If there is a battle for the least exciting and mediocre franchise in pro sports then you’d have to put the Titans at around -150 favorites. It’s pretty much down to them and the Memphis Grizzlies for this esteemed honor.
The Titans have gone 9-7 the past three seasons and didn’t have a single player on the NFL all pro team for 2018 and not even one player on the all pro second team.
I’m a fan of Head Coach Mike Vrabel and I think there is some reason for optimism for the offense provided they try and break out of their shell and sex up their play calling.
Hot Take = Nashville is a fun and awesome city but this is a boring and pretty average team!
Super Bowl Odds: +5000
Odds to Win the AFC: +280
Odds to Win the AFC South: +450
Season Win Total: 8.5
(Lines Weeks 2-16 from CG Technology as of May 16, 2019)
Week / Opponent / Line / Expected Wins
1 @ Cleveland +5.5 (.31)
2 Indianapolis PK (.50)
3 @ Jacksonville +3 (.41) TNF
4 @Atlanta +4 (.34)
5 Buffalo -5 (.68)
6 @ Denver +2.5 (.45)
7 LA Chargers PK (.50)
8 Tampa Bay -5.5 (.69)
9 @Carolina +3 (.41)
10 Kansas City +3.5 (.36)
12 Jacksonville -3 (.59)
13 @Indianapolis +7 (.25)
14 @Oakland PK (.50)
15 Houston -1 (.51)
16 New Orleans +3 (.41)
17 @Houston +2 (estimate) (.46)
Total Expected Wins: 7.37
And what a crazy offseason it was for the Titans. Kidding, of course it wasn’t! They grabbed some help up front with Cameron Wake and they grabbed slot received Adam Humphries from Tampa who should be a good addition over the middle and another much needed option for Mariota. Surprised Belichick didn’t grab him. Oh wait, he’s paid $36m over 4yrs with $19m guaranteed – that’s why he’s not in NE.
Local reports indicate re-signing left guard Rodger Saffold and safety Kenny Vaccaro were their top moves but I think the potentially more impactful move is that they have a new OC.
Matt LaFleur somehow earned his way to a head coaching gig in Green Bay and the former tight ends coach, Arthur Smith, will be the new OC. He’s been there 8 years and knows the system and the players so there’s potential for some improvement, we’ll just have to see what he implements.
This was a strange draft for the Titans as they received a broad range of grades varying from excellent to below average. As per the norm with this organization, it was a draft without much fanfare and national debate. Their top pick at #19 overall is an absolute beast. Defensive lineman Jeffrey Simmons will likely be a stud for years, BUT he won’t be dominating in 2019 as he’s coming off a fresh ACL tear and will miss some time.
Their second round pick, AJ Brown, is getting accolades as an explosive receiver and one that should’ve gone earlier in the draft so that’s a much needed positive to this offense. There’s potential here for Brown to skip ahead Tajae Sharp and take over the #3 spot. The real benefits of this draft likely won’t be seen until the 2020 season once Simmons is back healthy and AJ Brown has a year under his belt with Mariota and the new OC.
From an efficiency standpoint, this offense comes in at 22nd overall in DVOA from Football Outsiders and ranks for the most part in the 25th range for both yards per game and points per game. The only metric they are above average in comes from their run game. They’ll have Derrick Henry returning along with change of pace back Dion Lewis. Outside of those two, there is a lack of depth and options.
Their success will be dependent on their QB Marcus Mariota who I suppose you can say has underperformed the last couple of years. He’s shown flashes of brilliance and I know he’s been hit by injuries but if this team is to exceed then he’ll need to become top tier QB. As a precaution, they did a smart thing and brought in FA Ryan Tannehill to be the back-up in case of injury or poor play.
WR Corey Davis is their top offensive threat but only managed two 100yd games last year. With the return of a healthy Delanie Walker, the new receivers and a new OC, we may see some more points in 2019.
Here lies the strength of this team, but it does so without fanfare and without much attention. There are no big names and nothing in particular they are great at, statistically speaking. They’re 8th in yards allowed per game and actually 3rd in points allowed at just under 19. I had to double check that too. Bringing them back to reality slightly is their weighted DVOA ranking from football outsiders which has them at 19th.
Wesley Woodyard leads the team in tackles and is their mainstay linebacker while DT Jurrell Casey is their pro-bowler and sack leader.
They are middle of the road in sacks, interceptions and forced fumbles, just as you may have guessed. I’m yawning as I’m writing this.
Notes & Nuggets
The Titans have one of the harder strength of schedules in the league, #9 toughest looking at last year’s wins and #7 toughest looking at this years projected win totals. All the teams in the AFC South are near the top of both ranking systems.
Their final five games of the season are a challenge and will be the decider if they have a shot at the playoffs as they play in Indy and versus New Orleans and then play division rival Houston twice.
I’m a fan of head coach Mike Vrabel and I haven’t yet fully written off Mariota yet but I just can’t get to 9 wins so I’m on the UNDER 8.5. There’s been some early money already on the under so some lines have moved to 8 which I’d probably pass on. (Depending on the odds) In my eyes, this is probably an 8 win team, with a higher probability of winning 7 than 9.
If you completely disagree then you’re counting of them to win 2+ of those road dog spots versus out of division teams (ATL/CAR/DEN) so perhaps just pick them to win outright in one of those matchups when you like the spot. Or if you like them at 9+ wins then maybe look at them at +250 to make the playoffs.