After two consecutive ‘good’ seasons, fans of the Tennessee Titans could be raising their expectations heading into the 2021 season. Following their first season with double-digit wins and their first division title since 2008, they could be ready to roll once again. But does that mean they will be a good bet in 2021?
Not necessarily. But it does not mean they will be a bad bet either. While they did lose some personnel (players and coaches) in the offseason, they made some solid additions via free agency and the draft. But did they make the right additions?
How competitive will they be in the 2021 NFL season? Are they worth betting on?
DERRICK HENRY JUST RAGDOLLED JOSH NORMAN ?
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 14, 2020
2021 Tennessee Titans Preview
After a surprising run to the AFC title game in 2019, fans were eager to see how their team would fare in 2020. While they did not make it past the wild card round, fans learned many good things. Ryan Tannehill was not a flash-in-the-pan and appeared to be a legitimate NFL quarterback.
Oh—and Derrick Henry is a beast (but there was not any doubt about that).
There were some question marks following the 2020 season, though. While the offense was one of the better ones in the league, the defense was one of the worst. So, heading into the offseason, the focus was on not taking a step back on offense while figuring out how to play better on defense.
With the return of Taylor Lewan, the offensive line (which ranked 15th overall but struggled in pass protection) should be better. While most of the primary contributors are back, the Titans lost a few key role players (i.e., Johnu Smith, Corey Davis, Adam Humphries).
But the bigger question may be whether the Titans will miss offensive coordinator Arthur Smith.
After losing defensive coordinator Dean Pees following the 2019 season, the unit went downhill. While there was not an official coordinator last season, linebackers coach Shane Bowen called the plays.
Bowen is the defensive coordinator heading into the 2021 season. He will have his work cut out for him getting the unit turned around. But the team did focus on defenders in free agency and the draft. So, he will have several new players to work with.
Will they be enough? Is he up to the task?
Tennessee Titans Future Sports Betting Odds
|Win Total (Over/Under)||9.5 (+133/-162)||9.5 (+133/-162)||9.5 (+133/-162)|
From the odds, it does not look like oddsmakers have high expectations for the Tennessee Titans in 2021. Most favor the Indianapolis Colts over the Titans to win the AFC South but think Tennessee will make the playoffs.
Once they get there, oddsmakers do not appear to expect anything from them. They may be selling the Titans short or might be banking on a regression from Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry. If that is the case—well, they might not be wrong.
Running backs that take on the workload that Henry did last season often fall back to Earth the following season. Sometimes the regression is not significant, but it often is:
- Chris Johnson joined the 2000+ yard club in 2009 (5.6 yards/carry) but came down to Earth the following year with just 1364 (4.3 yards/carry).
- Adrian Peterson went from 2097 yards in 2012 to 1266 the following year (6.0 yards/carry to 4.5); the decrease was much less significant from 2008 (1760 yards; 4.8 yards/carry) to 2009 (1383 yards; 4.4 yards/carry).
- DeMarco Murray gained 1845 in 2014 and was never the same after that. He dropped to 702 yards in ’15 (from 4.7 yards/carry to 3.6).
But there are plenty of guys who are fine even after taking as many hits as Henry has the last two years. If he is, then the offense should be fine. If he does slip, defenses will target the passing game. Can Tannehill carry the offense?
Ehh…maybe? If the defense does not play better, it may not matter.
What a bomb from Ryan Tannehill to AJ Brown!pic.twitter.com/14zh09Oyg9
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) January 4, 2021
Sports Betting Recommendation
In the division, their best competition will likely be the Indianapolis Colts, but only if Carson Wentz can find his game again (do not count on it). Houston is a train wreck, and the Jaguars are in a massive rebuilding mode.
Take the Titans to win the AFC South (and make the playoffs).
As for the AFC, at +1800 at BetMGM Sportsbook, they are tied for the tenth best odds with the Pittsburgh Steelers. For them to win it, well—it is an uphill battle. The Chiefs will be in the mix again, as will the Ravens, Bills, and Browns. It will not be an easy task.
But if the offense does not miss a step and the defense improves, they have a chance. It would not hurt to put a couple of bucks down (but not more than that).
Should they win the AFC, it is hard to see them beating the best teams the NFC has to offer. But if Henry can get rolling early, they can beat anyone. However, since it is doubtful they will even get there, they are not a good bet.
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