Nov 20, 2022; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver A.J. Brown (11) runs with the ball while Indianapolis Colts linebacker Zaire Franklin (44) defends in the first quarter at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Eagles, A.J. Brown try to clinch playoff spot vs. Titans

The Philadelphia Eagles have the NFL’s best record and a chance to clinch a playoff berth at home Sunday.

The visiting Tennessee Titans appear to be well on their way to a third consecutive AFC South division title.

Those plots are secondary, however. This battle between the Eagles (10-1) and Titans (7-4) is all about A.J. Brown.

Tennessee traded the star wide receiver to the Eagles during the 2022 NFL Draft, acquiring the No. 18 overall pick and a third-round selection.

Philadelphia then signed Brown to a four-year, $100 million contract (with $57 million guaranteed), a deal that he was unable to negotiate in Nashville.

Brown, 25, has been a big reason why the Eagles are enjoying their best start since the 2017 team that won Super Bowl LII. He is tied for fourth in the NFL in touchdown catches (seven) and ranks ninth in receiving yards (831).

All of Tennessee’s wide receivers combined have just three touchdown receptions, two by Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and one by Robert Woods.

Brown tried to turn down the temperature on his impending reunion with the Titans, for whom he piled up 2,995 receiving yards and 24 touchdowns in three seasons (2019-21).

“I know people are going to try to hype it up,” Brown said. “I’m going to be focused and try to play my best ball on Sunday.”

Brown caught only four passes for 46 yards Sunday night in the Eagles’ 40-33 win over the Green Bay Packers, but his third-quarter touchdown gave Philadelphia a critical 14-point cushion.

Brown, who fully expects to receive extra attention from Tennessee head coach Mike Vrabel’s defense, said he is at peace with his departure from the Titans.

“I know they’re going to be coming. I know they’re going to be chirping,” Brown said. “But it really doesn’t mean nothing to me. Honest. I mean, I feel like I’ve won. I’ve won in the sense of I got a chance to take care of my family. They did give me an opportunity, but I got a chance to take care of my family and I’m 10-1.”

Vrabel, whose Titans are coming off a 20-16 loss to Cincinnati, said his team has bigger concerns after coming away with zero touchdowns on three trips to the red zone against the Bengals.

“It’s the best team in the National Football League,” Vrabel said of the Eagles. “There will be plenty of challenges. It’s a good football team, on the road. The Titans — and who we have proven to be and hopefully who we are — have to prepare this week and we have to show up and try to do things that we know are successful and not start changing things and pointing fingers.”

They will be facing an Eagles defense that ranks No. 2 in the league, allowing 304.4 yards per game.

Philadelphia will be without standout safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson, the NFL leader with six interceptions, due to a reported lacerated kidney. Linebacker Patrick Johnson (ankle) and wide receivers Zach Pascal (groin) and DeVonta Smith (groin) were all limited in Wednesday’s practice.

Titans kicker Randy Bullock has missed the past two games with a calf injury but was a full participant Wednesday in practice, as were center Ben Jones (concussion) and quarterback Ryan Tannehill (ankle). Defensive ends Denico Autry (knee) and Jeffery Simmons (ankle) and cornerback Elijah Molden (groin) did not practice.

–Field Level Media

Oct 23, 2022; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; The Tennessee Titans' Denico Autry (96) after a win against the Indianapolis Colts at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Titans LB Denico Autry (knee) to have MRI

Tennessee Titans linebacker Denico Autry will have an MRI on Friday after injuring his knee in Thursday night’s win at Green Bay, ESPN reported.

Initial reports indicate the injury is not “major” but further testing will help to provide a timeline for his return, per the report.

Autry, 32, was injured in the third quarter when Packers offensive lineman Jon Runyan inadvertently rolled into his leg. Autry left the field under his own power but traveled by cart to the locker room.

Playing an outside linebacker role for the Titans this season, Autry leads the team with seven sacks through 10 games. He also has 20 tackles, 16 quarterback hits, two passes defensed and one forced fumble.

Autry has 46.5 career sacks in 123 games with the then-Oakland Raiders (2014-17), Indianapolis Colts (2018-20) and Titans.

–Field Level Media

Oct 2, 2022; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Tennessee Titans wide receiver Treylon Burks (16) is carted off the field after an injury following a play against the Indianapolis Colts during the first half at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Armond Feffer/IndyStar-USA TODAY NETWORK

Nfl Tennessee Titans At Indianapolis Colts

Titans WR Treylon Burks (toe) returns to practice

The Tennessee Titans designated rookie receiver Treylon Burks to return to practice from injured reserve on Wednesday.

Tennessee’s 2022 first-round pick has not played since Week 4 due to a turf toe injury. He landed on injured reserve on Oct. 8.

Burks, 22, has 10 catches for 129 yards through four games. He was the No. 18 overall pick out of Arkansas.

Wednesday’s transaction opens his 21-day window to be added to the active roster.

The Titans (5-3) play host to the Denver Broncos (3-5) on Sunday in Nashville.

–Field Level Media

Oct 9, 2022; Landover, Maryland, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) carries the ball as Washington Commanders linebacker Cole Holcomb (55) makes the tackle during the first quarter at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Titans win at Commanders with walk-off interception

Tennessee’s David Long picked off a Carson Wentz pass at the goal line as the Titans escaped with a 21-17 win over the Washington Commanders Sunday afternoon in Landover, Md.

