The Tennessee Titans, after opening the 2019 season with a 2-4 mark, made a quarterback change, righted the ship, and went 7-3 the rest of the way to finish 9-7. Then, they got hot.
They upset the defending champion New England Patriots and top-seeded Baltimore Ravens in road playoff games before losing to the eventual Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, in the AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium.
The 2020 season seemed like a year-long march to another deep playoff run. Things didn’t go according to plan as the home crowd at Nissan Stadium watched their beloved Titans go belly up versus a Ravens team that was out for revenge.
That means 2021 is the year where it all comes together right? There’s no reason not to believe that the Titans aren’t fully capable of putting the stamp on a second consecutive division title, but that isn’t the narrative that we’re hearing from one of the NFL’s most trusted voices.
Gil Brandt isn’t sipping the Tennessee Titans’ kool-aid.
If you’re unfamiliar with Gil Brandt or his work but you’re an NFL fan, you might want to familiarize yourself. He’s an NFL.com Senior Analyst and one of the league’s most trusted voices. Recently, he ranked the most vulnerable defending divisional champions.
He sees the New Orleans Saints as the team most likely to fall from their perch. That’s understandable as Drew Brees is gone and the Saints share a division with the defending Super Bowl Champions, a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that many believe can represent the NFC in football’s biggest game again.
He says the Pittsburgh Steelers are the second-most vulnerable team. That also makes sense as they’ll have to hold of both the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens. Here’s where many Titans fans may disagree. Tennessee is third.
Here’s some of what Brandt had to say to support his theory.
"Frank Reich can concoct a plan that gets new quarterback Carson Wentz back on track after things went south for the one-time MVP candidate in Philly. If Reich succeeds, the Colts are primed to make a strong playoff push… The Titans, meanwhile, sustained significant losses in free agency… and those players haven’t really been replaced. Between that roster attrition and the departure of former offensive coordinator Arthur Smith to the head-coaching job in Atlanta, Tennessee is facing enough question marks to put the AFC South well within Indy’s reach."
What say ye Titans fans? Is he right? Is the Carson Wentz/Frank Reich connection and/or reunion enough to dethrone the two-tone blue?
Without appearing to be homers or the owners of biased opinions, Brandt’s a little off here. Though it’s hard to replace a young talent like Jonnu Smith, Geoff Swaim and Anthony Firkser are better than advertised.
The Tennessee Titans also replaced Corey Davis with the tandem of both Josh Reynolds and rookie Dez Fitzpatrick. The Titans are also going to be better on defense. The long and the short of everything is this. The Titans aren’t more vulnerable in 2021. There’s plenty of evidence that indicates this team will be much better.