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Sizing up the Tennessee Titans, the Browns' Week 6 foe


One by one, is breaking down each of the Browns' 2016 regular season opponents as the dog days of the offseason unfold.*

Today's preview takes the Browns back to the place where they made history early in the 2014 season with the biggest road comeback the NFL's ever seen.

Who: Tennessee Titans

When: Week 6 (Oct. 16, LP Field, 1 p.m.)

Series History (last meeting): 35-29 (Browns 28, Titans 14 in 2015 at FirstEnergy Stadium).

The coach: Mike Mularkey - 1st season

The stakes: The Browns will be gunning for their third consecutive victory over the Titans, who have experienced similar aches and pains over the past few seasons. It will be Round 2 for the Browns defense against prized quarterback Marcus Mariota, who threw for 257 yards and two touchdowns but was sacked seven times in Cleveland's victory.

Matchup to watch: RBs Derrick Henry and Demarco Murray vs. Browns defense: The Titans had one of the league's worst rushing offenses last season, but they made two big offseason moves to upgrade their backfield. It will certainly test a Browns defense hoping to bounce back from another tough season against the run. It's unclear how carries will be distributed between Henry and Murray, but the former is certainly the bruiser, checking in at 243 pounds after a banner career at Alabama. The Titans have also made upgrades to their offensive line, which struggled to generate much of anything against Cleveland's defense last season.

Offseason storyline: The Titans sent shockwaves through the NFL when they dealt the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft, setting themselves up with a stockpile of picks to fill a roster full of holes. The Titans also made a bevy of moves with free agents to help support their franchise quarterback and beef up a defense that was one of the worst in the NFL. This will definitely be a different looking team than the one Cleveland beat soundly last season.

Biggest addition: Murray - Last season with the Eagles was a big step back for the Pro Bowl running back, but the Titans believe they can get the most out of a player who amassed 1,845 yards just two years ago with the Cowboys. The Titans haven't had a dominant running back since Chris Johnson, who gave Tennessee its last 1,000-yard rusher in 2013.

Biggest loss: S Michael Griffin - The Titans parted ways with the veteran early in the offseason. He was a nine-year starter with Tennessee, making two Pro Bowls (2008 and 2010) during a productive run with the franchise. Tennessee addressed the vacancy by adding veteran Rashad Johnson, who spent his previous seven seasons with the Cardinals.

The star: Mariota - If the Titans get to where they want to go, it will be because of their second-year quarterback. Mariota had his ups and downs throughout a rookie season that was limited to 12 games because of multiple injuries. He showed a greater tenacity to use his legs as the season progressed but was at his best when he was able to pick apart defenses through the air. An upgraded receiving corps and offensive line should help in 2016.

The X-Factor: TE Delanie Walker - He just keeps getting better as his NFL career progresses. In his 10th NFL season, Walker notched his first 1,000-yard campaign, as he made the most of his whopping 133 targets and piled up 94 receptions in the process. Over the past three seasons, Walker has 217 receptions and 16 touchdowns. He missed last year's matchup with an injury, and the Titans' offense suffered because of it.

What makes this game tough: All indications are the Titans will be better than last season, and they'll be on their home field. This will also mark the Browns' fourth road game in their first six weeks.

What makes them beatable: The Browns dialed up the perfect recipe to limit Mariota last season, applying constant pressure and forcing him into situations where he had to hold the ball much longer than he preferred. There's something to be said about second seasons for quarterbacks, who are tasked with adjusting to the adjustments defenses make on them after watching a year's worth of film. Tennessee's defense features a number of new faces but remains an unproven entity.

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