 to open the regular season. 

A. J. Brown and Ryan Tannehill are relishing the arrival of Julio Jones after the Tennessee Titans sealed a trade for the star wide receiver.

The Titans sent a 2022 second-round draft pick as well as a 2023 fourth-round selection to the Atlanta Falcons to get Jones and a 2023 sixth-round pick in return.

Jones had been connected with a number of NFL franchises after expressing his desire to leave the Falcons – who struggled to a 4-12 record in 2020 – after 10 successful seasons.

He will now team up with Pro Bowler Brown to catch passes from quarterback Tannehill on a Titans team that also contains Offensive Player of the Year running back Derrick Henry.

"I looked at my phone, and my daughter was laying next to me and I jumped out of bed, and said, 'Is this really real?' I kind of woke my daughter up," Brown – who has said Jones has inspired his journey to the NFL – said about the moment he found out a deal had been done.

"I had to calm down for a little bit. When I got the news, it was kind of crazy. My phone started blowing up. 

"I think this is really huge for Tennessee, not just for me, but this is huge for the city, our team. We are glad to have him.

"The city right now is electric, [fans] are pumped to get a guy like Julio Jones on the team. I think the team loves it, guys are reaching out. I think everyone is really pleased with it."

Jones has topped the NFL for receiving yards twice in his career (2015 and 2018), making the Pro Bowl on seven occasions.

While injuries limited him to nine games and 771 yards in 2020 and he turned 32 this year, the Titans hope Jones can still produce elite play that will help them launch a Super Bowl run.

"It is wild," said Tannehill. "I am excited, I am fired up. I didn't know if it was going to happen or not, and was kind of along for the ride like everybody else. My agent called me and said it was going to happen.

"I am excited. How could you not be excited to play for a guy with the calibre of talent Julio is and has been for his whole career? 

"I am excited to get to know him as a person and welcome him to the team."

Titans general manager Jon Robinson insists Jones will play the team game in pursuit of success despite his illustrious individual achievements.

"In my discussion with Julio, what's his number one goal, it wasn't about [receiving] targets, it wasn't about that, his goal is to win," he said.

"That's the mindset we're looking for, whether that's nine targets, whether that's two targets or no targets. Contribute to winning the football game – that's the mindset he has and that's the mindset we have as a football team.

"He's big, he's fast, he's tough, he's great with the ball in his hands, willing blocker. 

"A lot of the things we ask of our receivers, it's get open, catch and block. He certainly checks those boxes and has done it at a high level for a lot of years in the National Football League."

The Titans have had five straight winning seasons, reaching the AFC Championship game in 2019 before going 11-5 to win the AFC South last year, only to lose to the Baltimore Ravens in the Wildcard round.

With Jones joining Tannehill, Brown and Henry, hopes are high for a deep postseason run.

"We don't set expectations," added Robinson. "Everybody has a chance to go the distance and win the thing. 

"Ultimately, it's our job to try to put a team out there that's going to be competitive, that's going to play stylistically the way that we want to play and I'm excited about this team."

The Tennessee Titans have agreed trade terms with the Atlanta Falcons for wide receiver and seven-time Pro Bowler Julio Jones.

Jones signed a three-year contract extension with the Falcons in 2019, reportedly worth $66million.

However, the two-time NFL receiving yards leader, who has called Atlanta home since being drafted sixth in 2011, wil join up with the Titans pending a successful medical. 

The full terms include Tennessee trading their 2022 second-round pick and a 2023 fourth-round selection to Atlanta in exchange for Jones and a sixth-round pick in 2023.

Jones played in nine games last season after suffering a hamstring injury that kept him sidelined for the majority of the second half of the campaign as the Falcons (4-12) finished bottom of the NFC South.

The 32-year-old caught 51 passes for 771 yards and three touchdowns in 2020.

Since entering the NFL with the Falcons, Jones has led the league in receiving twice (1,871 yards in 2015 and 1,677 yards in 2018) and three times in yards per game (2015, 2016 and 2018).

Overall, Jones has amassed 948 receptions for 12,896 yards and 60 touchdowns throughout his career.

As was the case a year earlier, Derrick Henry's tremendous performances on the ground could only take the 2020 Tennessee Titans so far in the playoffs.

Running back Henry was once again the star as the Titans returned to the postseason with an 11-5 record, their best since 2008 – also the last time they had won the AFC South.

But having come up short against eventual champions the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2019 AFC Championship Game, Tennessee fell at the first hurdle this time.

The Baltimore Ravens, still hurting from their shock defeat against Henry and Co the previous season, prevailed 20-13 in the Wild Card round.

So the Titans must regroup again ahead of the 2021 campaign, surely again looking to Henry to provide their spark while negotiating a challenging offseason.

The league's Offensive Player of the Year will certainly need some help, as our study with Stats Perform data shows.

Offense

It came as no surprise that the Titans ranked as high as second in rushing yards last season (168.1 per game) given Henry's incredible consistency.

There was not a rushing metric in which Henry did not lead the NFL, attempting 378 rushes, at 23.6 per game, for 2,027 yards (126.7 per game) and 17 touchdowns – league-high marks across the board.

Tennessee rushed on 50.5 per cent of plays – ranking third – and Henry carried the load almost single-handedly. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill was next for total yardage with 266.

But the flaws in this approach were laid bare by the Ravens, who got to grips with Henry.

He was restricted to 18 attempts for just 40 yards. Only once in his NFL career – in a Week 17 win over Jacksonville in 2017 – had Henry previously averaged less than 2.2 yards with 18 rushes or more.

