NFL Preview- Tennessee Titans
Moving further down the AFC South, we head to Tennessee. The Titans are still in rebuilding mode with a new head coach in Ken Whisenhunt and still waiting for a full season from Jake Locker at quarterback-- and to prove he is the answer for the Titans. Tennessee also released Chris Johnson-- a 1,000-yard rusher for six consecutive years-- in the offseason and need to replace him.
The hope at QB is that Locker is able to finally stay healthy for a full season and solidify himself as the answer for the Titans at the position. If Locker does get hurt-- which is a likelihood given his track record-- Tennessee can no longer rely on former starters like Matt Hasselback or Ryan Fitzpatrick to step in to carry the offense. Instead they have nine-year veteran Charlie Whitehurst and rookie Zach Mettenberger as next in line.
Nate Washington and Kendall Wright return as the top options at wide receiver, but the Titans are hoping Justin Hunter can step up entering his third year. Delanie Walker is entrenched as the top option at tight end.
Tennessee can no longer rely on Chris Johnson to carry the ball for another 1,000 yards; he will now be doing that for the New York Jets. They do return Shonn Greene and add Dexter McCluster in free agency to try replacing Johnson's breakaway ability. The true hop for the Titans is that rookie Bishop Sankey becomes the man and helps fans forget Johnson all together.
Shaun Phillips and Kamerion Wimbley join Tennessee to help make the defense among the top defenses in the NFL. They also have Lavar Edwards in hopes of helping the pass rush and solidify the line.
Let's see what their 2014 season will look like:
Week 1- Open season up in Kansas City and a very tough Chiefs' defense. Things get off to a rough start for the Titans. They lose and start 0-1.
Week 2- The Titans open up at home against the Dallas Cowboys. The defense against the Tony Romo-led offensive attack. They stay winless at 0-2.
Week 3- Tennessee heads to Cincinnati and another killer defense-- but also an exciting offense. Titans lose again, now 0-3.
Week 4- They now head to Indianapolis. The Colts attack led by Andrew Luck puts on a show to keep the Titans winless at 0-4.
Week 5- Back at home against Cleveland. Could most likely be facing rookie Johnny Manziel going through some growing pains. Titans get first win to get to 1-4.
Week 6- They stay home for the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars-- another rebuilding franchise. Tennessee win their second in a row to improve to 2-4.
Week 7- The Titans head to Washington to take on the Redskins. While it stays close, Robert Griffin III makes the plays to win the game late. Titans fall to 2-5.
Week 8- They then host rebuilding Houston and take advantage of being a little further along in their progress. Titans win and are now 3-5.
Week 9- Much needed week off.
Week 10- Tennessee comes back from their bye and head to Baltimore. The Ravens prove to be a bit stronger and win. Titans now 3-6.
Week 11- Titans host Pittsburgh and are able to hold the Steelers down for second-straight year. Tennessee squeeze one out and improve to 4-6.
Week 12- They head to Philadelphia and struggle to keep up with Chip Kelly high-octane offense. They lose big and drop to 4-7.
Week 13- Head to Houston for the return engagement. Texans show they have improve and pull out the win. Tennessee drop to 4-8.
Week 14- The Titans host the New York Giants. Giants will be struggling quite a bit to find consistencies. Locker and company take advantage and get the big win. They improve to 5-8.
Week 15- Remain at for the other New York team in the Jets. They struggle against a top notch defense. They fall to 5-9.
Week 16- Head to Jacksonville and earn the sweep. They improve to 6-9.
Week 17- Tennessee closes their season at home. Indy will pull off the victory while for fighting for post-season bye. Colts win and the Titans finish up 6-10.
The Titans seem to have the ability to get anywhere from 8-8 to finishing up 5-11. The offense will be able to mostly compete against this schedule, but the defense will find new ways to struggle.