Long’s interception came on the game’s final play after Wentz had driven the Commanders from their own 11-yard-line over the final five minutes. It was the third straight win for Tennessee (3-2) and fourth consecutive loss for Washington (1-4).

Derrick Henry carried 28 times for 102 yards and two touchdowns for the Titans, topping the 100-yard mark for the second straight week.

Ryan Tannehill shook off heavy pressure to complete 15 of 25 passes for 181 yards and a touchdown. Washington sacked Tannehill five times, including two by Montez Sweat.

Carson Wentz went 25-of-38 for 359 yards and two touchdowns for the Commanders. Both of his scoring passes went to Dyami Brown, the first in his two NFL seasons.

But the Tennessee defense rose in the clutch, stopping Washington on 10 of its 11 third down plays.

Commanders rookie running back Brian Robinson, who was shot twice as he warded off an armed robbery attempt six weeks ago, made his NFL debut, carrying nine times for 22 yards.

Tennessee trailed 17-14 late in the third quarter when Tannehill scrambled away from a heavy rush and lofted a 61-yard completion to wide open Nick Westbrook-Ikhine. The play set up a 1-yard touchdown vault by Henry, which put the Titans up for the duration, 21-17.

In the first half, Tennessee opened the scoring on its third possession, using consecutive screen passes to Henry for 24 yards and Dontrell Hilliard for 13 yards and a touchdown.

The Commanders retaliated with a 50-yard field goal from Joey Slye. And then Wentz followed with a 75-yard touchdown bomb over the top of the Titans defense to Brown.

But Tennessee regained the lead with an 81-yard, 15-play drive that chewed 6:57 off the clock. Henry’s 1-yard scoring carry put the Titans up 14-10 at the half.

Washington regained the lead when Brown made a one-handed touchdown grab on a play that covered 30 yards in the third quarter.

–Field Level Media

Aug 13, 2022; Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Commanders running back Brian Robinson (8) scores a touchdown  past Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon (54) during the first half at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Commanders to face Titans with plenty of inspiration

Five weeks after Brian Robinson suffered two gunshot wounds as he tried to thwart an armed robbery attempt, the Washington Commanders running back was cleared to practice.

If ever a team needed a feel-good story it’s the embattled Commanders (1-3), losers of three straight games and who host the Tennessee Titans (2-2) on Sunday at Landover, Md.

Robinson, a rookie from Alabama who impressed in the preseason, has made a remarkable recovery after being shot in right knee and thigh in broad daylight on a Sunday afternoon in Washington, D.C.

With an interesting choice of words, Commanders coach Ron Rivera discussed Robinson’s return.

“Hopefully it will be a nice shot in the arm,” Rivera said.

Robinson, who appeared set to replace Antonio Gibson as Washington’s starting running back before the shooting incident, could be activated on Sunday.

“I’m the king of adversity,” Robinson told reporters after his first full practice on Wednesday.

After two seven-win seasons and a poor start to this year, pressure is ramping up on Rivera. During their three-game skid, the Commanders have been outscored in the first half 58-7.

Opposing defenses are feasting on Washington’s troubled offensive line, which has yielded more sacks (17) than any team in the league, exposing quarterback Carson Wentz’s discomfort when pressured.

Knee surgery for standout center Chase Roullier is likely to sideline him for the season. His replacement, Wes Schweitzer, started one game before going on injured reserve with a concussion sustained in Week 3.

Tackle Sam Cosmi had thumb surgery on Tuesday and his status is uncertain for Sunday. Washington’s other starting tackle Charles Leno (shoulder) was limited in practice on Wednesday. Guard Trai Turner was benched early for poor play in a 25-10 loss at Dallas on Sunday.

Robinson’s return could help sell play-action fakes and take some of the heat off of Wentz and the offensive line, Rivera said.

“If you can get the pass rushers going sideways, it slows it down a little bit,” Rivera said. “Any time there’s the dual threat of a run/pass, it plays to our benefit. We’ve got to get to that.”

Washington likely will be without rookie wideout Jahan Dotson (hamstring), who has four touchdown catches in his first four NFL games and missed practice on Wednesday along with wideout Curtis Samuel (illness).

Getting the running game going won’t be easy against a Tennessee defense that limited the Colts to 38 yards on 23 rushes in a 24-17 win Sunday at Indianapolis. The NFL’s top rusher last season, Jonathan Taylor, had 42 yards on 20 attempts.

“Our inside linebackers played the run as well as I can remember,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said of Dylan Cole, Joe Schobert and Davis Long. “We’ll need that this week.”

The health of the linebacker unit is an issue as Joe Jones (knee), Bud Dupree (hip), Zach Cunningham (elbow) and Ola Adeniyi (neck) missed practice on Wednesday, along with wideout Treylon Burks (toe).

The Titans enter on a two-game winning streak, which coincides with improved work from running back Derrick Henry. In two losses to open the year, Henry averaged 3.1 yards per touch. Since then, he’s gained 290 yards on 50 touches, for an average of 5.8 yards.

Unlike Washington, Tennessee has started fast the last two weeks, scoring touchdowns on its first three possessions in a 24-22 win over the Raiders and scoring three touchdowns and a field goal in its first four possessions against the Colts.

–Field Level Media