The Tennessee Titans will enter the 2019 season with the league’s ninth-toughest schedule. Their opponent’s combined record in 2018 was 131-124-1, good for a .514 winning percentage.
Nearly half of Tennessee’s games this year will come against teams that made the playoffs last year. Houston Texans (twice), Indianapolis Colts (twice), Los Angeles Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs, and New Orleans Saints.
And that’s not counting Tennessee’s season opener, a road contest against the Cleveland Browns, who most consider to be this year’s breakout playoff contender.
While the task seems daunting to say the least, this year’s schedule could be a blessing in disguise.
Because, for some reason, the Titans play their best against the best teams in the league. And it has been that way for years.
Last season the Titans had four victories over playoff teams. They defeated the AFC South champion Texans in their home opener, and the Philadelphia Eagles in an overtime thriller a few weeks later.
They defeated the division champion Dallas Cowboys, in Arlington, in a high-profile Monday Night match up, then returned home the following week to knock off the world champion New England Patriots…who suffered their worst loss of the season.
It should have been five wins, but a failed two point conversion on the final offensive play in London proved costly. The Titans had out-played the Los Angeles Chargers the entire second half, and seemed poised to secure the victory in overtime with a simple extra point kick.
But I digress.
Tennessee swept a Jacksonville Jaguars team that won the AFC South and advanced to the AFC championship game in 2017.
As an encore, Tennessee upset a heavily favored Kansas City team, on the road, by erasing a 21-3 halftime deficit in that year’s AFC wildcard round.
2016 was eerily similar to 2018. The Titans defeated five playoff teams that season (Detroit, Miami, Green Bay, Kansas City, Houston). They also eliminated Denver from playoff contention late in that season, who also finished with a winning record.
So fear not, Titans fans, when looking at this year’s schedule on paper. This team has consistently shown over the years to play up to the level of their opponents.
It’s the “gimme games” that have proven to be Tennessee’s Achilles Heel recently, but if they fix that dubious trend then a deep run in January is a real possibility in the Music City.
And that would be music to Titans fans’ ears if they do.