Titans 2020 Season Preview and Predictions

The Tennessee Titans are less than seven days away from kicking off the 2020 season. It has certainly been a unique offseason. The global pandemic led to the cancellation of preseason games, which makes predictions even tougher than usual. The Titans wrapped up their offseason this past weekend by signing arguably the highest-profile free agent in team history, which has added to the excitement — but also to the expectations — for the upcoming year.

This offseason also marked the launch Broadway Sports Media, which has seen a flurry of content from a strong group of writers and contributors. One of the pillars on which we founded this enterprise is authenticity, so in that spirit, I give you the full slate of Titans 2020 Season: Preview and Predictions, from everyone associated with Broadway…

Record Predictions

John Glennon, Senior Writer: 11-5. I think the Titans are going to win their first division title since 2008, edging out the Colts and Texans. The driving force of the team will once again be its multi-faceted offense. My only question on that side of the ball is the right side of the offensive line, as the new right tackle – Dennis Kelly – will be paired with the relatively inexperienced Nate Davis. The Titans may have to give some added help to that side in passing situations. Defensively, how long will it take Jadeveon Clowney and Vic Beasley to play at the top of their games? The Titans’ pass rush may struggle a bit in the early going, but should really pick up as the season goes on.

Mike Herndon, Senior Writer: 12-4. The Titans pick up where they left off late last year, break through the 9-7 glass ceiling, and challenge for the top seed in the AFC. Tennessee has everything you’d want in a 2020 NFL squad: continuity, high-end veteran talent, and a few young guys — like Jeffery Simmons and A.J. Brown — who are primed to break out as legitimate stars. They also get the second easiest schedule in the NFL according to Vegas win totals compiled by Sharp Football Stats. All that adds up to a big season, including home playoff games in Nashville for the first time since 2008.

Justin Melo, Senior Contributor: 11-5. The Titans will finally get over the 9-7 hump this season and win the division. I expect the Texans and Colts to be more competitive than you may think, but Tennessee is the best team in the AFC South. The Titans have all the pieces in place on both sides of the ball to take a big step forward.

Zach Lyons, Fantasy Expert: 13-3. The Titans have a relatively easy schedule. They will go 5-1 in the AFC South, splitting with the Texans while also losing to the Vikings and Ravens. The Vikings have a very good defense that is going to give the right side of the Titans offensive line problems. Ravens will be eyeing this as a revenge game, and the Titans will lose in a close battle with them.

Jimmy Morris, Director of Content: 12-4. There is no reason to believe that the Titans won’t be better than they were last year. The offense will take another step forward with the continuity in place between Ryan Tannehill, Derrick Henry and Arthur Smith. The defense will be better with the addition of Jadeveon Clowney and a healthier Jeffery Simmons.

Justin Graver, Senior Contributor: 12-4. The Titans have the 2nd-easiest schedule according to projected win totals (notably more accurate than using previous season’s record). They return head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterback in a pandemic offseason, which should give them a leg up over teams trying to install new systems or new quarterbacks. Adding Clowney takes the defense over the top and should allow the team to feast in positive gamescript situations, leaning on Henry for what should be the team’s best season in terms of record since 2008.

Bill “SuperHorn” Ott, Director of Strategy: 10-6. I expect this to be the year the team finally makes the leap from above average 9-7 to double digit wins. The offense was an absolute monster when Tannehill took over last year, and, while there’s reason to expect some regression, the team should still be better overall offensively than it has been in years. Defensively, the core returns, but they’ve added a major disruptor in Clowney and the speed of Fulton that was critically missed at the slot corner position. The slate of road games is tough, but Vrabel has managed a .500 record on the road since he’s been head coach in Tennessee.

Robert Greenlaw, Contributor: 10-6. This is the year the Titans finally get over the 9-7 hump. An offseason that has been anything but normal lends itself to teams that have a lot of continuity from last year. What do the Titans have? Continuity, in spades. On offense, Jack Conklin is the only starter in 2019 that isn’t returning for 2020. On defense, Logan Ryan and Jurrell Casey are being replaced by Kristian Fulton and Jadeveon Clowney, respectively. This team expects A.J. Brown to build on to the success he had as a rookie and a leap forward from Jeffery Simmons. Both sides of the ball are set up for immediate success, as major holes (pass rush, slot CB, and backup RB) were all filled this offseason. This should be an extremely fun team to watch all year, and I expect them to make a deep run in the playoffs.

