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The Tennessee Titans and their rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota will face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense on Sunday when the two teams open their 2015 NFL seasons inside Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
Both teams will be starting rookie quarterbacks making their first career starts in the contest, and the Buccaneers will likely look to provide multiple looks and formations to try to confuse Mariota, but where can the rookie look to try to find some success of his own against the Tampa defense?
Matchups and formations will ultimately be the key for Mariota and the Titans offense, as the Bucs have a good defensive line that could make running the football tough on the Titans considering the Titans offensive line could still be catagorized as a work in progress.
While we don't have any inside information as to the Titans gameplan, by simply looking at the Tampa defense form a seasons ago, it is easy to see that the Bucs d-line and linebackers Lavonte David and Bruce Carter are outstanding defenders who can provide a challenge for Mariota and company.
The other linebacker, Danny Lansanah however is an area where the Titans could look to exploite by either using Delanie Walker against him or by using formations to try to get him locked up in coverage against either Kendall Wright or Harry Douglas. Either receiver or Walker would be a good matchup that would likely favor the Titans.
In the Buccaneers secondary former Titans cornerback Alterraun Verner is the top cover man in the group while the corner opposite Verner, Jonathan Banks has struggled and ranks near the bottom of the league the last two seasons.
Verner is a good cover corner, but his height could be an areal where the Titans look to attack with their bigger receivers in Dorial Green-Beckham or Justin Hunter to try to gain an advantage on the outside. At the same time, the Titans will also likely look to work on Banks because he has struggled.
If the Titans are able to pass early in the contest, it could hopefully open up the running game for late on.
The Titans will likely try to run early and establish something in that area, but they could be better served to use the passing game to open up the run.
However the Titans decide to attack the Buccaneers, the front seven will provide a challenge for them and Mariota.