Tennessee Titans: Predicting the Rest of the Season
We're a fourth of the way into the season, and the Titans are 3-1. It'd be a good start if it didn't also come with the loss of the best wide receiver on the field for the rest of the season.
The rest of the Titans offensive unit will have to step up if they want to continue to win games, and the defense will have to play better as well.
With Chris Johnson still underperforming and Kenny Britt out for the year, the rest of the season doesn't look Super Bowl bright, but it's certainly far from dark. Matt Hasselbeck continues to play very well, and the Titans defense has really done a 180 from last season.
Here's what the rest of the season looks like:
Week 5 at Pittsburgh Steelers
For the fourth year in a row, the Titans meet up with the Steelers. This year, though, the Steelers are suddenly not that intimidating.
Their defense looks old and slow, the offensive line is still performing poorly and both Ben Roethlisberger and James Harrison are injured. Harrison is definitely out for the Titans game with a facial fracture, but Big Ben will probably still play, even with his foot injury.
The Titans seem to have the edge, but the Steelers have lost to two good teams and beaten two bad teams. In the end, we still don't know a lot about them.
Prediction: Titans 20, Steelers 13
Week 7 vs. Houston Texans
The Texans have been hyped up for the last five years, but so far this season, they seem to actually be delivering.
With the Colts still winless and the Jaguars looking almost as bad, this game will pick the favorite to win the AFC South.
This will be a close game, but I think the Texans will finally win the division this year. Having Arian Foster back at 100 percent will help.
Prediction: Titans 23, Texans 28
Week 8 vs. Indianapolis Colts
Th Colts are even worse off on injuries than the Titans are right now. Peyton Manning is out for the season, and his backup, Kerry Collins, is out of commission for the time being as well.
Luckily, Curtis Painter didn't play badly in his one start against the Buccaneers, but the Colts are still without a win.
It is more obvious than ever before that the Indianapolis Colts are Peyton Manning. Without him, they'll only get one or two wins this year. This won't be one of them.
As poorly as their run defense has been, Chris Johnson might even get a touchdown in this game.
Prediction: Titans 30, Colts 13
Week 9 vs. Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals look much better than last year, and it's all about Andy Dalton and AJ Green. Dalton is the biggest factor, since he's been a very different player at different points this season.
If the Bengals can get some consistency out of him, they'll have a definite franchise quarterback on their hands (and his hair even matches the uniforms).
This could be a trap game for the Titans. It'll be at home, but the Titans will be coming off (probably) a big win against their most bitter division rival and the Bengals might surprise them.
Still, I think that, since the Titans have the home field advantage here, they'll manage to scrape by with a win.
Prediction: Titans 33, Bengals 30
Week 10 at Carolina Panthers
Cam Newton is playing out of his mind. I was always sold on Newton as an NFL quarterback, but I was never this sold.
Newton is still figuring out some parts of his game, but 10 weeks into the season, I see him being even more dangerous.
Despite the lackluster play of the rest of the Panthers, I think Cam Newton and Steve Smith might turn it up an extra notch for this game and find a way to win. The Titans will see their second upset of the season here.
Prediction: Titans 24, Panthers 28
Week 11 at Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta was a hot team coming into the season, but so far, they haven't delivered. They managed to eke out a win against a Vickless Philadelphia and Seattle Seahawks. Not the best resume.
Still, he's taking too many deep shots to Julio Jones, and that's something you shouldn't do against the Titans' No. 1 scoring defense. I expect either Alterraun Verner or Jason McCourty to get another interception in this game (Cortland Finnegan will be too busy shutting down Roddy White to get interceptions).
Atlanta gave up too much for Julio Jones, and it's starting to catch up with them already.
Prediction: Titans 31, Falcons 21
Week 12 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I'm going to go ahead and call this one a loss.
Josh Freeman is not looking as good as he was last year, but I still find myself impressed by what he can do on offense. There's also the fact that LeGarrette Blount was unwisely cut from the Titans before signing with Tampa Bay.
That's a big one that the Titans wish they could take back, and you can bet that Blount will be more than happy to remind the Titans front office of their mistake. He'll make this game personal.
The third NFC South team that the Titans play this year—all in a row too—will find a way to pick up a road win. At least the Titans will keep it close.
Prediction: Titans 17, Buccaneers 27
Week 13 at Buffalo Bills
Funny, three weeks ago, most people probably would have thought this was considered an easy win. Not so anymore.
Despite dropping off against the Bengals last week, the Bills are still the team to beat in the AFC East. That's right, you heard me. It's them, not the Patriots.
On a side note, one of their three wins was against the Patriots. Both the Raiders and the Patriots came out and got the lead against Buffalo, only for the Bills to come back big in the fourth quarter for the win.
I'm impressed with what Buffalo is doing, and since they have the home field advantage, they'll come back yet again from the brink and grab a win.
Prediction: Titans 34, Bills 37
Week 14 vs. New Orleans Saints
The Saints have looked very good so far, winning games against very good Bears and Texans squads and barely losing to the defending Super Bowl champion Packers.
Since then, they've beaten up on the Texans, the Jaguars and the Bears.
Drew Brees is looking as good as ever and their injuries at receiver have, so far, left them unaffected. Both Brees and Hasselbeck have done a very good job of spreading the ball around to their other receivers, but Hasselbeck is simply not Drew Brees.
The Titans have home field advantage, and that's the only reason they'll keep it close. Saints win.
Prediction: Titans 28, Saints 35
Week 15 at Indianapolis Colts
As of right now, this game ought to be the same as the one before minus the Titans' home field advantage.
However, depending upon how the season goes for the Colts and what Peyton Manning's outlook for the rest of his career is, the Colts may be in the "Suck for Luck" sweepstakes by this point. If they are, it'll make for an easy win.
If not, this may be a game that could decide for the Titans, whether or not they make the playoffs. I expect a win one way or another.
The Titans will be coming off a series of very difficult games and will need to win out the season to make the playoffs. They won't let the Colts get away.
Prediction: Titans 38, Colts 24
Week 16 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Titans dropped the ball in Week 1 against the Jags, but they've looked better since then, and the Jags have looked worse.
It won't hurt that Tennessee will have the home field advantage this time around.
This time around, they'll also be playing their first game against Blaine Gabbert's Jags, so this game will sew the seeds for what should be a great rivalry between Gabbert and Jake Locker.
Tennessee won't let the Jaguars win again; the first game against Jacksonville was a fluke and it's a fluke the Titans can't afford to let happen again.
Prediction: Titans 33, Jaguars 16
Week 17 at Houston Texans
You couldn't ask for a better end to the season. If things go well for the Titans and bad for the Texans, the two teams could find themselves both needing this win. The Titans will need it for the Wild Card spot and the Texans will need it to snag a bye in the playoffs.
Obviously, the Texans are still favored to win the AFC South, but with six or eight winnable games left on the schedule, the Titans and Texans are both contenders for the AFC South crown. However, I do think the Texans will end up winning the division.
If my predictions are correct, then the Titans will be 9-6 when they face the Texans for the second time. Usually, 10-6 means playoffs, especially since three of those six losses came from NFC teams.
Unfortunately for the Titans, this game will be away, but I still think that, given the Texans' history of choking, that Tennessee comes away with the win to finish the year 10-6 and reach the playoffs in Mike Munchak's first year.
Prediction: Titans 31, Texans 30