titans predictions

The Tennessee Titans finished up the 2013 campaign with a 7-9 record. It was good enough to finish 2nd in the AFC South, which isn’t saying much. It’s now been five years since Tennessee last played a postseason game.

The fact that the Titans were able to win 7 games last year was pretty impressive, especially with starting quarterback Jake Locker only playing in 7. Regardless, the losing was enough to call for a change at the top. Mike Munchak was replaced with for Arizona Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt, who spent last year as the offensive coordinator in San Diego.

Another important thing to note about last season is that the Titans were extremely competitive. Of their 9 losses, only two came by double-digits, and that was against the Broncos and 49ers. Some of their notable close defeats came against some quality teams in the Chiefs, Seahawks, Colts (2x) and Cardinals. Let’s take a closer look at what Tennessee will send to the field in 2014 and I’ll give my thoughts on whether or not the Titans are a potential sleeper in the AFC.

Last Season
AFC South
ATS Record
Home ATS
Road ATS
Offense Rank
Defense Rank
Turnover Margin
Points For
Points Against
2014 Roster Changes
Draft Picks
OT Taylor Lewan, RB Bishop Sankey, NT DaQuan Jones, S/CB Marqueston Huff, ILB Avery Williamson, QB Zach Mettenberger
QB Charlie Whitehurst, WR/KR Dexter McCluster, OT Michael Oher, G/C Eric Olsen, NT Al Woods, DE/OLB Shaun Phillips, ILB Wesley Woodyard
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, RB Chris Johnson, WR Kenny Britt, WR Damian Williams, OT David Stewart, CB Alterraun Verner, K Rob Bironas
2014 Preview
2014 Tennessee Titans Schedule
Date Opponent
Spread (Est.)
Win Chance
9/7 @ Chiefs
9/14 Cowboys
9/21 @ Bengals
9/28 @ Colts
10/5 Browns
10/12 Jaguars
10/19 @ Redskins
10/26 Texans
Week 9 BYE
11/9 @ Ravens
11/17 Steelers
11/23 @ Eagles
11/30 @ Texans
12/7 Giants
12/14 Jets
12/18 @ Jaguars
12/28 Colts
Estimated Wins: 7.18

The Titans appear to be committed to 4th year quarterback Jake Locker, despite the fact that he’s played in just 14 games over the last 2 seasons. Tennessee let backup Ryan Fitzpatrick go and waited until the 6th round to take a prospect in LSU’s Zach Mettenberger. This could end up being a costly mistake if Locker gets hurt, but it could also work out just fine. Whisenhunt has a strong history with getting the most out of his quarterbacks, just look at what he did with Philip Rivers in San Diego last year. It’s now or never for Locker to live up to the hype.

Tennessee let a couple of big names leave town in running back Chris Johnson and wide out Kenny Britt, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Johnson hurt them more than helped them in the running game and Britt wasn’t a fun guy to have around in the lockerroom. The Titans believe they have a talented group of young players ready to emerge. Third-year wide out Kendall Wright did just that last year with 94 catches for 1,079 yards. Tennessee is hoping to see a similar sophomore jump in production from wide out Justin Hunter. They also have big hopes for rookie running back Bishop Sankey. On top of that they return veteran wide out Nate Washington and tight end Delani Walker, plus they brought in Dexter McCluster from Kansas City.

While there’s some question marks at the skill positions, there’s not much concern about the offensive line producing at a high level. The Titans are set on the left side with Michael Roos at tackle and Andy Levitre at guard. They return starting center Brian Schwenke and right guard Chance Warmak, who both started as rookies and should see a big improvement in year two. As for right tackle, they added in veteran Michael Oher in free agency and used their first round pick on Michigan’s Taylor Lewan.

Unfortunately for the Titans, I’m not as optimistic about the defense in 2014. Tennessee will be making the switch from a 4-3 to 3-4, which is never an easy thing to do. A number of players on the roster don’t appear to be ideal fits for the new scheme, including star defensive tackle Jurrell Casey, who led the team with 10.5 sacks. Casey will go from being an interior pass rusher to someone who is suppose to eat up blocks as a 3-4 defensive end. Tennessee also doesn’t have a legit nose tackle and will likely end rotating several players at the spot.

There’s also concern on whether or not 4-3 defensive end Derrick Morgan can translate into a productive 3-4 outside linebacker. They did add in veteran Shaun Phillips to help with the pass rush, but he can’t be counted on for big numbers at his age. They also have veteran Kamerion Wimbely, but he’s another player past his prime.

Without a reliable pass rush, the Titans secondary could be in trouble. Tennessee already has to overcome the loss of their top corner in Alterraun Verner. They are counting on Coty Sensabaugh or Blidi Wreh-Wilson to step into the starting spot opposite dependable veteran Jason McCourty. The Titans do have a couple of reliable safeties in Michael Griffin and Bernard Pollard, which is a big plus with the transition the front seven are going through.

Regular Season Win Total
to Win the AFC
to Win Super Bowl XLVIX
50 to 1
200 to 1
Odds Courtesty of Bovada

The schedule for Tennessee appears to be easier than it was a year ago. They go from having to play all four teams out of the AFC West and NFC West, to taking on the NFC East and AFC North. A lot of solid teams, but no where close in terms of elite teams. They do draw cross-division games against the Jets and Chiefs, who are both playoff contenders, but they also play in arguably the weakest division in the NFL.

The Titans have the potential to be that team that surprises everyone to make the playoffs. If Whisenhunt can work the same magic with Locker as he did with Rivers last year, Tennessee’s offense could see major improvements on the 22.9 ppg they average a year ago. The big concern for me and what has me betting against a breakout year from the Titans, is their defense. Some teams can switch schemes without a problem, I just don’t think that’s going to be the case here.

I believe the schedule will allow the Titans to flirt with a .500 record again in 2014, but in the end I think this team is poised for another 7-9 finish. With that said, there’s also the potential for this team to collapse and struggle to win 4-5 games if Locker doesn’t produce at a high level or suffers a major injury. Best bet is to be cautious with the Titans on the spread until we get a better idea of what this team will look like.

AFC South Finish
Division Record
Overall Record
Win Total Prediction
Titans Resources
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