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Know Your Foe: Tennessee Titans

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CHARLOTTE – The Panthers hit the road this weekend to take on the Tennessee Titans at Nashville's Nissan Stadium.

The 1:00 p.m. EST matchup pits Carolina (1-9), coming off a 33-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, against the 3-7 Titans, who have lost three straight games, most recently falling 34-14 to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The game is set to air on FOX.

The Panthers and Titans have met 6 times in NFL history (series split 3-3), with Carolina winning the last two. More on the series history can be found here.

Here's what to know about the Titans:

Will Levis

Offensive Awakening

For the past few years, Tennessee's offense was predicated around the run game, with eight-year veteran and former Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry running roughshod over his opponents. In fact, no other player had more rushing yards (8,335) or rushing touchdowns (78) from 2016 to 2022.

Henry is off to a solid start in 2023, as he's currently sixth in the NFL with 663 rushing yards, adding four touchdowns on the ground.

But a mid-season change under center may have breathed new life into the Titans' passing attack, with rookie Will Levis taking the reins in October. The second-round draft pick made his first start in Week 8 against the Atlanta Falcons and completed 19 of 29 passes for 238 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions.

He seems to have found a favorite target in offseason pickup DeAndre Hopkins. Levis and Hopkins have connected on a touchdown in each of the Titans' last four games, including 43-yard score last Sunday against the Jaguars.

Jeffery Simmons

Stout Up Front

Coming off two consecutive Pro Bowl selections, 6-foot-4, 305-pound defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons is a lot to handle up front. Through 10 games, the fifth-year veteran is on pace to break his regular-season tackle tally, and he's logged 4.5 sacks and eight tackles for loss.

At the second level, linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair is Tennessee's tackling machine. The former San Francisco 49er and Florida Atlantic product has led the team in takedowns in four games this season, hitting double digits in each of those contests.

Outside linebacker Arden Key is another player to watch, as he joined the team this year after stints with the former Oakland Raiders, the San Francisco 49ers and Jaguars. He boasts 2.5 sacks and his 34 quarterback pressures lead the Titans.

Steady Kickers

Sixteen-year veteran kicker Nick Folk was acquired this offseason in a trade with the New England Patriots, and he immediately helped stabilize Tennessee's special teams execution.

In 2023, Folk made his first 20 field goal attempts before a 51-yard miss at Tampa Bay in before his first miss from 51 yards at Tampa Bay in Week 10. His 20 straight field goals tied for the longest streak in franchise history, and they're the most consecutive field goals made to start a season in franchise history.

In addition, punter Ryan Stonehouse, in only his second season out of Colorado State, is a field-flipping weapon for the unit. As a rookie, he broke an NFL record that has stood for 82 years by averaging 53.1 gross yards per attempt (90 total punts).

He hasn't slowed down, as Stonehouse is currently averaging 52.8 gross yards and 44.4 new yards per punt.

Carolina is 2-3 all-time against the Titans franchise, winning in the last meeting in 2015.