The Tennessee Titans haven’t made the playoffs since 2008, but this appears to be a franchise on the rise and could be a force to be reckoned with in the 2017 season. Here are my projections for the Titans’ game results.
Remember how many experts were on the Oakland Raiders’ bandwagon to be the breakout team in the AFC last season? They were right as the Raiders finished 12-4, their first winning mark since 2002. You could sort of see that coming from Oakland because it had an exciting young quarterback in Derek Carr and had improved from 3-13 in 2014 to 7-9 in 2015.
I believe the Titans will be the Raiders of 2017 in the AFC. They have an exciting young quarterback in Marcus Mariota and improved from 3-13 in 2015 to 9-7 last year. That was good for a tie for first in the AFC South with Houston, but the Texans won the tiebreaker to claim the division title. Had Mariota not broken his leg in a Week 16 loss to Jacksonville, perhaps the Titans would have won the division.
I love what this team did in the draft. One glaring weakness was at receiver, and the Titans grabbed Western Michigan’s Corey Davis with the No. 5 overall pick; he was one of the greatest Division I receivers ever. Forget about the lack of competition in the MAC. The Titans also spent the No. 72 pick on a receiver, Western Kentucky’s Taywan Taylor. But don’t be fooled: This will still be a smash-mouth, run-first team behind DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry.
The team also took another big-time playmaker at No. 18 overall in Southern Cal cornerback Adoree’ Jackson. While he might need some work as a cover guy, Jackson is a fabulous return man and you could see him take some snaps on offense as he caught 39 passes in three seasons and turned six of those catches into touchdowns. Think Devin Hester but with the ability to play defensive back.
Tennessee is +225 to win the South and it is my pick as thing stand for now.
Titans 2017 Win Total At SBR’s Top Sportsbooks: 9
Capper’s Projected Record: 10-6 (AFC South champion)
Titans Regular-Season Schedule (All times Eastern)
Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 10, Oakland, 1 p.m.
Perhaps fitting these two open the season against one another after what I wrote above. The Raiders might be the best team on Tennessee’s entire schedule. Oakland beat the Titans 17-10 early last season. The Raiders are -2 on NFL odds, but I like the upset. WIN
Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 17, at Jacksonville, 1 p.m.
These teams split their season series every year with the home team winning. It will be hot and humid here, which will benefit the Jags, who ended Mariota’s 2016 season. LOSS
Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 24, Seattle, 4:05 p.m.
The Titans surely would have preferred this game start at 1 p.m. ET as Pacific Time Zone teams usually lose those early starts. First meeting between teams since 2013. WIN
Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 1, at Houston, 1 p.m.
Tennessee lost in Houston in Week 4 last year, 27-20. The Titans were driving late for a potential tie, but a Mariota fourth-down pass was incomplete. LOSS
Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 8, at Miami, 1 p.m.
Did the NFL simply copy/paste the Titans’ 2016 schedule? Tennessee visited Miami in Week 5 last year and won 30-17 behind three TD passes and a TD run from Mariota. LOSS
Week 6: Monday, Oct. 16, Indianapolis, 8:30 p.m.
This is the Titans' first Monday night game since 2014. They haven’t beaten the Colts in the last 11 tries. It was a 34-26 home loss in Week 7 a year ago. WIN
Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 22, at Cleveland, 1 p.m.
Holy trap game! Off a huge game vs. the Colts, on a short week and before the bye. The Browns have to win at least once at home, right? Not here. WIN
Week 8: BYE
Can’t ask for a better bye week than midseason.
Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 5, Baltimore, 1 p.m.
These franchises appear to be going in opposite directions. They haven’t met since a 21-7 Baltimore win in 2014. WIN
Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 12, Cincinnati, 1 p.m.
First meeting between these two since 2014, a 33-7 Bengals win. They aren’t as good now and the Titans much better. WIN
Week 11: Thursday, Nov. 16, at Pittsburgh, 8:25 p.m.
Interesting that the Titans play all four AFC North opponents in a row. Short turnaround game always favors the home side. LOSS
Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 26, at Indianapolis, 1 p.m.
On the bright side, the Titans have extra time to prepare for this. Alas, they simply never win in Indianapolis. LOSS
Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 3, Houston, 1 p.m.
The Titans beat the visiting Texans 24-17 in Week 17 last year without Mariota, but Houston had nothing to play for. WIN
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 10, at Arizona, 4:05 p.m.
I’m not sure what to make of 2017 Cardinals. Likely not as good as 2015 or as bad as 2016. Tough place to play, though. LOSS
Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 17, at San Francisco, 4:25 p.m.
Might Tennessee simply stay somewhere out West following the Cardinals game rather than crisscross the country for this game? WIN
Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 24, Los Angeles Rams, 1 p.m.
The Titans of course held the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 draft but traded it for a fortune to the Rams, who took Jared Goff. Titans have won that trade in a big way thus far. WIN
Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 31, Jacksonville, 1 p.m.
This might be the easiest closing three-game stretch of any team in the NFL. The Titans rolled over the visiting Jags 36-22 last year. WINBet On NFL Futures At SBR's Top Sportsbooks