The Tennessee Titans may or may not be breaking in a new quarterback. They will have an inexperienced one regardless, and the opening schedule for the 2015 Titans certainly does them no favors. Once again, Tennessee opens on the road, with a pair of games at Tampa Bay and Cleveland.
But there is another way of looking at the early-season schedule. It could be an opportunity. Tampa, like Tennessee, was but 2-14 last season—and we know they will be breaking in a new quarterback. The schedule makers may have expected a clash of Jameis Winston vs. Marcus Mariota in that game, whoever drafted whom. After that is Cleveland, hardly a picture of stability either with the uncertainty surrounding Johnny Manziel. Manziel, who just emerged from 73 days at in-patient rehab, is not seeming to be given anything close to a fair chance by Coach Mike Pettine or anyone in that organization when it comes to his on-field opportunities. So that game is not impossible either, even for the Titans.
After that comes a scheduling anomaly not seen in 25 years: four consecutive home games. The first of those are against the Colts who strengthened themselves to be likely the favorite in the AFC this season. Then comes the Bye week in week four. The Bye seems to come at an inopportune time, but we will know better depending on the start this team has by then.
Buffalo, Miami and Atlanta all visit LP Field the following three weeks making it six weeks between road games. So if the first two road games go well, the chance of a good start could be there.
Away games at Houston and New Orleans start November—difficult no matter how things are going. Cam Newton and Carolina come to town in week 10 before inexplicably, another Thursday night game in Jacksonville on November 19. Why the league would schedule that matchup on Thursday Night Football two years in a row is anybody’s guess. I am sure Jim Nantz and Phil Simms are just thrilled. Home games with Oakland and Jacksonville follow in weeks 12 and 13.
The season ends with three of the last four on the road in sort of a bookend. The Titans visit the Jets for their eighth meeting in 10 seasons. Then comes a visit to the defending Super Bowl champions New England, the home finale against Houston two days after Christmas. 2016 begins with a week 17 meeting with the Colts in Indianapolis on January 3. Yikes! So playoff prospects, as if they were not dim enough for this franchise in its current state, look decidedly bleaker with the beginning schedule combined with that finish.
The draft is next weekend and so many questions will be answered then. Will the Titans draft a quarterback at number two, or will they go with DE Leonard Williams (or someone else), or trade the pick altogether? Based on the current configuration, any schedule is daunting.
2015 Tennessee Titans Schedule
PS1 Aug. 14 6 pm WKRN at Atlanta
PS2 Aug. 23 7 pm FOX St. Louis
PS3 Aug. 28 7 pm WKRN at Kansas City
PS4 Sept. 3 7 pm WKRN Minnesota
1 Sept. 13 3:25 pm CBS at Tampa Bay
2 Sept. 20 noon CBS at Cleveland
3 Sept. 27 noon CBS Indianapolis
4 Oct. 11 noon CBS Buffalo
5 Oct. 18 noon CBS Miami
6 Oct. 25 noon FOX Atlanta
7 Nov. 1 noon CBS at Houston
8 Nov. 8 noon CBS at New Orleans
9 Nov. 15 noon FOX Carolina
10 *Nov. 19 7:25 pm NFLN at Jacksonville
11 Nov. 29 noon CBS Oakland
12 Dec. 6 noon CBS Jacksonville
13 Dec. 13 noon CBS at N.Y. Jets
14 Dec. 20 noon CBS at New England
15 Dec. 27 noon CBS Houston
17 Jan. 3 noon CBS at Indianapolis
*Thursday Night Football on NFL Network