Joshua Hong, Contributor: 11-5. I think it’s finally time that the Titans take control of the AFC South. In addition to the huge Jadeveon Clowney signing, I would expect development from a lot of the younger players, such as Adoree Jackson, Jeffery Simmons, Jonnu Smith, A.J. Brown, and more.

Wes Wisley, Contributor: 12-4. Titans go 4-2 before the bye and go on a big winning streak after it. They are a deep, well-rounded team on offense, defense and special teams. This is the year, people.

Austin Nelson, Contributor: 11-5. The Titans have the 12th easiest schedule this season according to the records of their 2019 opponents. If this team is who we think they are, they should have no problem overcoming their 9-win-season streak and hit double digits for the first time since 2008.

Johnathan Boren, CEO of Broadway Sports Media: 11-5. I was tempted to predict 9-7 as is tradition, but I think this team is too good to not get to double digits. Combining the run-first mentality that will travel well in the times of COVID with the consistency that will also only help with such little offseason preparation, this team is poised to finally make that jump.

Ryan Watson, Contributor: 10-6. I have the Titans coming out of the 9-7 streak by one game. Splitting with the Colts and Texans will have tie breaker analysts in overtime to determine 1st place. Positives are that I see them going 7-1 at home but 3-5 on the road. I will hear arguments for them splitting on the road to go to 11-5 but just trying to be honest with myself. Looking forward to another deep playoff run just in time for D-Henber.

Mister Lebowski, Co-Host of Football and other F Words: 10-6. I barely know how to write so I gotta keep this brief.

Kristopher Martel, Nashville Predators Contributor: 12-4.

NSC Coverage Crew: 10-6

BSM Operations Department: 11-5.

Biggest Surprise

Glennon: Corey Davis puts together a bounceback season, posting 60 catches after dipping to just 43 last year. The fact that opposing defenses will be focused on stopping A.J. Brown should help Davis, as should the increased time he spent getting reps with Ryan Tannehill in training camp this year. Davis spent most of last training camp working with Marcus Mariota.

Herndon: Corey Davis goes for over 1,000 yards in his contract year. A.J. Brown and Derrick Henry have made the former 5th overall pick something of a forgotten man in Tennessee’s offense, but he’s talented, healthy, and playing for a new contract. That adds up to a big year for Davis.

Melo: Jeffery Simmons establishes himself as one of the better interior defensive linemen in the league. Simmons looked really good at times last year, and that was in a rookie season that was supposed to be a write off for him. Simmons is now roughly 18 months removed from ACL surgery, and will be playing on a more talented defensive line in 2020. The sky is the limit for Simmons this season.

Lyons: Jeffrey Simmons wins Defensive Player of the Year. This may not be much of a surprise to the Titans fan base. With the addition of Clowney, I think the biggest winner will be Simmons. According to defensive line coach Terrell Williams, Simmons has an identity as a football player, and the identity is “Violence.”

Morris: Vic Beasley gets 12 sacks. Expectations for Beasley are way down right now. Mike Vrabel is able to light a fire under him and Beasley ends up thriving with all of the talent the Titans are going to have around him.

Graver: Vic Beasley. Bringing in Clowney takes the pressure — for lack of a better word — off of Beasley to add instant juice to the pass rush. The presence of Clowney and Simmons should free up Beasley to take advantage of one-on-one matchups. Because of the presence of such a strong group of rushers, including Harold Landry, I think Beasley surprises everyone by getting to the quarterback early and often on his way to a double-digit sack season.

SuperHorn: Darrynton Evans. Kid is a total stud. He’s going to be what this staff wanted out of Dion Lewis. An electric, home run talent in the passing game that also happens to be an excellent runner between the tackles. He wasn’t targeted much in college, but the tools are there.

Greenlaw: Nate Davis. After a pretty solid rookie campaign, Frogman steps up and becomes an above average right guard. Taking the next step helps lessen the load for Dennis Kelly and later in the season, Isaiah Wilson.

Hong: Corey Davis. No, he is not the WR1 that he was drafted to be, but he is one of the most talented second receiving options in the league. Davis was missed on an abnormally large amount of throws down the field last season while battling a turf toe injury and still had 601 receiving yards. I’m expecting a huge bounce back season.

