The Titans made a splash with the signing of DE Jadeveon Clowney in early September. Head coach Mike Vrabel was the defensive coordinator for the Houston Texans when Clowney was with them in 2017. Clowney played his first five NFL seasons with Houston and made Pro Bowls in each of his final three seasons with the Texans. The first overall pick in the 2014 draft played 80 percent of the Week 1 snaps and recorded one quarterback hit and one tackle for loss in Tennessee’s 16-14 victory over the Denver Broncos. The Titans hope that his hip injury does not cause him to miss Week 2 in a divisional matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Titans, who had the 12th-best defense in the league last year, also received some defensive reinforcements, as they signed a couple of former Atlanta Falcons. Both LB Vic Beasley Jr. and DE Jack Crawford signed one-year deals with Tennessee. Also, the Titans agreed with former Texans CB Johnathan Joseph on a one-year contract. He has the most passes defended among all active NFL players, but his right biceps injury may force him to miss Week 2. However, if the Titans have another playoff run this year, they hope that these changes to the defense can make the difference between playing in the AFC Championship Game and the Super Bowl.
Last year, a 20-13 victory in the Wild Card round against the New England Patriots was followed by the Titans upsetting Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens, 28-12, in the Divisional Round. Derrick Henry was a monster in last season’s playoffs. After he led the NFL with 1,540 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns during the regular season, he rushed for 149 yards per game in the postseason. However, the Kansas City Chiefs stifled Henry in the AFC Championship Game, as he ran for just 69 yards. Although Henry scored a touchdown, the Titans just missed making it to the Super Bowl with the 35-24 loss.
Read Also: Jacksonville Jaguars Predictions and Odds
2020 Titans Draft Picks
Isaiah Wilson, OT (Georgia)
Kristian Fulton, CB (LSU)
Darrynton Evans, RB (Appalachian State)
Larrell Murchison, DT (North Carolina State)
Cole McDonald, QB (Hawaii)
Chris Jackson, DB (Marshall)
Notable Other New Faces for the Titans
Senorise Perry, RB
Geoff Swaim, TE
Jadeveon Clowney, DE
Jack Crawford, DE
Vic Beasley Jr., LB
Will Compton, LB
Johnathan Joseph, CB
Stephen Gostkowski, K
Notable Titans in New Places
Marcus Mariota, QB – Las Vegas Raiders
Dion Lewis, RB – New York Giants
Tajae Sharpe, WR – Minnesota Vikings
Delanie Walker, TE – released
Austin Johnson, DT – New York Giants
Jurrell Casey, DE – Denver Broncos
D’Andre Walker, LB – Seattle Seahawks
LeShaun Sims, CB – Cincinnati Bengals
Notable Titans on the Injury Report
Darrynton Evans, RB – out for Week 2 with a hamstring injury; missed Week 1 as well
A.J. Brown, WR – out for Week 2 with a knee injury
Corey Davis, WR – questionable for Week 2 with a hamstring injury
Nick Westbrook, WR – out for Week 1 (coach’s decision)
Geoff Swaim, TE – out for Week 1 (coach’s decision)
Taylor Lewan, OT – questionable for Week 2 with an illness
Isaiah Wilson, OT – placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list
Jamil Douglas, OG – out for Week 1 with a hand injury; expected to play Week 2
Jadeveon Clowney, DE – questionable for Week 2 with a hip injury
Vic Beasley Jr., LB – questionable for Week 2 with a knee injury after missing Week 1
Derick Roberson, LB – out for Week 1 with an injured knee; expected to be available for Week 2
Malcolm Butler, CB – questionable for Week 2 with a quadriceps injury
Adoree’ Jackson, CB – placed on injured reserve with a knee injury; expected to return for Week 4
Johnathan Joseph, CB – questionable for Week 2 with a biceps injury
Dane Cruikshank, S – placed on injured reserve for an undisclosed reason; expected return for Week 4
Titans Who Have Opted Out of 2020 NFL Season
Anthony McKinney, OL
Titans Offense Predictions
The Broncos defense kept the Titans from scoring much in Week 1, but 2019 Pro Bowler Ryan Tannehill still connected on 29 of his 43 passes for 249 yards and two touchdowns. Tannehill led the Titans on a game-winning drive that ended with a Stephen Gostkowski 25-yard field goal. Although the former New England Patriots kicker, four-time Pro Bowler, and three-time Super Bowl champion missed four kicks, including three field goals in the opening game, Mike Vrabel still has confidence in Gostkowski. If Tannehill does have another strong game in Week 2, but the Jaguars upset the Titans because Gostkowski left points off the board, then Vrabel may not be able to trot out his starting kicker any longer.
