Titans vs. Rams 2013 game preview: Jeff Fisher will face his former team

Michael Thomas

After 14 seasons coaching in Tennessee, Jeff Fisher will face his former team when the Rams host the Titans.

Tennessee Titans fans are used to seeing Jeff Fisher coaching on the sidelines. Fisher spent 17 seasons with the organization, including 14 while the team was in Tennessee. However, Fisher will be on the opposite sideline from Tennessee for the first time when St. Louis hosts the Titans on Sunday.

Both teams enter the game with three wins and are on the outside of the playoff picture. Based on the first half of the season, it appears it will take at least nine wins to make the playoffs in both conferences, so the Titans and Rams have some ground to make up.

Tennessee will be the more rested of the two teams. The Titans should be fresh coming off a bye week, while the Rams will be on a short week after playing on Monday Night Football. Neither team has had much recent success recently, as the Titans have lost three in a row while the Rams are coming off back-to-back losses.

The game will be the third matchup between the two teams since 2005, and it's a rematch of Super Bowl XXXIV.

Meet the Rams

The Rams played without starting quarterback Sam Bradford for the first time last week and almost pulled off the upset, losing 14-9 to Seattle. Although St. Louis missed an opportunity to come away with the win, the Rams did well in several areas.

St. Louis struggled to run the ball early in the season but Zac Stacy has given the Rams a boost since taking over the job. He ran for 134 yards last week and is averaging 4.6 yards per carry. He suffered an ankle injury late in the game against Seattle and his health could be a key against the Titans.

The Rams are 21st in scoring defense this season, but they terrorized Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. Robert Quinn now has 10 sacks on the season and is in the discussion for the best pass rushers in the league. He and fellow defensive end Chris Long racked up six sacks last week. If they can continue to pressure the quarterback, the Rams' defense could be greatly improved over the second half of the season.

Meet the Titans

Tennessee got off to solid start, opening the year with three wins in its first four games. Jake Locker's injury and a difficult stretch of schedule didn't help matters, as the Titans proceeded to drop three straight. Those losses came to Kansas City, Seattle and San Francisco, who have a combined record of 21-3.

Only three of the Titans' final nine games will come against teams currently with a winning record, so there may be an opportunity for Tennessee to play its way back into the playoff picture. If it does, it will have to play well on the road with five road games remaining, beginning with Sunday's game against the Rams.

The offense showed signs of improvement in Locker's return in Week 7, but the Titans will still need to get better. They enter Week 9 22nd in the league in scoring at 20.7 PPG. The Titans struggled early against San Francisco before scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter. Locker played well though, averaging 8.0 yards per attempt, and he could spark a second-half surge if he continues to play well.

Local Takes: St. Louis

Ryan Van Bibber of Turf Show Times was not a fan of St. Louis' final play against Seattle:

Stacy left the game late with an ankle injury, but came back in for the final play ... the final play where Schottenheimer had him lined up wide, leaving Pass Master 2000, Kellen Clemens, with an empty backfield on fourth down at the one-yard line.

Naturally, the call came for a pass, because no Rams receiver had dropped a ball or quit on a route through four quarters of football.

Local Takes: Tennessee

Jimmy Morris of Music City Miracles took a closer look at the rest of the Titans schedule and wrote Tennessee will need to finish 7-2 to make the playoffs:

The Titans schedule really does get considerably easier after the break. It is by no means a cakewalk, but there is only one game in my mind where the Titans are over-matched- @ Denver. The Titans shouldn't be more than a touchdown underdog in any of the other games.

Follow the Fun

Be sure to check out SB Nation's team blogs, Music City Miracles and Turf Show Times, for more analysis and highlights from the game.

Add these fine follows to your Twitter timeline:

@TurfShowTimes

@TitansMCM

@jthom1 -- Rams beat writer

@jwyattsports -- Titans beat writer

Prediction

St. Louis is coming off arguably its best performance of the season. Tennessee hasn't been on the winning side recently, but a lot of that is due to a very difficult stretch of schedule. The teams appear to be evenly-matched in many areas. The Titans, however, will have their starting quarterback with St. Louis without Sam Bradford for the season. That advantage should be enough for Tennessee to win a close one.

Pick: Titans 24-17

Odds

Tennessee was favored by four points in the opening line but the odds have shifted in St. Louis' direction since, according to OddsShark.com. Tennessee is currently a 2.5-point favorite, according to some oddsmakers.

Next Week

Week 10: St. Louis at Indianapolis

Week 10: Tennessee vs. Jacksonville

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