Wisley: Isaiah Wilson. Some have said Wilson won’t contribute this season as his conditioning and technique must improve. I see him improving both as the season goes along. He becomes the starter before Week 8 after two months of improving his conditioning. He’s going to be too much to handle for many defenders to not play him.

Nelson: The pass rush. The Titans landed some sort of big name free agent recently, I think? Kidding. A week ago, pass rush was the weakest link of this team, now, not so much. Jadeveon Clowney is a player teams have to game plan for and that will end up benefiting Harold Landry, Vic Beasley, Derick Roberson and the rest of the defensive line. I think this pass rush surprises everyone and ends up being Top 10 in sacks this season.

Boren: Vic Beasley. Justin Graver stole my thunder but I am sticking to my guns. This is more of a testament of the talent around him making his job easier than anything else. The combination of that with the Titans already being one of the top defenses when it comes to scheming pressure is only going to allow him to make a larger impact.

Watson: Kalif Raymond continues to improve. The “route god” himself has been impressive in his route running in camp. I expect Arthur Smith to take notice and continue to prove that he is an innovative offensive coordinator by utilizing his best weapons. I predict that he will get his share of shot plays called but I can also see a uptick in short yardage or conversion plays. This will lead to more targets and more catches to contribute to the Titans offensive success.

Lebowski: Beasley/Clowney is a nasty tandem. The Titans defense proves to be a huge problem all season and comes out as one of the top units in all of the NFL.

Martel: Kenny Vaccaro. Vaccaro has been a steady member of the Titans defense in his two seasons with the organization, including having his second best season of his career, tackle-wise, last year. With the improvements made defensively across the board for the Titans, I feel Vaccaro will be able to open up his game to a new level that’s previously been unexplored.

NSC Coverage Crew: Jonnu Smith finishes with the most receptions and receiving touchdowns on the team.

BSM Operations Department: Titans 2020 Draft picks make meaningful starter contributions. Wilson will be a starter by season’s end. Fulton will have an up and down rookie year with more positives than negatives. Darrynton Evans will be what the Titans wanted Dion Lewis to be.

Biggest Disappointment

Glennon: Isaiah Wilson’s rookie season is a near wash, the effect of no offseason, sub-par conditioning and two trips to the COVID-19 list. The good news is that the Titans weren’t necessarily dependent on him this year, as the team kept veteran Dennis Kelly to start at right tackle and veteran Ty Sambrailo as a reserve.

Herndon: There are two glaring choices here in Vic Beasley, who mysteriously arrived late to camp and just now started practicing with his new team after signing for $9.5-million in March, and first-round pick Isaiah Wilson, who is currently on his second trip to the reserve/COVID list and has reportedly struggled a bit in his early days. I’m going with Wilson as my pick. That doesn’t mean I think he’ll be a bust long term, but I think there is a good chance that we see Dennis Kelly hold down that right tackle spot all year and several appearances on the inactive list for Wilson.

Melo: Corey Davis is who we think he is, and that’s a solid No. 2 receiver with an important role on this offense. But it’s not always flashy. If you’re expecting to Davis to finally become a 1,000 yard receiver in this offense, prepare to be disappointed.

Lyons: Harold Landry still won’t reach double digit sacks. Landry will have his best year to date in terms of pressures generated, but I don’t think he will reach double digit sacks even with the addition of Clowney.

Morris: Corey Davis doesn’t live up to his potential. Davis has no shot of living up to being the #5 overall pick at this point, but he continues to be a non-factor in the offense. He finishes 4th on the team in receptions behind A.J. Brown, Adam Humphries and Jonnu Smith.

Graver: Corey Davis. When Davis was selected with the 5th overall pick, I thought the Titans had found their star receiver of the future. As we all know, they did eventually find that guy… in the second round of the 2019 draft. While we all hope Davis can finally show up big-time on the stat sheet, I think he has another average season, which I expect to be his last in two-tone blue.

SuperHorn: Rashaan Evans. The light hasn’t come on for him yet. It may never. When the play is in front of him, and he can attack downhill, he can produce some great plays. New England comes to mind. But, he struggles to feel space in the passing game, his reads are slow, and he lacks the explosion to create TFLs.

Greenlaw: Rashaan Evans in coverage. I believe that Evans continues to be a menace in the run game, but is unable to take the next step and become a good coverage backer as well. The Titans realize that he doesn’t shine here, and instead they let him rush the passer more often, which proves to be an excellent decision.