At the quarterback position, the Titans seem to have Tannehill ready for a full season, and they hope he plays all 16 games for the first time since 2015. With Tannehill under center, the Titans went 7-3 in the 2019 regular season and 2-1 in the playoffs last year. Tannehill, who spent his career with the Miami Dolphins before heading to Tennessee, had his best winning percentage as a starter last year (.700). In 2019, he also set career highs in completion percentage (70.3 percent), yards per pass attempt (9.6), percent of throws ending in a touchdown (7.7 percent), interceptions (six), and quarterback rating (NFL-best 117.5).
Titans Running Backs: Can Derrick Henry Duplicate His 2020 Performance?
In Week 1, Derrick Henry played 75 percent of offensive snaps and went for 116 rushing yards on 31 carries. Although he did not score, he appears ready to have another tremendous season. In 2019, Henry played 59 percent of the team’s offensive snaps and missed just one contest. His 102.7 yards per game led the NFL last year, but he is already improving on that number early in 2020.
Henry also had three receptions in Tennessee’s opening game of the season after 18 in 2019. While Henry had just 15 receiving yards, he caught all three of his targets. With Henry being a receiving target this season, he has the chance to have an even better season in 2020. After having 1,746 yards from scrimmage last season, he could surpass 2,000 yards this year.
While backup running back Darrynton Evans continues to be out with a hamstring injury, third-string running back Senorise Perry will be sure to get playing time. However, the reason Henry was featured a large amount in Week 1 was that Perry exclusively played on special teams. The former Buffalo Bills running back was also more of a special teams player in 2019, so it appears Henry will take on a larger load of carries and receptions with Evans out and former Titan Dion Lewis now with the New York Giants.
Titans Wide Receivers: Will Corey Davis Overtake A.J. Brown as the Team’s Leading Receiver in 2020?
Corey Davis may be in a career year, as he began 2020 with seven receptions and 101 receiving yards in Week 1. Davis tied for the team’s most targets to begin the season, as he and A.J. Brown had eight apiece. Adam Humphries was surprisingly the No. 2 receiver in receptions, as he was targeted seven times, and he brought in six receptions for 47 yards. Brown was the team’s leading receiver in 2019, but his five receptions for 39 yards were underwhelming in Week 1. If he overcomes his injury and bounces back soon, then the Week 1 performance will just be thought of as a blip on the radar.
With Brown, Davis, and Humphries combining for 187 yards in Week 1, they should be a robust receiving group for the 2020 season. In Week 12’s 42-20 victory over the Jaguars last season at Nissan Stadium, Brown went off for 135 receiving yards and a touchdown. Brown is not playing through his knee injury in Week 2. With Brown out for the first meeting of the season with the Jaguars, Davis (questionable for Week 2) and Humphries will try to take advantage of a Jacksonville secondary that kept the Indianapolis Colts in check in Week 1 but is expected to be a low-ranked one by the end of the season.
Titans Tight Ends: Can Both Jonnu Smith and Mycole Pruitt Contribute to the Titans in 2020?
With the Titans releasing Delanie Walker after seven seasons in Tennessee, Tannehill will be looking for fourth-year tight end Jonnu Smith in the red zone while backup tight end MyCole Pruitt (eight targets, six receptions, 90 receiving yards, and one touchdown in 2019) may see more targets than he did in previous years. In Week 1, the tight ends scored two touchdowns. Smith’s touchdown was a part of a four-reception, 36-yard day while Pruitt’s only catch, which went for one yard, ended in a touchdown. If Tannehill can rely on both Smith and Pruitt in the coming weeks, this could be a very successful season for the tight end position in 2020.
