Is there any team in the NFL that screams mediocrity more than the Tennessee Titans? Three straight 9-7 seasons and one playoff appearance in the last decade don’t inspire much confidence. But, did any team benefit more from the sudden retirement of Andrew Luck? That move likely knocked one team from a postseason berth and if the Titans can come up with another 9-win season or better, their +241 odds to reach the second season are enticing.
Will the Tennessee Titans Make the Playoffs in 2019?
Even with the landscape of the AFC South taking a drastic change following Luck’s decision, oddsmakers feel it’s going to be an uphill battle for the Titans to reach the postseason. Still, no team has been as consistent over the last three seasons and Tennessee was basically in a play-in game last year before falling to their nemesis Luck on the final weekend. Tennessee never beat Luck while he was playing, an additional win or two this year is just what the Titans need to sneak into the playoffs.
2019 Tennessee Titans Offense
Taking that next step requires Marcus Mariota to elevate his game. Hampered by injuries and inconsistent play, the former Heisman Trophy winner is in the final year of his rookie deal and needs to prove to management that he’s the guy. Mariota hasn’t been bad, but he just hasn’t played like the second overall pick should play.
What makes the Titans an interesting pick to reach the playoffs is their acquisition of Ryan Tannehill to back up and even challenge for the starting spot. Tannehill wore out his welcome in Miami, but he’s a proven quality starter in the NFL and is a solid option. The hope is that Tannehil can not only mentor but push Mariota.
The plodding run game is in good hands with Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis handling the chores. Henry had a breakout campaign in 2018 running for 1,059 yards and 12 touchdowns. A bulk of that production came in the final quarter of the season when he amassed 585 yards and seven scores. Lewis is the ultimate third-down back.
There is no reason why the Titans should struggle to score points, but they have under Mariota’s watch. They were 27th in the NFL last season and have finished higher than 19th just once in Mariota’s tenure. The return of Delanie Walker and Jonnu Smith will help the air attack and the Titans will take a few more shots with Corey Davis and Adam Humphries on the outside.
2019 Tennessee Titans Defense
Last year for the first time since their 13-3 division winning team in 2008, the Titans ranked among the top-10 in both points and yards allowed. It still wasn’t enough to get them to the playoffs, but it was a sign that Vrabel’s defensive background has rubbed off on his club.
Jurrell Casey is one of the best D linemen in the game and unfortunately he missed the season-ender last year that cost the Titans a chance at a second straight playoff berth. Casey was the strength in what proved to be the team’s weakness in 2018. He led the team with 7.0 sacks and the Titans managed just 39 for the year and were picked apart by some of the better passing attacks in the league.
The Titans managed to finish eighth in total defense and third in points allowed thanks to solid secondary that returns intact. Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan are solid corners and Adoree’ Jackson is ready for a breakout season. Center fielder Keivin Byard led the NFL with eight interceptions in 2017 and dropped off to four last season, but he remains one of the best ballhawks in the game.
Cameron Wake was brought in to help with the pass rush and forms a strong duo of outside rushers with Harold Landry. The line is strong and the secondary has talent, but the Titans need to get to the quarterback more consistently.
There are no glaring weaknesses on the team but improvement in certain areas is a must for the Titans to make a run. First, Mariota has to prove he’s the guy or this could be his last season in Nashville. Getting to the quarterback on the other side will also help an otherwise strong defense. The biggest thing favoring the Titans to get back to the postseason is the retirement of Luck. With the Colts all but out of the picture, Tennessee sneaks in.
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