While we have known the Titans 17 — still getting used to that — opponents for the 2021 regular season for months, but now we know the details of the kickoff times, bye weeks, primetime games, and general arrangement of the schedule.
|1||vs Cardinals||Sunday, September 12th||12:00 PM CT||CBS|
|2||at Seahawks||Sunday, September 19th||3:25 PM CT||CBS|
|3||vs Colts||Sunday, September 26th||12:00 PM CT||CBS|
|4||at Jets||Sunday, October 3rd||12:00 PM CT||CBS|
|5||at Jaguars||Sunday, October 10th||12:00 PM CT||CBS|
|6||vs Bills||Monday, October 18th||7:15 PM CT||ESPN|
|7||vs Chiefs||Sunday, October 24th||12:00 PM CT||CBS|
|8||at Colts||Sunday, October 31st||12:00 PM CT||CBS|
|9||at Rams||Sunday, November 7th||7:20 PM CT||NBC|
|10||vs Saints||Sunday, November 14th||12:00 PM CT||CBS|
|11||vs Texans||Sunday, November 21st||12:00 PM CT||CBS|
|12||at Patriots||Sunday, November 28th||12:00 PM CT||CBS|
|14||vs Jaguars||Sunday, December 12th||12:00 PM CT||CBS|
|15||at Steelers||Sunday, December 19th||12:00 PM CT||CBS|
|16||vs 49ers||Thursday, December 23rd||7:20 PM CT||NFLN|
|17||vs Dolphins||Sunday, January 2nd||12:00 PM CT||CBS|
|18||at Texans||Sunday, January 9th||12:00 PM CT||CBS|
Titans open at home against the Cardinals
The Titans open at home for the first time since 2017 as the Arizona Cardinals come to visit. Tennessee is 2-1 on opening weekend under Mike Vrabel with wins over the Browns and Broncos the last two years after dropping his debut game in the Murphy’s Law game in Miami in 2018. That loss also serves as the only game that Vrabel has lost as a head coach with 10 or more days to prepare for an opponent. He’s won eight in a row under those conditions since that opener in 2018.
Tennessee and Arizona don’t play often, but their last three matchups have all been barnburners. In 2009, Vince Young produced one of the most epic drives in team history when he marched 99 yards in final two minutes and 37 seconds, hitting a walkoff touchdown pass to Kenny Britt as time expired to win 20-17.
Four years later, the Titans pulled off another magical comeback against Arizona with Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing for 402 yards and four touchdowns and helping the team erase a 34-17 deficit with just over six minutes left in regulation. However, the Cardinals would ultimately win in overtime thanks to classic back breaking Ryan Fitzpatrick interception.
The last matchup between these two teams came towards the end of the 2017 season when the Titans suffered a humiliating 12-7 loss at the hands of Blaine Gabbert that severely damaged their playoff hopes. Even as ugly as that matchup was — and it was a truly hideous affair — it still had a fairly memorable ending with an ill-conceived fourth down pass to Adoree’ Jackson falling incomplete to end Tennessee’s hopes of another fourth quarter comeback in Arizona.
This opening matchup will feature plenty of familiar faces for Titans fans, including Malcolm Butler as well as former AFC South foes DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt.
Other Schedule Notes
- First… WOW that stretch from Week 6 through Week 10 with the Bills, Chiefs, Colts, Rams, and Saints in consecutive weeks is brutal. Five straight games against 2020 playoff teams will tell us pretty quickly what this Titans team is made of.
- Nothing too bad from a rest/travel discrepancy standpoint for the AFC South matchups. Titans returning from a long trip to Seattle before hosting the Colts is offset by Indy making a trip west to San Francisco before hosting Tennessee in Week 8.
- Three primetime matchups — one each on Thursday Night Football, Sunday Night Football, and Monday Night Football — is just okay considering the Titans are one of just seven teams coming off back-to-back playoff appearances heading into 2021. The max number of primetime slots for any team is five, but the Titans getting fewer primetime appearances than a team like the Vikings is just laughable. However, getting two home night games is a plus.
- The late bye week puts some pressure on the Titans to really get off to a good start early in the year with the opportunity to rest up, self-scout, and re-tool certain areas won’t be available until they’re 12 games deep in the schedule. On the other hand, if the Titans enter their Week 13 bye with a strong record, the late break could serve as a crucial opportunity for this team to get re-charged just a month before the playoffs begin.
- Getting the Jets and Jaguars early seems like a good thing with both teams breaking in new head coaches and new rookie quarterbacks.
- The 49ers being forced to travel across the country on four days rest for the Week 16 Thursday night game seems like a decided advantage for the Titans.
- No long home stretches, but no long road trips either. Longest the Titans are away from Nashville will be two weeks (twice) and the longest period of time without traveling is two weeks (four times if you count the bye week). The segment of the schedule between Week 10 and Week 14 spans a full month and features just one road trip — to New England — while also seeing home games against the Texans and Jaguars. That could be the “get right” portion of the schedule after that ridiculous run of games ahead of it.
- My biggest complaint about the schedule is this… how did the NFL decide against making Titans-Colts the Week 18 matchup??? With apologies to Trevor Lawrence, isn’t it pretty clear that Tennessee and Indy are the clear division favorites? Why not put those two against each other in a potential battle for the AFC South crown? Instead, the Titans will finish their year in Houston for the third straight year.