No fear: My optimistic take on Tennessee's 2013 schedule

Marc Serota

The Titans face some big names, but they aren't as scary as they used to be. Why the Titans could rebound well this year.

I have seen a lot of Titans fans worrying about how dangerous the 2013 schedule looks especially with the back-to-back matchups with the Seahawks and 49ers. I may be too optimistic, but I really like the way our schedule is looks, and here is a week by week break down of why I'm not scared.

Week 1: @ Pitt.

Why are the fans scared of this? First of all, the weather is perfect! The average weather in Pittsburgh on the September 8, is between 70-75 degrees according to this. After practicing in the humidity and heat of Nashville this will be like spring break for the Titans. Also, this will be the first real game the Steelers play without Mike Wallace and James Harrison, both of which were key factors in the previous loses.

To sum it up, the Titans get to play in 75 degree weather, against a team that was only 8-8 last year. Not only that, but it is a team that they beat last year, a team that lost two key players, and a team that hasn't won an opener in two years. It may be premature, but I am going to call this one a win.

Record: 1-0

Week 2: @ Houston

This will be a tough one and we probably won't win. The Texans have lost some defensive players, and Brian Cushing will probably still be less than 100%, but they are the reigning AFCS champs in their first game at home.

Record: 1-1

Week 3: vs San Diego

The Chargers are another team with a big name, but no power to back it up right now. San Diego's offensive line is reminiscent of the line Arizona used last year (AWFUL) and all signs point to the Titans defense attacking more. Also, if the Titans upgrade their pass rush (and they have already helped a lot by adding starting caliber safeties) then an aging and slow starting Phillip Rivers could be in for a tough day.

Record: 2-1

Week 4: vs NYJ

Unless the Jets preemptively draft Jadeveon Clowney then we should blow them out at home. I really can't imagine any other outcome.

Record: 3-1

Week 5: vs Kansas City

So the Chiefs have the number one pick this year and a decent defense, but they will likely add TAMU LT Luke Joeckel with that pick, and they may not recoup their traded 2nd round pick. If they do move Albert for that pick, then they are essentially the same team just slightly better at LT. If they don't then they may only have two new solid starters. Keep in mind this is an Alex Smith led team without a SF offensive line or an SF defense to back him up, in Nashville so I am relatively optimistic that the Titans can win a close game.

Record: 4-1

Week 6/7: @ Seattle and vs San Francisco

The Titans may be a better team next year, but don't go crazy. These look like no-brainer loses until Jake Locker proves that he is at least a good QB.

Record: 4-3

Week 9: @ St. Louis

After a perfectly placed bye week, the Titans meet up with Jeff Fisher again. Jeff Fisher is a good coach and he believes in a strong running game and a good defense. Unfortunately, this is 2013 and he doesn't have the pieces he things he does. The STL defense is good not great, and the Rams don't have a proven option at RB, WR, or TE. Not only are they depleted at the skill positions, but their OL is below average and their safeties (or lack there of) are every bit as bad as the 2012 Titans' safeties were. Again this may be optimistic, but the Rams just don't scare me.

Record: 5-3

Week 10: vs Jacksonville

The Jags have no running game, Blaine at QB, and a new coaching staff across the board all of which point to a team with no identity offensively. If they try to run, the Titans should have the bulk in the middle to finally stop those gashing A-gap runs. If they try to pass, Gabbert's lofted balls should be attacked by George Wilson or the targets should be thumped by Bernard Pollard.

Record: 6-3

Week 11: vs Indy

The Colts could be very tough in a few years, but I think they are still very beatable right now. Their offensive line has some big holes, and the are losing some of their pass rush with Freeney gone. Changes in OC and the lack of the "Chuckstrong" motivation all play into Andrew Luck hitting a "sophomore slump" this year. I predict we will split with them.

Record: 7-3

Week 12: vs Oakland

By this point in the season, McFadden will be hurt and the Raiders' offense will be reeling. Even if they draft Geno Smith in round one, they only have the skill players to put up around 17 PPG. Much like the Jets, I feel confident in locking this one in.

Record: 8-3

Week 13: @ Indy

I said earlier I thought we would split with the Colts and I am sticking to that.

Record: 8-4

Week 14: @ Denver

Unless the Broncos already have their division locked up (which lets face it is completely reasonable) this looks like a loss. Von Miller is a destructive force on the edge and Peyton Manning is just too good to lose to a defense without any proven elite game-changers.

Record: 8-5

Week 15: vs Arizona

A porous offensive line, an unremarkable running game, and a quarterback incapable of putting up a fight will force Bruce Arians to struggle in his first year in Arizona. Unless the Cardinals defense adds some top-end help, I can't see the Titans failing to beat the birds in Nashville.

Record: 9-5

Week 16: @ Jacksonville

The Titans SHOULDN'T lose this game, but Tennessee plays some weird games in Jacksonville and I could see them looking past this game towards Houston in the final week. I'm being conservative with the wins believe it or not, so I will chalk this one up as a loss.

Record: 9-6

Week 17: vs Houston

Now lets think about this. The Texans will probably sweep the Colts and Jags, and already have a win against us. Now add in likely wins against the Chargers, Chiefs, Cardinals, Raiders, and Rams and they are at 10-5. Even if Tennessee beats them they will still have a playoff spot locked down because they will be 5-1 in the division.

If I were running the Texans I would leave my old (and easily injured) starters at home like Ed Reed, Andre Johnson, Brian Cushing, and Matt Schaub at home. If that is the case, JJ Watt might be able to win the game by himself but he didn't in 2011 when a similar situation occurred. I am going out on a limb and saying they sit their starters and let us win this one.

Final Record: 10-6

Before I get my head ripped off please let me say a few things.

1. Last year 13 different teams had 10 or more wins.

2. There were more teams with 10 or more wins (13) than there were teams that had 10 or more loses (10)

3. In this scenario, the Titans only beat two teams that had a better than .500 record: Indy and Houston (resting their starters)

4. The 2012 average records of the teams that TN beat on this list is .4033 (they averaged about six wins)

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