Aug 24, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak watches his team play against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half at LP Field. The Titans beat the Falcons 27-16. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee Titans Will Show If They're Playoff Contenders Before Bye Week

The Tennessee Titans enter the 2013-14 NFL season with a lot of hype. They’ve spent more than $100 million dollars in free agency and had a solid draft.  Fans, coaches and players are expecting big things from the Titans.

And they should.

The Titans have brought in great offensive line talent to support Jake Locker and Chris Johnson. They added depth at safety, defensive line, linebacker, running back, tight end, wide receiver and offensive line. The Titans spent their money wisely investing in more than one dozen free agents instead of one playmaker for the same price. They filled a lot of holes that this team had in 2012. This could be the best free-agency spending in franchise history.

Many fans expect this team to not only reach the playoffs but contend. With Mike Munchak and the rest of the coaching staff on the hot seat, this will be a make-or-break season for them. If the Titans do not make the playoffs, then owner Bud Adams may send these guys packing.

The preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons gave fans hope as it showed what the team may be capable of. But it’s still just the preseason. The Titans will show us sooner than later if they’re ready to contend in 2013. That’s because of a brutal start to the schedule:

at Pittsburgh, at Houston, San Diego, New York Jets, Kansas City, at Seattle, San Francisco. Then comes the bye week.

Starting the season at Pittsburgh, who hasn’t lost a home-opener in 10 years, is a challenge with the history between these teams. Facing a Houston Texans team on the road is another great challenge. They won the AFC south two years in a row. They’re considered as Super Bowl contenders.

Not only do the Titans have two straight away games but they come home to face the San Diego Chargers. Now San Diego is not a great team but this is a team that has had the Titans’ number. The Titans have not won a game against San Diego in nine years. The New York Jets will be the easiest test until the bye week. Let’s agree that the Titans win that game.

Then the Kansas City Chiefs come to town with new head coach Andy Reid and new quarterback Alex Smith. This is a Chiefs team that has progressed greatly in the offseason, similar to the Titans. They’ve been talked about as “comeback team of the year.” Week 6 brings the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle. It’s nearly impossible to win there. With a running quarterback, great defense and running game, this is a game that could destroy momentum before their bye week.

Closing out the first-half schedule is a matchup against the reigning NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers enter town with another running quarterback, solid defense and great run game—just like the Seahawks.

That schedule includes five first-half opponents who are legitimate playoff contenders. This will be a true test for Munchak and the rest of the organization. With so many injuries occurring, this team must stay healthy if it plans on becoming a playoff contender.

If the Titans get to their bye week with a 4-3 record, they might contend. On the other hand, this team could end up 2-5. Munchak said to the Titans fans at the first open practice:

“Believe me, we will not disappoint you this year,”

The challenge begins Sept 8.

 

All statistics and financial data was sourced from ESPN.com

Tags: NFL Tennessee Titans

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