Hong: Harold Landry. Although Landry had 9 sacks in 2019, this improvement in sacks was not due to his development, but just an increase in opportunities. Landry converted a high percentage of his pressures into sacks, which is not a stable metric. Landry still needs to diversify his pass rush approach if he wants to maintain his high sack production.

Wisley: Jonathan Joseph. Don’t get me wrong: he is a great locker room guy and a great professional, but I fear his age will make him a liability in coverage.

Nelson: Not winning the AFC South. Look, on paper, this is the best team in the division. The question is if they can finally translate that talent to division titles. There are six games that matter the most in a 16 game season and that is between the division rivals. I’m preparing myself to see the Texans or Colts beat the Titans by a game to win the division again because, well, that’s what we’re used to.

Boren: Speed on offense. I have said this a few times throughout the offseason, but I think the Titans could have benefited from additional speed on offense. Kalif Raymond is a great story and a wonderful contributor, but he is undersized and I question his ability to hold up for an entire season. Without him, they would likely call up Cameron Batson, who has the exact same concerns. Speed would make this offense a true force in all facets. I think the offense will be good, but there was so much more that was there.

Watson: Jonnu Smith under-performs vs his expectations. I have said it before that I am a converted Smith truther. He has improved in every area of his game and is really a well-rounded TE. This is more a statement on how the Titans will use the TE position. There are simply not enough footballs to go around in this run heavy offense. Overall, he will be a very solid TE but one will have to read in between the numbers to see it. 

Lebowski: Tannehill regresses. Look, he still does well, but he is going to come down to earth a bit. This won’t prevent the Titans’ fanbase getting all twisted up due to a lull in his gameplay mid-season, though.

Martel: Ryan Tannehill. It’s hard to really quantify exactly why I feel like Tannehill will be a disappointment this season, however for all intents and purposes his 2019 season was effectively his best year ever — especially in regards to completion percentage, yards averaged per pass, and quarterback rating (the latter two he led the league in). Something feels off, though, and I can’t put my finger on it. Statistically, there’s no reason to think he can’t duplicate the previous season’s performance this year. It just feels like there’s going to be one piece of the puzzle that won’t work out for the Titans and, for me, that’s Tannehill.

NSC Coverage Crew: Ryan Tannehill regresses to a pretty average quarterback.

BSM Operations Department: Gostkowski kicks < 70% FGs but continues to be the starter because we’ve seen how bad it can get and the Titans’ count their blessings.

Overall Season Result

Glennon: The Titans will roll into the playoffs for the second straight season under Mike Vrabel, but they’ll fall one rung shy of reaching the AFC Championship game again. Baltimore will trip the Titans up in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Herndon: Titans win the Super Bowl. Why not the Titans? The last time we saw them, they were ending the Tom Brady dynasty in New England, pasting Lamar Jackson’s 14-2 Ravens in Baltimore, and giving the eventual Super Bowl champs a stiff test before seeing their pass rush wilt in Kansas City. With new reinforcements added in Clowney and Beasley, Tennessee puts the Mahomes dynasty on hold for a season.

Melo: Another loss in the AFC Championship Game, this time to the Ravens. The Titans have a great chance to make a deep run into the playoffs once again, but I feel like it’s Baltimore’s year. The Titans are good enough to beat anyone on any given day, but I feel like the Ravens are coming out of the AFC this season.

Lyons: Winning the Super Bowl. Barring injuries, this team is a Super Bowl team. It has the offense. It has the defense. They are a Top 3 roster in the NFL, and I truly believe they will win the Super Bowl this year. This isn’t just someone with “two-tone blue glasses” on. I really believe this roster top-to-bottom can beat anyone in the NFL.

Morris: The Titans come up short in the AFC Championship game against the Chiefs again. I love this team. They have a roster that, on paper, can compete with anyone in the NFL. My concern is that they finish a game behind the Chiefs in the regular season and end up in Arrowhead again for the AFC Championship. Even with the improved pass rush, the nod still has to go to Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.

