Why the Tennessee Titans shouldn’t be overconfident this week


In just about every sport, players and coaches alike universally decree that they do not read the press clippings. They pay no attention to the numerous “voices outside the locker room”.

That’s fine when you’re in the midst of a ten game losing streak, who wants to read that?

But in the case of this year’s Tennessee Titans, their performance last week has drawn local and national praise. Everyone gushed over Marcus Mariota‘s historic debut, which led to him being named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week.

The Titans’ offense led the league in scoring after week 1, while the defense was tied for sixth in the league in points allowed. Just about everything that Tennessee tried on both sides of the ball worked, and they sit alone atop the AFC South for the first time since 2008.

Now they visit the Dawg Pound to face a Cleveland Browns team that suffered a Bucs-like beatdown of their own last week (31-10) at the hands of the New York Jets…who started Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback.

Yes Titans fans…that Ryan Fitzpatrick.

And speaking of qb’s, Cleveland announced today that Johnny Manziel will be making just his third career start this Sunday, while starter Josh McCown recovers from concussion-like symptoms. It would be hard to blame the Titans if they are feeling confident heading into this week’s matchup.

But history suggests that Tennessee should be weary of being overconfident.

The Titans have actually pulled off impressive opening day road wins the last three years, defeating Pittsburgh 16-9 at Heinz Field in 2013, Kansas City 26-10 at Arrowhead Stadium in 2014, and Tampa Bay 42-14 at Raymond James Stadium this year. They were underdogs in all three games. Optimism and expectations soared through the roof after each victory.

Tennessee then went on to lose the following week the last two seasons, and subsequently finished with a losing record. That can’t be placed exclusively on coach Ken Whisenhunt either, 2013 was under then-head coach Mike Munchak‘s watch.

If that isn’t enough to humble the Titans, then last year’s Music City Meltdown certainly should.

Tennessee hosted the Cleveland Browns last year, and led 28-3 before their epic collapse. The Browns’ rallied for a 29-28 victory, which stands today as the largest comeback by a road team in NFL history.

And that Browns team was just as devoid of talent on paper as this week’s team is said to be.

If the Titans keep those things in the back of their helmets, and execute they way they did last week, then they should exit the Dawg Pound victorious this Sunday. If not, then…well….it’s like the old saying goes…

Those who do not learn from history….

Next: Mariota's Heisman tour continues this week

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