Two years ago I predicted 6 out of 8 division winners, Last year I predicted 5 out of 8 divisions winners. My goal this season…. Get 7 out of 8 correct.
Training camp is 1 week away, and for NFL fans, it can’t come quick enough. For 7 years in a row, Sunday Night Football has been the number 1 rated, primetime TV show. Despite some talk of the NFL floundering, it has never been more popular.
The AFC South has the potential to be the best division in football. The reasoning is simple, This division has a great group of young quarterbacks on the rise in Marcus Mariota, Blake Bortles, Deshaun Watson and Andrew Luck is finally healthy.
Tennessee Titans (Last season record 9-7): Prediction…11-5.
After two and half seasons of mediocrity, the Titans fired (Mr. Conservative on offense), Mike Mularkey. Hall of Fame coach, Bill Parcells once said, “You are what your record is.” Mularkey had a career record of 36-53.
Mike Vrabel is now leading the Titans on the sidelines and has hired a very qualified staff. Matt LaFleur is the offensive coordinator and will do great things for Marcus Mariota. LaFleur spent the 2017 season as the Rams offensive coordinator and helped Los Angeles rank first in the NFL in scoring and 10th in total offense. He spent four season as the Atlanta Falcons quarterback coach and helped Matt Ryan become an all-pro player.
Dan Pees will be the defensive coordinator, he spent the past 5 years running the Baltimore Ravens defense and helped them win a Super Bowl in 2012.
After 2 solid seasons under center, Mariota took a huge step back in 2017. There offense was boring and predictable but let me make this perfectly clear. This is a make or break year for Mariota. We saw signs of what he can do in the 2nd half of their wildcard playoff win against the Kansas City Chiefs. Mariota has all the skills to be an elite quarterback and LaFleur should implement an up-tempo, high powered offense. Mariota should pass for over 3500 yards and rush for at least 500 yards, and have over 33 combines touchdowns. I like the young and improving wide receiving group and the addition of Dion Lewis, from the Patriots, should help their passing and running attack. TE, Dealnie Walker is still very solid and had 74 receptions last year.
The Titans should improve defensively. General manager Jon Robinson was aggressive acquiring rookie linebackers, Alabama’s Rashaan Evans and Boston College sack artist Harold Landry. The acquisition of defensive back Malcolm Butler was one of the most underrated moves by any team in the off-season. Butler should add leadership,experience and bring a long a championship pedigree from New England. I expect Pees to bring a toughness and discipline to this defense that might have been lacking over the past few seasons.
On paper, the Titans have had one of the best off-seasons of any team. I love their coaching staff, their young draft picks and their free agent signings.
If he stays healthy, Mariota would be a great, late 2nd round pick in your fantasy football draft. If Tennessee won 9 games under Mularkey, imagine what they can do with Vrabel. I expect the former New England Patriots linebacker to get some coach of the year votes.
Titans win this division and will get better every week.
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