The NFL released its 2017 schedules for all teams on Thursday, and quality matchups dominate the road to the playoffs on the Tennessee Titans’ schedule.
The Titans play four of the six AFC playoff teams from last season’s playoffs, with three of those games on the road. The Titans open the season with Oakland, then travel to to Houston and Miami in back-to-back weeks to start October and to Pittsburgh on four-days rest for NBC’s primetime game on Nov. 16.
On top of that, the Titans host Baltimore and Cincinnati in back-to-back weeks to start November. The Ravens’ defense will probably keep Tennessee as close to one-dimensional as possible, so look for Marcus Mariota to deliver a win in a possible key game for the wild card race.
While the Bengals looked like crap for plenty of last season, they still have A.J. Green. The Titans’ secondary isn’t close to being able to stop Green, who will undoubtedly make most of Nashville look away with shame as he racks up the yards in that game. However, the front seven should get plenty of pressure on Andy Dalton, hopefully limiting that damage.
Just look at the list of quarterbacks the Titans will play this season, assuming all are healthy and with their current teams when the teams meet: Derek Carr, Russell Wilson, Ryan Tannehill, Andrew Luck, Joe Flacco, Andy Dalton, Ben Roethlisberger and Carson Palmer.
Sure, Tannehill and Dalton could have a bad game if the wind blows the wrong direction, but that’s still a daunting list. Keep in mind that the Titans’ secondary has a bad tendency of looking more like Vanderbilt or Austin Peay’s secondary.
While that side of things doesn’t look up for Tennessee, the schedule provides plenty of opportunities for Mariota to start making a case for being one of the league’s premier quarterbacks. He put on a show against the likes of Miami, Green Bay, and Kansas City last season. When the big-name quarterbacks show up on the Titans’ schedule, Mariota might be the only one keeping Tennessee on scoring pace.
Favorable Division Schedule
Look, the Titans are going to beat the Colts this year. Tennessee gets more than seven days of rest for both matchups — Eight days to prepare for the Monday Night Football showdown on Oct. 16 and 10 days between a Thursday Night Football showdown with the Steelers and the Titans’ trip to Indianapolis on Nov. 26.
Looking further than that, the trip to Indianapolis is the last division road trip that Tennessee has to make. The Titans host Houston the following week and Jacksonville on the last week of the season (please no disaster this year). That Houston matchup follows three-straight games against the NFC West, so the Titans should have a good idea of the weight of the final week of the season when the time comes.
No Holding Back
With the quarterbacks and teams the Titans will face this season, we should know pretty well what the team is capable of by the time Tennessee travels back to Indianapolis.
The Titans’ first six games are against five 2016-2017 playoff teams and the Jaguars in Jacksonville. Games in Nashville against Oakland and Seattle should show fans what the secondary will look like against the bulk of the schedule, while road trips to Jacksonville, Houston and Miami will test the team’s mentality.
We can just skip the Browns in Week 7.
Weeks 11-13 could make or break the season. Taking two of those three games is key: Winning in primetime at Pittsburgh or beating both the Colts and Texans in back-to-back weeks could be the difference in a division crown or missing out on the wild card.
The Full Schedule
Sept. 10 vs. Oakland
Sept. 17 at Jacksonville
Sept. 24 vs. Seattle
Oct. 1 at Houston
Oct. 8at Miami
Oct. 16 vs. Indianapolis
Oct. 22 at Cleveland
Nov. 5 vs. Baltimore
Nov. 12 vs. Cincinnati
Nov. 16 at Pittsburgh
Nov. 26 at Indianapolis
Dec. 3 vs. Houston
Dec. 10 at Arizona
Dec. 17 at San Francisco
Dec. 24 at Los Angeles
Dec. 31 vs. Jacksonville