Some of the sportsbooks have odds out on whether any team will join the 2008 Detroit Lions as the only teams to finish a regular season at 0-16. First off, I think that's highly unlikely, but I will say that Tennessee is probably the least-talented club in the NFL right now, and if they played in a tougher division -- i.e. didn't get to face Jacksonville twice a year -- then I'd say the Titans have a shot. By the way, that any team will go 0-16 is +3300.
I always take those training camp reports from beat writers with a grain of salt because they have such limited access these days, and many are afraid to rip their teams because then they might get no access. But by all accounts, 2014 Heisman Trophy winner and No. 2 overall pick Marcus Mariota has looked very good. Perhaps that just means the Titans stink on defense as Mariota no doubt will have steep learning curve coming out of that no-huddle, all-shotgun, up-tempo offense at Oregon. But I root for the guy. He was to make his NFL debut on Friday night in Atlanta in the preseason opener.
Other than Mariota? Nothing to see here. I do this for a living and I'm not sure I could name more than 10 Titans off the top of my head. The Titans were 1-7 on the road last season (same as home record), 2-6 against the spread and 3-5 "over/under." Their 2015 road schedule ranks as the fifth-easiest in the NFL with an opponents' combined 2014 winning percentage of .430. That's the easiest in the AFC South.
Here's the schedule with very early (opponent) odds. There are only two road games against 2014 playoff teams.
Sept. 13 -- at Buccaneers (-2.5): This game would get the lowest ratings of any in Week 1 and be totally ignored if not for a matchup between Mariota and No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston. Now it's must-see TV and probably will be shown in many more markets than it normally would. Mariota and Winston will be compared the rest of their careers. First meeting since 2011. Titans lose this. Key trend: Titans 4-6 ATS in past 10 as a road dog of 2.5 points or fewer.
Sept. 20 -- at Browns (-4.5): Cleveland is off a Week 1 game at the Jets. Too bad Josh McCown will be the Browns' starting QB here, barring an injury against New York, as it would be fun to see Mariota face another Heisman winner in Johnny Manziel. Otherwise this game is a dog, and I mean the kind with fleas. Titans lost 29-28 at home to Browns in Week 5 last year. Tennessee led 28-10 in the third quarter and 28-13 entering the fourth. Jake Locker was the Titans' starting QB that day but left hurt (nothing new with him). Titans pull the upset here. Key trend: Titans 5-5 ATS in past 10 at AFC North teams.
Nov. 1 -- at Texans (-7): This is the longest break between road games in the NFL as the Titans have four home games and a bye following that trip to Cleveland. Tennessee comes off a Week 7 game vs. Atlanta. Houston is in Miami the previous Sunday and ahead of its bye. Titans lost 45-21 in Houston in Week 13 last season, the most points they allowed all year. Zach Mettenberger started but left injured. Locker replaced him and threw two picks. Kendall Wright had seven catches for 132 yards and a touchdown. Titans lose this. Key trend: Titans 4-4 ATS in eight games at Houston as a dog.
Nov. 8 -- at Saints (-7): New Orleans is off a Week 8 home game against the Giants. This could be Mariota's first true road game if the retractable roof in Houston is open the week before. A first indoor game certainly can matter with noise. Titans have won four of past five meetings but lost last in 2011. They lose here too. Key trend: Titans 6-3-1 ATS in past 10 at all NFC teams.
Nov. 19 -- at Jaguars (-1.5): Thursday night game. And it will be the lowest-rated Thursday game of the year. Tennessee off a Week 10 home game vs. Carolina, while Jacksonville is in Baltimore the previous Sunday. Titans lost 21-13 on a Thursday in Week 16 at Jacksonville last year. I remember that game, having to preview it and then watch. Ugh. Whitehurst threw for 285 yards and a score. Titans lose this. Key trend: Titans 5-5 ATS in past 10 as road dog in series.
Dec. 13 -- at Jets (-4): Tennessee off a Week 13 game against Jacksonville, while New York is at the Giants the previous Sunday. Titans lost 16-11 at home to Jets in Week 15 last year in a game that featured a nice brawl. The Titans got to the Jets 22 with 2 minutes left before turning it over on downs with a sack and three incompletions by Whitehurst. Titans lose this. Key trend: Titans 6-4 ATS in past 10 at AFC East teams.
Dec. 20 -- at Patriots (-10.5): This is New England's home finale, and the Pats are off a Week 14 trip to Houston. With two division games to follow, I could see them sleepwalking through this one. Titans have lost five straight in series, last in 2012. Make it six. Key trend: Titans have lost six straight (1-5 ATS) as road dog of at least 10 points.
Jan. 3 -- at Colts (TBA): No line here with too many intangibles, and indeed the Colts might have nothing to play for. I fully expect them to have the AFC South wrapped up by now; it might just depend on a top-two seed in the conference whether the Colts care. How great would it be if the Titans were 0-15 and Indy sat Andrew Luck and others? Tennessee is off its home finale vs. Houston, while Indy is in Miami in Week 16. Titans lost 41-17 in Indianapolis in Week 4 last year, their seventh straight loss in the series. Make it eight if Colts care. Key trend: Titans 3-7 ATS in past 10 at Colts.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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