The annual release of the NFL schedule has turned into a spectacle of sorts.
Gone are the days of teams simply posting the schedule to their social media accounts once the release time has arrived. Instead, we get long hours of TV programming dedicated to immediate reaction of the schedule, analysis for the most significant matchups, and outrage from fans when their favorite team gets a limited amount of “primetime” contests.
It’s a fun time if I were to be completely honest, since we can go back and forth all off-season long regarding the most hyped games, and which teams we think will come out as the winners.
So with the NFL pulling out all the stops for the schedule release once again, and with the local Tennessee Titans set to play some very interesting games once the season rolls around, I thought it’d be a good idea to go over the ins and outs of what you should be prepared to see once we do get every single detail pertaining to the upcoming 2021 NFL season.
Let’s get started.
Immediate Things to Know
When Will the Schedule be Released?
The entire NFL schedule will be released on May 12th, 2021. That’s tomorrow, (or today if you’re reading this on Wednesday) so you should really keep your eyes peeled throughout the day on May 12th. NFL Network will be carrying a full schedule release show at 8 P.M. EST in which they’ll reveal some of the more notable matchups set to go down during the season.
But if you’re looking for a team specific schedule release, like the Tennessee Titans, then you should keep a close eye on the team’s social media channels, as well as the social media channels for Broadway Sports Media and the entire Broadway Sports Media team.
Throughout the day on Wednesday, some games and even full schedules will be leaked before the official release of the schedule at 8 P.M. EST, but if you want to stay in the dark away from the spoilers, then stay patient until the full official schedule drops.
*A variety of cable morning shows will release the entire WEEK ONE schedule for their respective networks. That includes CBS (usually the AFC package), FOX (usually the NFC package), and ESPN/ABC (Monday Night Football).
The Titans’ 2021 Opponents
|Indianapolis Colts||Indianapolis Colts|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||Jacksonville Jaguars|
|Houston Texans||Houston Texans|
|Buffalo Bills||New England Patriots|
|Arizona Cardinals||New York Jets|
|Kansas City Chiefs||Los Angeles Rams|
|Miami Dolphins||Seattle Seahawks|
|San Francisco 49ers||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|New Orleans Saints|
*The two divisions the Titans will play eight total games against are the NFC West and the AFC East.*
What to Look Out for From the Titans’ Point of View
The Bye Week
This is the first thing players and coaches look for once the schedule drops.
For players, it’s a week that gives them a chance to do whatever they need to do to gear up for the rest of the season. That could include recovery from the bumps and bruises you’re bound to receive during the season, or it could even include the opportunity to get away from football and allow yourself to relax and decompress.
Either way, it’s an important period of time that players across the league hold in high value.
For coaches, it’s a little bit of the same, but with more focus on adjustments and schematic tweaks included in the itinerary.
But what’s most important for this little break is where it falls on the schedule. No team wants an early bye week around week six or so. They’d prefer it to fall around the mid-season mark, or maybe even a little closer towards the end of the regular season. That way, you’ll truly get a chance to rest any injuries you might have, or allow yourself some time to implement any schematic changes you might deem necessary.
Keep an eye out on where the bye week falls once the schedule is officially released.
Specific Weeks the Titans Play Division Opponents
This is another important schedule detail to watch out for once the Titans’ schedule gets released. Division games matter, no ifs, ands, or buts about it.
They could be the one thing(s) that decide whether you play a playoff game in your own backyard, or if you’ll be packing suitcases for each weekend you advance in January. That’s why coaches preach the importance of these games, since they could have such astronomical influence on comfort level, as well as day to day operations if you even make it to the playoffs.
So every time a division game against a boring or mediocre opponent pops up on the schedule, don’t automatically sleep on it. Do that and you could be in for a stressful day against a team you should probably beat with ease.
These division games are also important for head to head instances.
For the Titans, their head to head record against the Indianapolis Colts matters the most since the Colts will likely be their main rival for the AFC South title. For those games, it’s nice to have them set up in either the beginning or towards the end of the season.
Since with those dates, you’re either controlling your own destiny, or giving yourself more room for error if you don’t get the results you’re looking for.
Potential Season Storylines
Looking at the list of opponents for the Titans, a lot of potential exists for some early off-season schedule storylines.
- The most obvious one is the likely two horse AFC South race between the Titan and Colts, which’ll be a fascinating battle to watch unfold throughout the course of the season.
- There’s the Mike Vrabel-Bill Belichick rematch, this time in Foxborough. Vrabel won the first coaching duel in 2018, courtesy of a dominating performance by the duo of Marcus Mariota and Corey Davis. This time, the Titans are the team on the upswing, with Belichick’s Patriots lagging a little behind. But with the Patriots reloading in free agency, along with a Jonnu Smith-Titans reunion, this has a chance to be a really fun game. Who knows, it could be a primetime game as well.
- The Chiefs are coming back to Nashville after they lost a thrilling battle against Tennessee in the 2019 season. There’s no rivalry between the two, but they’ve played in some fun contests recently.
- The Bills will come to town for the third straight season, and they’ll do so with a potential MVP candidate in quarterback Josh Allen. He isn’t the same gunslinging, inaccurate player the Titans faced off against the last two meetings, so it’ll be a good test for the revamped Titans defense.
- Mike Vrabel’s team will hit the road and face off against a now Super Bowl favorite in the Los Angeles Rams. This’ll be a fun one simply because of the battle between Aaron Donald and Derrick Henry, two of the league’s brightest stars, but on opposite sides of the ball.
- Finally, the Ole Miss brotherhood bowl between A.J. Brown and D.K. Metcalf. If you don’t know, the friendship of those two has been well documented. Dating back to their days at Ole Miss, these two young superstars were budding NFL prospects playing on the same team and on the same side of the ball. This’ll be the first time they’ve faced off against each other in a professional setting, so you know their story will be a heavily talked about topic leading up to the game.
Malcolm Butler’s return to Tennessee, a potential Trey Lance sighting, Trevor Lawrence’s first road test against the Titans, and the newly added 17th game Saints cap off the home matchups that give off the most intrigue early on. Road matchups against the Steelers and the Zach Wilson led Jets will carry some significance as well.
How Many Primetime Games?
We’ll end if off with the most obvious and probably the most requested questions fans have when the schedule gets released.
With the opponent info that we have, we can only guess the amount of primetime games the Titans will have this season. One with the Colts is probably the only certainty, but maybe one, two, even three more (unlikely in my opinion) could be on tap.
Steelers? Bills? Chiefs? Patriots even?
There’s a multitude of possibilities, but we won’t know until the schedule makes the rounds. If there’s one thing I do know, it’s that Derrick Henry’s marketability gives the Titans some potential to make a couple of more primetime appearances possible.
But all we can ride with are predictions and speculation, so there’s nothing I can really promise.
This is going to be a difficult season for the Titans schedule wise. Not only do you have numerous offensive holes still left to fill before the start of the year, but you’ll potentially have to ride with those roster holes against the Chiefs, Bills, Steelers, the new look Patriots, Dolphins, and twice against the revamped Colts.
Now the roster questions will 100% be answered by the time week one rolls around. But even with them filled, those are some really tough games you’ll have to find a way to win.
However, this type of situation is what the Titans have been striving towards.
If you want to elevate, if you want to get to the next level, then you’ll have to beat the very best the league has to offer. The schedule has a lot of candidates that can be called the best of the cream of the crop, so now it’s up to the team to show if they’re truly ready to take that next step, and ascend to the status they’ve desired ever since the vision of this project was foreseen back in 2016.