This reliance on Henry in their biggest games ultimately proved damaging, even as the rest of the offense also largely performed well.

Tannehill finished the year with a passer rating of 106.5 – fifth in the NFL – but he threw fewer passes (481) than any other QB to start 16 games, while the Titans were 23rd in net passing yards (228.3 per game).

Wide receivers A.J. Brown (70 receptions for 1,075 yards and 11 TDs) and Corey Davis (65 receptions for 984 yards and five TDs) each put up impressive career-best numbers, yet they ranked joint-32nd and joint-38th respectively for catches.

With the focus on Henry, their season stopped when he was slowed.

Defense

Even with Baltimore impressively handling Henry, a rare bad game might have been less of an issue had the defense been able to hold up.

Across the regular season, the Titans ranked 28th for opponent yards per game (398.3), including 277.4 net passing yards per game, 29th best in the league.

The franchise paid the price for some big free agency misses in the form of edge rushers Vic Beasley Jr. and Jadeveon Clowney, who signed one-year contracts worth a combined $22.2million and failed to contribute a single sack between them.

Clowney played eight games before he was placed on injured reserve due to a knee injury, while Beasley showed up late to training camp and played just five times before he was released.

A defensive unit that shared a locker room with the best running back in the sport was at least slightly better at disrupting their opponents' ground game, but they still allowed 120.8 rushing yards per game (19th in the league).

As a result, too often Tennessee could not get their opponents off the field and put the ball in Henry's hands.

Opponents spent 31 minutes and 32 seconds in possession on average (27th in the league), while the Titans recorded only 19 sacks, ranking 30th.

Even on the rare occasions they did successfully put teams under pressure, the Titans were dead last in third-down stops. A massive 51.9 per cent of third downs against them were converted, including 42.6 per cent of attempts of six yards or more and 37.7 per cent of 10 yards or more.

Offseason

There is lots to do before the new season starts if the Titans are to be competitive again. Indeed, the scale of the task might well mean a Super Bowl run is beyond them in 2021, even with Henry a force once more.

Offensive coordinator Arthur Smith's departure to Atlanta, where he will be the Falcons' head coach, prompted the promotion of Todd Downing to a role he has served in for only one year previously, with the Raiders in 2017.

And he will have his work cut out if the Titans are to come close to maintaining last season's standard.

The team declined Davis' fifth-year option prior to his career-best year, making him an unrestricted free agent, while tight ends Jonnu Smith (eight TDs in 2020) and Anthony Firkser are also leaving. Slot receiver Adam Humphries, injured and expensive last year, will be less of a miss.

It means Brown is the only remaining Titan to have posted more than 200 receiving yards for the team in 2020.

On defense, meanwhile, the short-lived failures of Clowney and Beasley mean there is again a gaping hole at the edge position.

Tennessee have just $10.6m of cap room to work with and, although they at least still have their draft picks, some tough weeks and months lie ahead.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been crowned the NFL's MVP for a third time.

Rodgers was honoured during Saturday's awards – on the eve of Super Bowl LV between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers – as he added to his 2011 and 2014 MVPs.

The 37-year-old is now level with Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, Packers great Brett Favre, Johnny Unitas and Jim Brown with three Most Valuable Player honours – only Peyton Manning (five) has more in NFL history.

The Packers fell short in the NFC Conference Game, beaten by Super Bowl finalists the Buccaneers, but Rodgers still enjoyed a memorable campaign.

Packers star Rodgers amassed 48 touchdowns, five interceptions and a completion rate of 70.7 per cent this season.

His quarterback rating of 121.5 puts him second on the all-time list among qualifiers, behind only his 2011 campaign (122.5).

In total, Rodgers completed 372 of 526 attempts for 4,299 yards as the Packers topped the NFC North with a 13-3 record to clinch home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs for the first time since 2011.

Rodgers – a Super Bowl champion during the 2010 season – featured in his first NFC title decider at Lambeau Field, but the Packers fell to Brady's Buccaneers 31-26.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles Rams star Aaron Donald won the Defensive Player of the Year for a third time.

Pittsburgh Steelers pass rusher T.J. Watt had been tipped to win the award, but Donald maintained his dominance, having also reigned supreme in 2017 and 2018.

Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski claimed the Coach of the Year award after leading the franchise to their first postseason victory in 25 years.

Not since the 1994 season had the Browns won a playoff matchup, until upstaging the Steelers before losing to the Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Round.

 

List of NFL Honors

Rookie of the Year: Los Angeles Chargers QB Justin Herbert
Defensive Player of the Year: Los Angeles Rams DL Aaron Donald
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Los Angeles Chargers QB Justin Herbert
Offensive Player of the Year: Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Washington DE Chase Young
Comeback Player of the Year: Washington QB Alex Smith
Coach of the Year: Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski
Most Valuable Player: Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers

The Atlanta Falcons have confirmed an agreement is in place with Arthur Smith to become their next head coach.

Smith has spent 10 years with the Tennessee Titans, the last two of those as their offensive coordinator.

The 38-year-old is set to replace Dan Quinn, who left along with general manager Thomas Dimitroff in October following the Falcons' 0-5 start.

Raheem Morris has been in temporary charge since then and guided the team to a 4-12 record.

Smith has also previously spent two years as the defensive quality assistant for the Washington Redskins from 2007-08.

The Falcons made the announcement on their official website on Friday, 24 hours after the New York Jets reached an agreement in principle with Robert Saleh to become their next head coach.

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