Division: AFC South
City: Nashville, Tennessee
Stadium: Nissan Stadium
First Season: 1960 (AFL), 1970 (NFL)
Head Coach: Mike Vrabel
The Tennessee Titans have been sitting in purgatory the past few seasons, not quite bad enough to completely blow things up but not good enough to make a serious push in the AFC. Quarterback Marcus Mariota is entering his fifth season as the team’s starter and it seems like the success of this year’s team could have huge ramifications on the future trajectory. The Titans certainly have the talent but if Mariota doesn’t make the leap to star signal-caller, it will hold back this group. The Titans would love to buck the odds and make it to the postseason in 2019, and it’s not out of the question as Tennessee has shown some flashes of dominance in recent years but needs to be more consistent.
Super Bowl Odds: +8500
Odds To WIn The AFC South: +670
Regular Season Win Total: 8
The Titans have the worst odds to win the AFC South among the four teams, but it’s not completely out of the question. While it’s fair to believe the Colts, Jaguars and Texans all have better teams heading into 2019, a rise in play from Mariota could turn things on its head in a hurry. He threw for 2,528 yards with 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions a year ago, while adding 357 yards on the ground. The Titans finished 9-7 a year ago but that was on the strength of the defense as Tennessee only averaged 19.4 points per game. Mariota will need to stay healthy this year after several injury issues in the past, and he also needs to become more deadly in the passing game to raise the ceiling of the offense.
He will be buoyed by a strong running game, as Derrick Henry had 1,000 rushing yards a year ago and will get plenty of chances to punish opposing defenses in 2019. Dion Lewis is a versatile running back, but the big question is the receiving corps. Corey Davis is a former first-round pick while A.J. Brown was added in the draft, but there is no clear star in the group. Delanie Walker is getting up in age and may not have the same impact that he did in his prime. If the offense doesn’t take off with Mariota at the helm, backup quarterback Ryan Tannehill could be an option at some point during the season.
The offense needs to improve, but the defense would love to duplicate last season’s showing. Kevin Byard, Malcolm Butler and Adoree Jackson lead a stacked secondary, while Jurrell Casey is a handful for opposing defenses up front. The Titans don’t have the same star power as a team like the Jaguars in their own division, but the group was very good a season ago and will aim to wreak havoc in 2019. It won’t be easy as there are some prominent quarterbacks on the schedule, including two meetings with Andrew Luck and the Colts.
The Titans have not broken through during the Mariota era and things are reaching a boiling point in his fifth season. If Tennesee cannot get over the hump it could initiate some changes moving forward, so it’s a huge year for the stoic quarterback and the rest of the group.
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