Tennessee (8-0) at Chicago (5-3)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Chicago, IL
Temp: 75° F
  • Game info: 1:00 pm EST Sun Nov 9, 2008
  • TV: CBS
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Even though they’re off to a franchise-best start, the Tennessee Titans recognize that challenges remain, including playing a significant portion of their remaining schedule away from home.

The Titans look to improve to 4-0 on the road for the first time in team history Sunday when they face a Chicago Bears team that could be without starting quarterback Kyle Orton.

Tennessee (8-0) came away with a 19-16 overtime victory against Green Bay last Sunday, improving to 5-0 at home for the first time since 2003. The win pushed its NFL-best winning streak to 11 games - a stretch that matches the franchise-record run from Oct. 17, 1993-Jan. 2, 1994, when the team was the Houston Oilers.

As well as besting that mark, a win over Chicago (5-3) on Sunday would make the Titans 4-0 on the road for the first time in the organization’s 49-year existence. The last time it started 3-0 on the road was 1975.

“We realize each and every week from here on out, we’re going to get each team’s best shot,” linebacker David Thornton said. “Clearly, the Packers gave us a big punch. We felt it, but we survived it and we realize the Bears are going to do the same thing.”

Tennessee - the league’s only unbeaten team - will play five of its final eight games away from home, but coach Jeff Fisher, in his 14th full season at the helm, is confident in his club.

“They understand how to play on the road and how to take a professional approach,” said Fisher, whose team has matched a franchise record with five straight road victories, achieved three times.

In this year’s three wins, the Titans have outscored opponents 71-27 - with no team scoring more than 10 points in a game - and held those clubs to an average of 266.7 yards.

Chicago, however, has been tough to beat at Soldier Field, winning its last three games there since a loss to Tampa Bay in Week 3. The Bears look to take four straight at home for the first time since reeling off 10 in a row from Oct. 16, 2005-Oct. 29, 2006.

Orton has been a big reason for that success, completing 60.5 percent (69-for-114) of his passes for 858 yards and seven touchdowns in the team’s four home games. He might not play this weekend, though, as he left last Sunday’s 27-23 win over visiting Detroit with a sprained right ankle and is listed as doubtful.

Losing Orton for an extended period could be a big blow to a team that has won four of its last five games.

Orton has thrown for 1,777 yards and a career-best 10 TDs overall, and went 8-for-14 for 108 yards Sunday before getting injured. He was replaced by former starter Rex Grossman, who finished 9-of-19 for 58 yards, threw for a touchdown and had the winning score on a 1-yard sneak with 5:36 left.

“At this point, I’m going to hold out hope that he’s not going to miss much time because he was playing at an elite level, and hopefully, we can get him back as soon as possible,” tight end Desmond Clark said.

Grossman led the Bears to the Super Bowl in 2006, throwing for career highs in yards (3,193) and touchdowns (23). Should Orton miss this game, Grossman will direct an offense that’s averaging 344.0 yards and 27.9 points.

Regardless of who plays quarterback, the Bears might have trouble matching those numbers against a dominant Tennessee defense that has surrendered a league-low 103 points. The Titans, though, gave up a season-high 390 yards to Green Bay last weekend.

Tennessee overcame that by amassing 347 yards of offense, led by running backs Chris Johnson and LenDale White. Johnson had 24 carries for 89 yards and a touchdown and made six catches for 72 yards, while White rushed eight times for 77 yards.

The duo leads a ground attack that is third-best in the NFL at 149.1 yards per game. Chicago, though, has been stellar against the run, holding opponents to 81.8 yards per contest.

“They’re getting turnovers, they’re pressuring the passer, they’re stopping the run,” said Fisher, a seventh-round draft pick of the Bears in 1981 who played for the 1985 Super Bowl-winning squad.

Tennessee is 4-5 all-time versus Chicago, falling in each of the last three matchups. The teams haven’t played since the Titans lost 19-17 at home on Nov. 14, 2004.

The Titans have split four games in Chicago, most recently losing 35-32 on Oct. 22, 1995.

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