2020 Tennessee Titans Predictions and Season Win Total Picks
Who is the only team in the AFC South to post a winning record each of the past four years?
If you guessed the Tennessee Titans, you would be correct. And if you didn’t guess the Tennessee Titans – the team that we’re talking about in this article – then you would be an idiot!
Playing a proverbial Game of Inches, NFL teams have a razor thin margin of error. The Titans are the perfect example. They’ve gone 9-7 in four consecutive seasons. During that span they have posted just a +59 point differential, equivalent to an 8-8 squad each year. Statistically, they have been a perfectly average team. Yet they have made enough big plays at the right times to parlay that into four straight winning years and two playoff appearances.
Normally it would be a red flag for me if a team managed to find the right side of .500 four straight years despite statistics that suggest otherwise. However, I feel like I have seen enough from head coach Mike Vrabel to understand that his Titans team is a reflection of his tough, no-nonsense, old school approach. Certain guys – Russell Wilson, Bill Belichick, etc. – overachieve versus the numbers every year. After a while, it stops being luck.
Vrabel and the Titans physical, no-holds-barred approach was on full display last season. The Titans won five of their last seven regular season games, beating Houston in Week 17 to secure the final Wild Card spot. Tennessee then proceeded to bludgeon the Patriots and the Ravens on the road in the postseason to earn a slot in the AFC Championship Game.
Tennessee, which was playing its fourth straight road game over a 21-day period, then took a 17-7 second quarter lead over Kansas City in the AFC Title Game. The Titans eventually ran out of steam. But that 35-24 season ending loss to the eventual champions didn’t detract from their remarkable run.
The biggest moment of the 2019 season was Vrabel’s decision to bench former first round pick Marcus Mariota in favor of Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill went 9-4 as a starter, completed over 70 percent of his passes, and threw 22 touchdowns to just six interceptions. With Mariota now in Oakland, Tannehill is firmly entrenched as the Titans leader.
A breakout season from thunderous running back Derrick Henry was also exactly what this team needed. Henry rushed for 1,540 yards and 16 touchdowns on 303 carries. He was even better in the playoffs, turning 83 postseason carries into 446 yards and two more touchdowns.
The problem with building the offense around Tannehill and Henry is the fact that neither player has been able to stay healthy throughout their careers. And Tennessee doesn’t have anything close to a competent backup for either player heading into 2020.
The Titans still have a fantastic offensive line and one of the best secondaries in football. They also have some momentum after signing Jadaveon Clowney. And they are going to continue to impose themselves on opponents with their physical, grinding style.
However, I don’t think it’s going to go the same way for them this year. At some point the numbers are going to catch up to them. Their defensive yards per point over the last two years are just screaming for regression and a bit of ‘bad luck’. They were also extremely fortunate in terms of starts lost to injury last season, finishing No. 3 in the NFL in terms of fewest games lost to injury.
That’s especially important when it comes to Tannehill. The reason that he ended up in Tennessee is because he couldn’t stay healthy in Miami. He missed total 24 games between 2016-2018, including the entire 2017 season. And if the injury bug bites at that position for the Titans then things will go sideways for this team very quickly.
Further, subtle personnel moves – losing defensive leader Jurrell Casey and defensive coordinator Dean Peas – could come back to haunt them.
I also wonder about how the Titans will be able to hold up physically after last January’s grueling postseason run. I’ve seen it happen dozens of times with teams like this. And when ground-and-pound teams slide off that razor’s edge things can go sideways for them – to the tune of a 6-10 slog – really quickly.
The Titans also have to face a brick wall of a schedule through the opening five weeks of the season. They will be matched up with several tough, physical, grinding teams that include Denver, Minnesota, Pittsburgh and Buffalo. That’s bad news for a team that could see a regression in terms of their record in close games and their injury luck.
Look, I still like this Titans team. I think Mike Vrabel is an outstanding coach, and I love how his teams play. But Tennessee has been skating the rail for several years. I think they are going to finally fall off, and I think that they are going to be a big disappointment. I won’t be stunned if they exceed expectations – again – but if I have to pick a side here, I’m going to side with the cold, cruel reality of NFL regression.
Take Tennessee ‘Under’ 9.0 wins.
Robert Ferringo has been the top football handicapper in the country the past 10 years, earning nearly $40,000 in total football profit (average profit: +$3,800). He has also posted 8 of 10 winning seasons (including four straight winning years) and produced an amazing 53 of 82 winning football months over the past 13 years. Robert has hit at nearly 60 percent winners over his last 1,000 totals picks and has posted 12 of 14 winning Super Bowls. Robert is looking for a fifth straight winning football year and wants more profit this fall. SIGN UP HERE TODAY AND TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OUR 3-FOR-1 FOOTBALL SPECIALS!
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