By Willis Patenaude @willispatenaude on May 1, 2014
The Tennessee Titans have been mired in mediocrity since 2008 and finished 7-9 in 2013. The team made changes in the offseason, ridding themselves of Chris Johnson and hiring new head coach Ken Whisenhunt, the guy Kurt Warner made famous. On paper they have one of the weakest schedules, so a 10-win season should be doable, but games are not won on paper. The Titans will once again be stuck in the basement. Here are predictions for every game.
There is nothing surprising about this result, as the Chiefs are a superior defense and the Titans have no faith in QB Jake Locker, who is a fragile piece of Japanese porcelain. Tamba Hali and Justin Houston will give the passing deficient Titans horror movie nightmares. Whisenhunt will quickly learn that Locker is no Kurt Warner.
The Titans will make it interesting because the Cowboys defense is in Hooverville shambles and Tony Romo is always finding creative new ways to lose football games. Still, the Cowboys offense with DeMarco Murray and the always cheerful Dez Bryant will provide enough offense to get the win on the road.
It’s just a horrendous match-up for the Titans. The Bengals didn’t lose a game at home last season, made the high-powered Patriots look bungling, can run and pass the ball and murder the opposing-ball carrier. Locker gets “happy feet” and A.J. Green goes for 300 yards. You can take that to the bank!
The Titans haven’t won a game at Lucas Oil Stadium since 2011 when Dan Orlovsky was at QB for the Colts and that trend continues. The Colts are a playoff team with weapons that will bulldoze the new 3-4 defense being implemented in Tennessee. The growing pains of the new defense will make Andrew Luck look like the early MVP.
Is Whisenhunt righting the sinking Carnival Cruise ship? No! The Browns are just a quagmire. The Browns have had only two winning seasons in 15 years, have no QB, no RB and a WR who will start complaining by Week 6. The Titans will win, but it isn’t going to be pretty because the Browns do have a decent defense.
The Titans have reached the soft spot of their schedule and if the NFL operated like soccer, the Jaguars would have been demoted already. It will be a run-dominated game led by Shonn Greene because the Jaguars defense ranked 29th against the run last season. Who knows if Locker, Charlie Whitehurst, a rookie or Brett Favre will be QB by this point, but a win is a win.
Mike Shanahan is gone, RG3 is healthy and happy, DeSean Jackson is primed to put up big numbers, with Arena League icon Jay Gruden as coach, and the Titans have no cornerbacks that can contain him or Pierre Garcon. The Titans have no answers playing on the road against a revamped Redskins team who may or may not be called the Redskins by Week 7.
Neither team inspires confidence, but the Texans do have a few more weapons in Arian Foster and Andre Johnson, even if “Mr. Harvard” Ryan Fitzpatrick is throwing the football. At this point, if the Titans haven’t figured out Locker -- who the QB guru Jon Gruden couldn’t stop drooling over – isn’t the guy, someone should be fired.
At least nothing can go wrong this week. Seriously though, how did Ken Whisenhunt, who is 45-51, with only one ten-game-winning season as a head coach, get another job? Any armchair coach could accidentally pull that off. Like Shanahan with Elway, Whisenhunt, the “offensive genius” is nothing without Warner.
Even if Joe Flacco “plays down” to his opponent, it’s still going to be a massacre because that’s how awful the Titans are. The Ravens won’t need the chicken-dancing Ray Lewis. The team should be much healthier than last season and looking for redemption. They will find it because Jesus couldn’t win with the Titans lack of offensive weapons. Only die-hard fans can name the Titans WR group.
This is becoming a pattern and you can blame it on Locker and Whisenhunt. The Steelers blitz early and often and Locker will end up in the fetal position as he succumbs to the pressure. He might have a meltdown that’d make Max Braverman squirm. The Titans used to be a proud franchise. Now, they are just another laughingstock of mismanagement.
Nick Foles might throw for nine touchdowns in this game. Even without DeSean Jackson, the Eagles high-flying offense will turn the Titans defense into a punch-drunk boxer. The Titans should have some success against an Eagles defense that tends to give up a lot of passing yards and is average at best against the run. But in a shootout, Locker loses.
I almost gave this game to the Titans, but then I remembered Locker has only won four of 12 career road starts. It will be make-or-break for Locker and he will break faster than a budget busting fake French nail. J.J. Watt will wreak havoc on Jon Gruden’s favorite QB from the 2011 Draft reminding everyone that “draft experts” are the equivalent to basement-dwelling Xbox players. “You know nothing Draft experts.”
I don’t like Eli Manning, but also, the aging Manning has turned into an interception throwing connoisseur, having thrown 83 interceptions over the past four seasons. The Titans need a morale boost and beating a two-time Super Bowl winning QB will give the team and their fans hope for 2015, because that’s essentially all the team is playing for. Well, that and their jobs.
It is Chris Johnson revenge time in this game, as the new Jets RB will look to punish his former team. Add to the fact the Titans lost their best CB Alterraun Verner to free agency and new Jet receiver Eric Decker will make the Titans defense look like the Powerpuff Girls. Whether it is Geno Smith or Mike Vick, it doesn’t matter because the Titans are woeful at pressuring the QB, ranking 21st in sacks in 2013.
The Titans aren’t scared of Toby Gerhart or whoever is playing QB for the Jaguars at this point and I expect Whisenhunt will need a win as the #FireWhisenhunt campaign should have started. The new 3-4 defense will show promise as the team will convince the fans they are taking the next step, even if the next step is still miles from the playoffs.
The only way the Titans win is if the Colts have already secured their playoff position and Andrew Luck is on the bench. New Colts WR Hakeem Nicks will be well acclimated to the system by the end of the season and T.Y. Hilton, the promising 3-4 defense of the Titans, will look like a disorganized frat party. @TennesseeTitans #FireWhisenhunt.
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