The Tennessee Titans hit rock bottom in 2014, going just 2-14. Their worst finish to a season, since they posted the same record back in 1994. Outside of a surprising Week 1 win on the road against the Kansas City Chiefs, this team was awful. Their only other victory came at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars by a final of 16-14.

Of their 14 losses, 9 came by 2 or more touchdowns, a clear sign that this team has a ways to go before being taken seriously. The lone bright spot of last year’s dismal showing, is the Titans were so bad that they earned the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft, allowing them to select Oregon’s Marcus Mariota.

Tennessee is counting on Mariota to develop into a franchise quarterback, but the expectations are limited as a rookie. The primary focus of 2015, which will be their 2nd year under head coach Ken Whisenhunt, is to show a positive step in the right direction.

Last Season
AFC South
ATS Record
Home ATS
Road ATS
Offense Rank
Defense Rank
Turnover Margin
Points For
Points Against
2015 Roster Changes
Draft Picks
Marcus Mariota (QB), Dorial Green-Beckham (WR), Jeremiah Poutasi (OG), Angelo Blackson (DT), Jalston Fowler (FB), David Cobb (RB), Deiontrez Mount (OLB), Andy Gallik (C), Tre McBride (WR)
Brian Orakpo (OLB), Da’Norris Searcy (SS), Hakeem Nicks (WR), Perrish Cox (CB), Harry Douglas (WR), Byron Bell (OT), Anthony Fasano (TE),
 Michael Oher (OT), Nate Washington (WR), Brandon Ghee (SS), Jake Locker (QB), Colin McCarthy (MLB), Bernard Pollard (SS), Leon Washington (RB), Beau Brinkley (LS), Derek Hagan (WR), Brandon Harris (DB), Brett Kern (P)
2015 Schedule & Odds
Week Opponent Spread Win Chance
1 @ Buccaneers +3 0.41
2 @ Browns +4.5 0.33
3 Colts +5 0.32
5 Bills +3 0.41
6 Dolphins +3 0.41
7 Falcons +1 0.49
8 @ Texans +7 0.25
9 @ Saints +7 0.25
10 Panthers +2.5 0.45
11 @ Jaguars +1.5 0.47
12 Raiders -2 0.53
13 Jaguars -3 0.59
14 @ Jets +4 0.34
15 @ Patriots +10.5 0.14
16 Texans +2.5 0.45
17 @ Colts +9.5 0.18
Estimated Wins: 6.02
Roster Breakdown

A lack of stability at the quarterback position almost always ends badly and that was the case for the Titans in 2014. Tennessee used 3 different signal callers and would up ranking 29th in total offense (303.7 ypg) and 30th in scoring (15.9 ppg).

Some are going to expect a complete 180 turnaround now that they have the 2014 Heisman winner under center, but the reality is that it’s likely going to take a year for Mariota to adjust to the NFL game. The offense he will be running in Tennessee is a big change from the up-tempo attack he guided at Oregon.

My biggest concern for Mariota’s rookie campaign, is that he will be working behind a below-average offensive line and has no running game to take the pressure off him.

Tennessee will be moving last year’s 1st round pick in Taylor Lewan to left tackle to replace the departed Michael Oher. Lewan showed promise as a rookie, but could struggle on the blind-side playing next to left guard Andy Levitre and center Brian Schwenke, two guys who don’t deserve to start after how poorly they played in 2014. They do have a solid option at right guard with former 1st round pick Chance Warmack, but there’s questions at right tackle, where free agent Byron Bell and 3rd round rookie Jeremiah Poutasi will be competing for a starting spot.

As for the running game, the Titans had hoped this would be a strength after using a 2nd round pick last year on Washington’s Bishop Sankey. That’s not the case, as Sankey was a major disappointment as a rookie, rushing for just 569 yards and 2 touchdowns. If Sankey gets off to a slow start in 2014, don’t be surprised if 5th round rookie David Cobb doesn’t take over the primary role. Either way, the running game figures to be a weakness again.

The one positive for Mariota, is that he does appear to have a decent stable of weapons on the outside to work with. The Titans took a gamble in the 2nd round and selected wide out Dorial Green-Beckham, who would have been an early 1st round selection had it not been for off-field problems. If Green-Beckham can stay out of trouble and focused on his work on the field, he could emerge as the No. 1 option right away.

