Preseason football is closing in on us.
It’s exciting, and nerve-racking all at the same time. The season is about to begin which, is amazing, but then there are all the expectations that come along with a new season of football.
In 2019, BetOnline has the Titans with an OVER/UNDER of 8.5 wins on the season. This falls right in line with the three back-to-back 9-7 seasons that Tennessee have had. Still, even with the winning seasons, our team has only made the playoffs once in the last three years. Hence the above statement about expectations.
If we look at the early point spreads, we find that the Vrabel’s crew is the underdog in eight of the games on the schedule, not including Week 17 against the Texans. The Titans are only favored in four games, which shows the tough schedule that we have to play throughout this campaign. Those games are against Buffalo (-5) in Week 5, Tampa Bay (-5.5) in Week 8, Jacksonville (-3) in Week 12, and Houston (-1) in Week 15. The rest of the games are pick ‘ems.
With concerns surrounding Mariota’s durability, the Titans have some tough decisions to make in the near future. Many, blame Mariota, not me. The Titans drafted one of the best quick-decision-making, run and gun QBs college football has seen, and for the first couple of seasons, they let him loose. Then in 2017 play calling got more than conservative. It got downright boring. It’s like they suddenly didn’t trust their guy to put the ball downfield. Making one of the most fleet-footed QBs the NFL has seen, hang in the pocket looking for short-passes while standing behind a not-so-great offensive line. What was the result? Injury after injury as Marcus has been smashed behind the line of scrimmage too many times in the last two years.
Now we have the second year of Vrabel to look forward to, and this is typically when a franchizes start to see some real, measurable results from a new head coach. We should see the Titans’ defense even better this year. The secondary is very good; the one weak position surprisingly enough is perhaps the OLB. They don’t have a No. 1 pass rusher coming from the OLB position.
Offensively, Mariota will show up to play. It’s the final year of his rookie contract we just hope that Arthur Smith has learned from the previous OCs’ mistakes and gives Mariota a little more to work with. He talked previously about wanting to play fast and aggressive football. Now he has a few more pieces to use in AJ Brown and Adam Humphries. All in all, this Titans team has more offensive talent than Marcus Mariota has had at his disposal in any of his previous years, so if he stays, healthy –come on Rodger Saffold and the Oline, give us a hand here– he has a great opportunity to lead the Titans to the playoffs.
I would call for a sure-fire 10-win season, but it is a tough schedule so we could see just nine again. That said, we could see 11. Either way, even at 9 wins the Titans get a wildcard berth out of the AFC South.