Read Also: Houston Texans Predictions and Odds
Titans Defense Predictions
The Titans have rehauled their defense in 2020, as they look to move into the upper echelon in the league. The Titans seemed very strong to begin the year, as they allowed the fourth-fewest points in Week 1. Although Tennessee did not sack Broncos QB Drew Lock, S Kevin Byard and CB Joshua Kalu each forced a fumble. Byard, who defended one pass in the contest, also led the team in tackles, as he made eight solo tackles and assisted on another.
The Titans traded five-time Pro Bowl DE Jurrell Casey to the Broncos for a 2020 seventh-round pick that Tennessee then sent to the Kansas City Chiefs for a 2021 sixth-round selection. In Week 1, Casey record one quarterback hit, six combined tackles, and a game-high two passes defended against the Titans. Casey did not defend a pass in 2019, but his ten quarterback hits last season ranked third on the team. His five tackles for loss were fourth on the Titans last year. Both DE Jadeveon Clowney and DE Jack Crawford look to fill the void this season. Clowney had one quarterback hit in Week 1. Crawford did not record a tackle in the first game of the season, while Clowney had three.
Read Also: Indianapolis Colts Predictions and Odds
Titans Special Teams Predictions
How will Mike Vrabel handle the Stephen Gostkowski situation? Gostkowski’s career includes plenty of league-leading performances, including leading the NFL in points scored five times, field goals made three times, and extra points made twice. His career field goal percentage ranks eighth in league history, and the four-time Pro Bowler has scored the second-most points among active players.
The two-time First-Team All-Pro selection made just 11 of 15 field goals last year for the Patriots before placing him on injured reserve. Then in March 2020, New England released the potential future Hall of Fame kicker. Both he and former Patriots and Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri had difficult 2019 seasons; Gostkowski is with a team in 2020 while Vinatieri is not. Gostkowski’s start to this season was not a strong one, as he missed three field goals and one extra point. There was one bright spot, as he made the game-winning field goal with 20 seconds remaining in Week 1.
Titans Head Coach Predictions
Vrabel, a 1997 third-round selection by the Pittsburgh Steelers, had a lengthy career as a linebacker, and he looks to have an even longer one as a head coach. He has enjoyed a lot of success thus far with the Titans. With the Week 1 victory, Vrabel has a career regular-season record of 19-14.
As a 14-year player and three-time Super Bowl champion, Vrabel has learned a lot, and it has translated to many Titans victories. Although his Titans did not beat the spread in Week 1 (Titans -3.5; won by two points), they still won the road. His Titans head to another away game for Week 2, but Vrabel coached Tennessee to a 5-3 road record in 2019 and a 2-1 road record in the playoffs.
Titans Predictions for Week 2
Including the playoffs, the Titans went 10-8-1 against the spread in 2019. The 1-0 Titans opened as 11-point favorites against the 1-0 Jaguars for their Week 2 meeting, but the line has fallen to 7.5 points. Tannehill and company struggled to score against the Broncos in Week 1, as the tight ends were responsible for the majority of the points. However, the Jaguars are projected to be the worst team in the AFC South.
Only Tennessee and Jacksonville have won to start the season in the division, so that this game could end with a touchdown or field goal margin. The Titans will most likely win the contest, but winning by more than a touchdown will not be as easy as most expected a few weeks ago.
Titans Predictions for 2020 Season
With the 2020 over/under for the Titans being 8.5 wins, the bookmakers are cautiously optimistic. Vrabel has produced 9-7 seasons in each of his first two years as an NFL head coach, so there is some value in betting the over. Injuries could derail this Titans season, as they expect to rely on Derrick Henry once again. If Tennessee’s defense moves into the top 10 and Tannehill plays like his 2019 self, the team’s +4000 Super Bowl futures bet could be worth it.
Wizard Race and Sports also has your 2020 season win totals and best futures to bet, so make sure to subscribe as soon as possible to get the best weekly and season picks.