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Tennessee Titans 2020 schedule: Team must avoid slow start

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NFL: AFC Championship-Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Tennessee Titansschedule for 2020 was released Thursday.

The Titans kick their season off on Monday Night Football with their first of three prime-time games with a visit to the Denver Broncos.

Jurrell Casey gets an opportunity to go up against his former team right off the bat. Do you think he wants to show them that trading him away for a bag of footballs was a mistake? The first thing that stuck out to me about the schedule was that the Titans wrap up their season with five of their final seven games on the road. They’re not cupcake opponents, either.

Breakdown:

If the Titans want to get back into the playoffs and pick up where they left off, they need to get off to a fast start in 2020. As you surely recall, they did not do that in 2019. The Titans started the season 2-4 before making a change at quarterback and left themselves very little margin for error down the stretch. Luckily, Ryan Tannehill and company were up for the challenge. Still, that’s surely a scenario the Titans would like to avoid in 2020. Of the first nine opponents, only three made the playoffs last season (Minnesota, Buffalo and Houston), and the Titans have three consecutive home games in October that could give them energy going into a difficult second half. A fast start would go a long way in providing the team with some much-needed security heading into a tough final stretch.

Good news:

The Titans are poised to be a team that’s well set up for any potential hiccups in the 2020 schedule due to COVID-19. Continuity could be key for NFL teams as they potentially face a delayed (or worse) start to training camp. The Titans return 10 of 11 starters on what’s already a very good offense, and that one “new” starter is team-favorite Dennis Kelly.

There’s not as much continuity on defense, but it’s not like they’ll be rolling out a totally new defense either. The loss of defensive coordinator Dean Pees paired with no official replacement for him means that Mike Vrabel will be calling the shots on defense (likely with some help from assistant coaches Shane Bowen and Jim Haslett). It should be more of the same from a scheme standpoint, and the familiar verbiage should help Titans defense hit the ground running. With veteran leadership in the form of Casey, Logan Ryan and Wesley Woodyard no longer in the fold, the Titans will likely lean on players such as Kevin Byard, Kenny Vaccaro and Jayon Brown to rally the troops and help get new additions such as Vic Beasley and Kristian Fulton acclimated. A veteran addition like Jonathan Joseph who played for coach Vrabel (and new secondary coach Anthony Midget) in Houston should also help.

Tough stretch:

Young quarterbacks:

One final observation here. The Titans will likely face a ton of young quarterbacks throughout this season. Injuries or coaching changes can of course impact this fact, but the Titans are set to open their season against sophomore quarterback Drew Lock. Lock didn’t start playing for the Broncos until Week 13 in 2019, and enters the 2020 season with less than 200 passing attempts to his name. The young quarterbacks don’t stop there. The very next week brings a date with second-year quarterback Gardner Minshew, the Jaguars sophomore signal caller in the Titans home opener. The Titans will of course see Minshew and the Jaguars once again later in the year. They’re also set to play against Joe Burrow, the Bengals’ golden child in Week 8. It may be a stretch to call Josh Allen, DeShaun Watson, Mitchell Trubisky, Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson “young quarterbacks”, but the Titans are set to play against all of them in 2020.

In case you missed it, here’s another look at the complete schedule.

W9: vs Chicago Bears (12pm CT)