Tennessee also returns wide outs Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter, as well as talented tight end Delanie Walker, plus they brought in veteran receivers Harry Douglas and Hakeem Nicks, along with veteran tight end Anthony Fasono. The only question is whether the offensive line will give Mariota enough time to get his weapons the ball.

It wasn’t just the offense to blame for last year’s struggles, Tennessee’s defense was just as bad. The Titans, who were expected to struggle transitioning from a 4-3 to a 3-4, ended the season ranked 27th in total defense (373.0 ypg) and T-29th in scoring defense (27.4 ppg). There is some hope for the stop unit in 2015, as Whisenhunt was able to bring in Dick LeBeau as a special defensive assistant alongside defensive coordinator Ray Horton.

Tennessee was especially bad at stopping the run, as the 137.2 ypg they gave up on the ground, ranked 30th in the league. Interestingly enough, the Titans didn’t do a whole lot to address either their defensive line or two inside linebackers. The front remained intact and there’s not a lot to get excited about outside of star defensive end Jurrell Casey. Same thing at inside linebacker, where Avery Williamson and either Zach Brown or Wesley Woodward will start.

On the bright side, there were some upgrades made to both the pass rush and secondary. Tennessee’s went out and signed Brian Orakpo to team up with Derrick Morgan at outside linebacker. Orakpo has the potential to make a big impact, but he must stay on the field, as he’s missed a ridiculous 24 games over the last 3 seasons.

The secondary received a couple of upgrades. The Titans landed corner Perrish Cox to replace Blidi Wreh-Wilson opposite of Jason McCourty, while also signing free agent safety Da’Norris Searcy to replace George Wilson alongside veteran safety Michael Griffin.

Future Odds
Regular Season Win Total
to Win the AFC
to Win Super Bowl L
115 to 1
315 to 1
Odds Courtesty of 5Dimes

While there’s reason to be optimistic that the Titans will be a much better team than the one that won 2 games last year, Tennessee still looks to be very much in rebuilding mode. Getting Mariota is a good start to getting this franchise turned around, but I just don’t think they are strong enough on the offensive or defensive lines to show significant improvement. Even with a strong offensive line, Mariota figured to struggle in his rookie season.

I know the Titans play in a weak division and benefit from a cross-conference matchup with the NFC South, but in my opinion this team is still a year or two away from being a serious contender. In fact, I have Tennessee going just 4-12 and finishing last in the AFC South. I could certainly be wrong, but I think Mariota is giving fans some false hope in 2015. My recommendation is to take the UNDER 5 for the Titans win total.

AFC South Finish
Division Record
Overall Record
Win Total Prediction
Titans 10-Year Recap
Year W L Playoffs Coach Win Total
2014 2 14 Whisenhunt 7
2013 7 9 Munchak 6.5
2012 6 10 Munchak 7
2011 9 7 Munchak 6.5
2010 6 10 Fisher 8
2009 8 8 Fisher 9
2008 13 3 Lost Div Fisher 8
2007 10 6 Lost WC Fisher 7
2006 8 8 Fisher 5.5
2005 4 12 Fisher 6.5

Jordan Churchill

Jordan Churchill

OVER 5 Wins – I’m taking the over but not by much. The Titans plummeted last season, but this is a young squad with some underrated talent. A real answer at quarterback in Mariota will give the ability to grab a record close to .500. A resurgent defense under LeBeau could add to that record.

Terry Lambert

Terry Lambert

OVER 5 Wins – As of right now I see eight winnable games for Tennessee. They’ll get Jacksonville twice, Houston twice, Oakland and Atlanta at home. The Titans will get an easy start, traveling to Tampa Bay and Cleveland in weeks one and two.

The addition of Marcus Mariota should provide them with a big enough upgrade to push for six to seven wins. Upgrades in the secondary and pass rush along with the mind of Dick LeBeau should help out defensively.

Matias Wodner

Matias Wodner

OVER 5 Wins – Predicting wins is always hit or miss as any given week can produce a surprising result. Given the Titans’ 5 game win total bet, in order to surpass it they must win 3 more games than they did last year. When looking at how that can be done, I focus on improvements to important positions on both offense and defense. Those positions are quarterback and pass rusher, with the improvements coming in the form of Marcus Mariota and Brian Orakpo. Last year’s team was crippled by poor quarterback play and a non-existent pass rush. It seems crazy to think that two players can swing more than 3 games in their favor. But given how essential those two positions are for a team’s success, along with other small yet needed additions, I believe the Titans will be better than expected. I would take the over, with 6 wins being a fair prediction.

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