Every year in the NFL is full of uncertainty. Which teams will be in the playoffs? Which 2011 playoff teams will take a step back? How many times will Kenny Britt be arrested? While we can’t know everything about this upcoming season, there are a number of things we can be pretty darn sure about. Here’s what we know about the Tennessee Titans, in no particular order:
1. The Titans will play 16 games this season. (Don’t roll your eyes. I’m serious about this. If after I finish explaining this you still think I am an idiot, you have my permission to roll your eyes until they fall out. It would serve you right.) Every team has 16 chances to win. The 16 game format is set in stone and has been since 1978. And that format is perfect.
No other sport even comes close to the how the NFL season is structured – which is one reason why the NFL is so popular. This isn’t the NBA where there are way too many games in the regular season. So many games in fact, that it is not uncommon for teams to coast during stretches. This isn’t college football where one loss can effectively end your hopes for a national championship. Don’t even get me started on MLB’s schedule – that season seems to last all year.
No, the NFL format is perfect. Each game matters. Each game is immensely important. But one loss is not going to doom your team. One loss won’t kill your hopes. If the Titans lose to New England in Week 1, it will hurt. Not gonna lie about that. And that loss will sting for a good long while, but the awesome thing about the NFL is that the Titans have a chance to get things back on track the very next Sunday against the San Diego Chargers.
Losing to the Patriots in Week 1 won’t be the reason the Titans miss the playoffs. It might be a contributing factor, but it won’t be the only factor. I love that. (I do feel I need to state that the above scenario where the Titans lose to the Patriots in Week 1 is simply a hypothetical example. Obviously, the Titans are going to crush the Patriots in Week 1.)
2. Matt Hasselbeck vs. Jake Locker is going to be a conversation for most of the season. It doesn’t matter who starts. If either of them, or the team, struggle early, the questions will get very loud. We are going to be dealing with this for a good long while.
3. The six divisional games are crucial. The Titans have a tough schedule in 2012. The first six weeks could be brutal. But, the Titans have a chance to remedy that by playing well in their divisional games. While no game is a gimme in the NFL, the Titans will be playing the Colts and the Jaguars a total of 4 times. The Titans have to improve on their numbers from 2011, where they split those four games. 2012 needs to be the year where the Titans run the table in those games. Then they simply need to split with the Texans and they are sitting at 5-1 in the Division. I see no reason why they can’t win another five games outside of the Division. 10-6 is a playoff team. As I said, the six divisional games are crucial.
4. Kenny Britt will do something dumb.
5. Chris Johnson is always going to believe that he can run faster than anyone else in the world. I’m not sure how I feel about this. On one hand, I love the confidence. On the other hand, I do wish CJ had a little more humility. Actually, I’m fine with CJ believing this, but I rather he keep it to himself and prove he is the fastest guy in the world on the field. I wouldn’t mind watching him run a few more 80 yard TD’s.
6. How awesome will the two new high-definition LED video screens be? Pretty awesome right?
7. Someone fairly important to the Titans is going to get injured. Count on it. It happens virtually every year, and I seriously doubt 2012 will be any different. That is why it is so important to have quality depth in the NFL. Let’s hope the Titans do have that quality depth.
8. Fans are going to overreact. If the Titans start 1-5, the fans are going to stop going to the games, they will start to find players and coaches to blame for the losses, and they will rant and rave in hilarious and not always intelligent manners. Those things are locks. Weather the storm brothers and sisters. I don’t believe the Titans will start that poorly, but even if they do, no good can come from freaking out. See points 1 and 3 to understand why 1-5 is not the end of the world.
9. Peyton Manning and Tim Tebow will get more national media attention this week than the Titans will get all season long. Deal with it. That’s how it is for a small market team. Even if the Titans go to the playoffs and advance a few rounds, if the Broncos or the Jets are in the playoffs as well, you won’t hear much about our team. That’s ok. Fly under the radar and take care of business. Titans’ fans will give them all the love they need.
10. The NFL season is the best thing in sports, and perhaps the best thing in the world. If it is not the best thing in the world, it is way up there.
What are some things that you are confident will happen this season? Talk to me people.