By Ron Wynn
NASHVILLE, TN — Barely missing the playoffs by a game last season evidently cost the Titans some national attention, because they are limited to just one contest in prime time the entire year. That will be the third game of the season when they head to Florida for a first encounter with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Though they’ve gone 9-7 the past three seasons and reached the divisional final two years ago, there remains plenty of skepticism nationally over whether the Titans are legitimate contenders or perennial close but not quite types. This season should be a good measuring stick for determining that as the Titans have the ninth-toughest schedule in the league if you take into account the winning percentages of their opponents from 2019. Titans’ opponents went 131-124-1 last season for a percentage right at 51 (.515).
Tennessee opens on the road September 8, playing one of the teams many experts have pegged as a hot commodity. The Cleveland Browns, despite being only two seasons removed from a 1-15 mark, are being labeled as the favorite in the AFC’s North division. The Browns did close with a rush, and they made some key acquisitions in the off-season. The Titans will meet them in a noon contest to start the year. The next week they face the team that kept them out of the playoffs the Indianapolis Colts in the home opener. As they are no doubt tired of hiring by now, the Titans have never defeated the Colts when they had a healthy Andrew Luck at quarterback. Game 2, which begins at noon, would be the ideal time to end that situation, and also a good way to begin divisional play. The Thursday night Game 3 in Jacksonville will be September 19, and is airing on NFL Network, though there will also be a provision made for a local affiliate to carry the 7:20 game. The Titans wrap up what looks like a rugged first month with a road game against the Falcons September 29, once more with a noon start.
The Titans have three October home games, beginning with the Buffalo Bills on October 6 at 12 noon. Then the first of two games against AFC West opponents will be October 13, as the Titans head into Mile High Stadium to face the Denver Broncos at 3:25 p.m. The October 20 home game against the Los Angeles Chargers also has a late start, this one beginning at 3:05 p.m. The season’s halfway point is also the Titans’ third October home game, with a noon start time against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The second half gets underway with a November 3 game at the Carolina Panthers, which starts at noon. Then the Kansas City Chiefs bring their prolific offense to town for a noon game November 10. The Titans get their bye week before hosting the Jacksonville Jaguars on November 24, this one a later 3:05 p.m. start. The Titans will begin December on the road as they head into Indianapolis for a noon game. That’s followed by a road trip to a place they historically have never played well, as they’ll face the Oakland Raiders. The Titans return home December 15 to face divisional opponent the Houston Texans at noon. They are back on the road December 22 against the New Orleans Saints for another noon game. Then they’ll face the Texans for a second time, this one in Houston, for the final regular season contest December 29 and there’s a very good chance playoff possibilities and/or seedings will be on the line for that one.