The Tennessee Titans come into 2014 with a new Head Coach as Ken Whisenhunt will be looking to right the ship and have the Titans competing in the AFC South and to make a surprise run at the Playoffs.
The Titans went and got OL Taylor Lewan in the 1st round of the Draft this season to bolster the line along with OL Chance Warmack in last year’s draft. The Titan’s had increased production in the running game last year, and I look for a bigger increase this season with a solid offensive line. Expectations are high for rookie RB Bishop Sankey as he is expected to fill the hole for CJ2K who went to the Jets in the off-season.
Dexter McCluster was also an acquisition for the Titans and I look for a good amount of touches to go McAlister’s way. Whisenhunt was the OC for the Chargers last season and he made great use of Danny Woodhead out of the backfield and McCLuster is the same kind of player. If Shonn Greene stays healthy, this gives the Titans a versatile backfield with a ‘Thunder & Lightning’ combo with Greene a Power Back in the Red Zone and Goaline situations. The biggest question this season is, “Can Jake Locker can stay healthy?” If he can avoid injury, then I see the Titans winning at least 6 or 7 of their 8 home games, and 1 or 2 road wins is not out of the question to get them at a possible 9-7 record and at least a shot at the Playoffs. The receiver core is solid with veteran Nate Washington, then youngsters Justin Hunter and Kendall Wright with another year under their belt. Tight End Delaney Walker is also a quality TE that came from San Francisco and I’ve seen this guy make some key catches in games and he is also an excellent blocker.
On defense, the Titans improved last year from allowing 29 ppg to only allowing 24 ppg and trimmed 36 yards ppg of their total defense allowed. I like the front 7 of the Titans this year, but the secondary might be a bit weaker but should still be competitive. Overall, the Titans have the 2nd softest schedule in the league and I like them to be a good ‘PLAY ON’ team early in the season as amateur bettors will not be giving the Titans any respect.
*** Brandon’s Power Play: *** ***Week 1 Sept. 7th Tennessee @ Kansas City*** Play on : Tennessee as an Underdog*** The Titans will travel to Kansas City looking for revenge from last year’s 26-17 loss they suffered at home. I fully expect the Titans to put forth a better effort in this game than last year. The Titans got off to a slow start in this game down 13-0 as Ryan Fitzpatrick was playing in his first game as Locker was injured. The result was three-and-out on the first 5 series for the Titans and they could never establish a running game. Fitzpatrick was 0-for-8 with an INT on passes 15+ yards down the field. This year, they will have Locker under center and I look for the Titans to take some shots deep down the field early in this one. Expectations are high for the Chiefs this season, but I am expecting a sub-par season under HC Andy Reid. The Chiefs were fortunate last season to benefit from a +18 turnovers. I don’t think they will be as lucky this year to have the ball bounce in their direction.
The Chiefs do not have a strong passing game as it’s more dink and dunk passes from Alex Smith, so I don’t see the secondary of the Titans getting exposed in this game. I would also like to note that the Chiefs actually only outgained 5 opponents this year and this is a major red flag as they somehow won 11 games. A lot of their wins came from the fortunate bounces of the ball going their way and I got the feeling that the Titans win the turnover battle in this game. McCLuster will also be eager to make some plays against his former team and I also feel he can help out with the scouting report as he knows the Chiefs offense very well. The last note is that the Chiefs have a road game @ Denver in week 2 and I think it’s safe to assume that the Chiefs will be ‘looking ahead’ to this game as they will be playing with double revenge from last season and actually had the 21-7 lead on Denver before Peyton Manning went on a tear en route to a 35-28 victory.
*** Closing thoughts:*** Like I said, the Titans are not expected to be competitive this season by many, but all indicators tell me they will present some very good value for us bettors and should be a profitable team to bet on in 2014. If Locker stays healthy, and if they can win some of the close games they will be in, I expect the Titans to be a sleeper team in the AFC.
Written by Brandon Shively of VegasTopDogs.com