The Titans pulled off the move of the summer so far by acquiring Julio Jones and a sixth round pick for a future second and fourth, but does that move make them Superbowl contenders this season?
The Titans had a definite need at wide receiver and made the most of their cap space to acquire Julio Jones, who at the age of 32 will be paid $15m this season as well as just over $11m next season. It’s a considerable amount for someone of his age but the talent remains and if he stays healthy there’s no reason to feel he won’t be a vital part of their passing attack.
A Look at the Roster
It was a great acquisition and gives them one of the best 1-2 tandems on paper with Julio fitting in opposite AJ Brown who wore a Julio jersey during warm-ups in the past seasons and has tweeted since the signing how excited he is to have the privilege of working with him.
Behind those two though they are still shallow with the signing of Josh Reynolds in free agency the only other name of any real note. They’ll be hoping that Dez Fitzpatrick settles well in his rookie season and having Julio there will only help the younger talent on the roster.
They lost Jonnu Smith at tight end as well which will free up some targets. I expect Anthony Firkser to step into the Smith role with Geoff Swaim behind him but it’s a less experienced room than it was last season.
What Can We Expect Next Year?
The Titans have had a winning record for the last five seasons and won the AFC South last year with an 11-5 record before losing to the Ravens in the wild-card round last season, fortunately for Mike Vrabel who said he’d cut off an appendage if they made the Superbowl.
The loss of Arthur Smith as offensive co-ordinator could hurt them on offense as the team took big steps forward with him at the helm but you’d expect given the success that his successor will run similar schemes and the main plan is giving the ball to Derrick Henry.
It seems likely that Henry will have another 300+ carry season and with the extra game might get near his 378 carries and 2,000 yards of last season. It’s a sensible route to take as he’s practically unstoppable when he gets going and running play action off of his success seems like a no-brainer.
What Do the Bookies Think?
Once the trade was announced the Titans dropped from around +4000 to +2500 to win the Superbowl at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review) while their chances of winning the AFC seemed to improve greatly as well priced up at +1200 now from +2000 before the move was made. Probably more importantly their chance of retaining the division improved as well moving them to joint favorites with the Colts with both teams now at +110.
How Does the Schedule Look?
They have a middling strength of schedule and having two games per season against the Texans definitely helps as they’re not expected to win many games this year while the Jaguars may have a transitional year as well with Trevor Lawrence bedding into the league, so that leaves the Colts as the only challenger in division and games between the two are usually hard fought.
It wouldn’t be a shock to see the Titans and Colts split their matchups and finish with five wins in-division each
So Can They Make a Run for the Superbowl This Year?
Whenever talking about the AFC contenders it’s always tough to see anyone getting past the Chiefs, and that’s where I’m sitting here. As long as Patrick Mahomes is in the league I’ll always have the Chiefs as the #1 contender for the Superbowl.
Behind the Chiefs becomes a little tougher to call though. I think this move has put the Titans in the chasing pack with the Ravens, Browns, Bills, Colts and Chargers. For the top sportbooks, they’re still a step behind the Ravens and Browns but there’s not a lot of difference in the rest of them, I think the Bills step back after a great season last year.
Will they make a run for the Superbowl? With a little luck they should win playoff games and who knows from there, at +2500 there could be a little value, I can see them going off shorter come kick off.