2014 Tennessee Predictions
In all likelihood, the Tennessee Titans are not going to be good in 2014. This is blatantly obvious when looking at their roster, but at least they have one reason to hold their heads high entering the new year: The only team in the NFL with worse odds to win the Super Bowl are in their own division—the Jacksonville Jaguars.
2013 Record: 7-9
Titans Odds to win the 2015 AFC South Division: 7/1
Titans Odds to win the 2015 AFC Conference: 40/1
Titans Odds to win the 2015 Super Bowl: 100/1
Let’s take a look at the numbers:
With Mike Munchak officially out, former San Diego Chargers coordinator Ken Whisenhunt is in. Munchak went 22-26 in three years with Tennessee, and the hope is that Whisenhunt will get this organization back to where it once was—a perennial postseason presence.
CLICK to GRAB OUR BEST Expert Sports & Football Picks for 2014 GAMBLING!
Along with Munchak, tailback Chris Johnson is no longer with the organization. He rushed for more than 1,000 yards in every season he was with the franchise, but it was becoming clear that he wasn’t matching his expected production, and the team has moved on after six years of handing the ball off to the former East Carolina product.
Replacing Johnson will likely be a committee of backs comprising rookie Bishop Sankey, Shon Greene and Dexter McCluster. Only one can win the starting spot following training camp and the preseason, but all three could be used to keep one guy from taking on the load during a rebuilding phase.
At quarterback, we’re likely seeing Jake Locker’s last chance to prove he’s a starting-worthy player with this organization. Last season he threw for just eight touchdowns and four interceptions in seven games, and while his completion percentage of 60.7 was the highest of his three-year career, his yards were cut in half from the year before (2,176 to 1,256).
What the Titans can hang their hats on is that they have a solid offensive line. Michael Roos is a consistent option, and has been now for a decade. This season, Michael Oher will play his first season with Tennessee, as he was brought over from the Ravens.
Another addition is Taylor Lewan, the team’s first selection in the 2014 draft; although it’s unclear what his role will be this upcoming season.
Defensively, the team is switching its approach from a 4-3 to a 3-4. This will result in a handful of players changing positions, which could cause for an adjustment period as the team creates its new-look defense.
Returning to the theme of losses, cornerback Alterraun Verner has left for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He had a career-high five interceptions last season, and at 25 years old, you have to believe that his best days are still ahead of him.
With the AFC South looking as vulnerable as it does, there’s obviously a chance for a team to step up unexpectedly. While the Titans aren’t likely to fall into that category, they do have a handful of friendly matchups against lesser competition, as they’ll take on the Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans multiple times this season.
While there are a lot of questions here, the biggest ones have to be quarterback and running back. Will Locker actually step up? Will one tailback take on the load?
These are the questions that will have to be answered late, and while an 8-8 record seems like a best-case scenario, six or seven wins seems more reasonable for this organization that appears to be in flux in the AFC South.