NFL Power Rankings: Steelers rise and Texans fall flat in July
By Will Lomas
7. Tennessee Titans (finished 10)
What I said at the end of last season:
"It is incredible, but the Tennessee Titans went from a team that was 2-4 after a shutout in Week 6 against the Denver Broncos, all the way to a 9-7 playoff team. Under Ryan Tannehill, the Titans offense has been impeccable averaging around 31 points per game over the last 10 weeks. During that time, it has become clear that with a talented QB under center A.J. Brown and Derrick Henry have become absolute game wreckers. Titans rookie WR A.J. Brown just became one of the few rookies to ever get 1,000 or more receiving yards and he did it in fewer receptions than anyone else in NFL history. Meanwhile, Derrick Henry had over 1,500 rushing yards and 16+ TDs in 303 rush attempts which is the 4th quickest in NFL history to hit those thresholds. The Titans defense has been very disappointing since the Malcolm Butler and Adoree Jackson injuries, and the play calling has been vanilla and ineffective for much of that stretch. However, players are occasionally making plays when they need to and so far that has been enough with an incredible offense on the other side keeping them alive."
The Tennessee Titans had a weird offseason where they really didn’t do anything to get better. They are higher on these power rankings because these rankings were finalized before the playoff run where they took the last breaths of the Tom Brady dynasty and where they stomped over the Baltimore Ravens.
Tennessee showed that they could beat the most dynamic teams in the NFL last season with wins over the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens, as well as a near-win against the New Orleans Saints (without Derrick Henry).
Speaking of Derrick Henry, the former Crimson Tide star is set to be with the Titans for four more years and Tennessee managed to get a deal done that opens cap space for them without exposing themselves to long-term risk.
Finally, everyone wants to talk about Tannehill’s potential regressing, but that doesn’t mean that the Titans are going to go from 9-7 to 8-8. The reason I say that is because Tannehill took over a Tennessee team that was 2-4 and finished the season and postseason with 9 wins and 4 losses.
That includes games where Tennessee had a banged-up Derrick Henry or didn’t have Henry at all, and it also includes the playoffs where the competition is unquestionably more difficult.
The Titans are much more likely to win double-digit games in 2020 than they are to win eight or fewer.