Graver: Titans host a home playoff game and falter in the second round to the Chiefs, Ravens or Steelers. As much as I’d love to sit here and predict a Super Bowl run, the playoffs are an unpredictable beast. The Titans did well to advance to the AFC Championship last year against all expectations, but unfortunately, football development is rarely linear year to year, and winning in the playoffs is really hard. Will the Titans follow in the 2018-2019 Chiefs footsteps of going from AFC Championship to Super Bowl? Or will they be more like the 2017 Jaguars? Likely somewhere in between (and likely no where close to the 2017 Jaguars, to be clear).

SuperHorn: AFCCG loss to the Chiefs. The Chiefs remain on a different level than everyone else in the AFC. Their explosiveness is unmatched. I think the Titans can get back to that game, though. They are in the mix of the top 4 or 5 teams in the AFC in my opinion.

Greenlaw: Loss to the Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game. Despite winning the division and not having any glaring weaknesses, the Titans suffer the same fate they did in 2019. Patrick Mahomes is too much to overcome and the Titans enter another offseason trying to find an answer for him.

Hong: Titans lose to the Ravens in divisional round. While the Titans had a magical playoff run in 2020, the Ravens will be back with something to prove. I’m sure Lamar Jackson is sick of the narrative that he can’t perform in the playoffs and unfortunately, the Titans could be on the receiving end of that rebuttal.

Wisley: Super Bowl Champs. I say again: This is the year.

Nelson: Titans lose to the Chiefs in the AFC Championship. Obviously, not the result Titans fans want to see, but I think this is what will happen. The Chiefs are building a dynasty. In the end, I think quarterback play trumps everything and Patrick Mahomes will find a way to make it back to another Super Bowl.

Boren: The Titans win the AFC South but lose in the playoffs to Kansas City. This is obviously something that is a popular pick. The Titans are in a great position to take the crown from the Texans in the AFC South. I will say that the Clowney signing makes me much more optimistic about their ability to compete with the Chiefs and slow down the offense. Call me a pessimist but its just hard to predict a Super Bowl from this team. They will be in contention for it, though.

Watson: A close and entertaining loss to the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship. I hope to be proven very wrong here but this is a monster that will need to be tamed to get to the next step. The Chiefs have the ability to score in bunches and proved that no lead is safe in every game of the 2019 playoffs. The Titans will take that next step in winning the AFC South. But just as the Patriots start to fade from the dominate AFC team…The Chiefs seemed poised to defend that mantle for years to come.

Lebowski: Loss to Chiefs in AFC Championship. Love the Titans chances in the playoffs again, but the Chiefs continue to run amok and repeat as Super Bowl Champions.

Martel: Loss to the Browns in the Wildcard Round (AFC South champions losing to Browns WC team). Because I love the Browns and I can’t wait for this to happen!

NSC Coverage Crew: Loss to Ravens in the divisional round.

BSM Operations Department: Titans win AFC South and take a slugfest road to a Super Bowl Championship with Gostkowski redeeming his season with a walk off winner.

Comments

  1. Sell…

    Maybe off topic, but I’m selling Baltimore big time. Their offense was a gimmick, and it will go the way of all gimmick offenses.

    We figured them out with a good but not great defense, and it won’t be hard for the rest of the league to follow. Without Baltimore being able to keep defenses constantly off balance they will come down to earth quickly.

    1. I agree with this^. Baltimore is great. But our win against them wasn’t a fluke. Pees & Vrabel cracked the code and broke em. As stated, “with a good but not great defense”.

      Baltimore’s dominance (14-2) last year was more the result of how bad the AFC North became in the light of Big-Ben’s injury and Cleveland deciding to play football without an offensive line for a season. They were gifted 6 games and still managed to lose one of them to the Browns.

      1. Counter point: Baltimore’s offense is definitely great. Titans are specifically set up to stop what Baltimore did, but that’t not necessarily true for all NFL teams, which are typically building to stop the passing game. I think Lamar is not a spectacular passer, but in a 16 game season, with only a few days to prepare, their offense and its uniqueness…. I think they will still be a beast to stop for most teams

  2. Biggest surprise… hmm.

    ”Cameron Batson wins Super Bowl MVP with a 4 TD performance, coming in for an injured Adam Humphries and Kalif Raymond, shredding the Los Angeles Rams D for 278 receiving yards and 58 on the ground. The Rams come back though, and keep it close in the final minute where in a last ditch attempt QB Jared Goff makes a pass to WR Cooper Kupp who is tackled by LB Jayon Brown one yard short of the goal line as time expires.”

    You didn’t specify realism.

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