After a disappointing end to their latest season, the Tennessee Titans are gearing up for a rebound effort in 2022.
Tennessee will likely jostle with the Indianapolis Colts in trying to win the AFC South and should be in the mix to contend for the AFC title. With other powerhouse teams like the Kansas City Chiefs residing in the AFC, future conference results should be a big play for NFL bettors, especially if Kansas sportsbooks launch this season with proposed legislation in play.
So when the Titans square off with the Chiefs this season, maybe even in a deep playoff matchup, could Tennessee prevail? Tennessee’s sports betting apps already have released futures odds for the 2022-23 NFL season.
Titans Will Need Healthy Derrick Henry, Contribution From Rookie WR
Tennessee has become a true contender in the AFC under coach Mike Vrabel, but an injury to star running back Derrick Henry crippled the team last season. Though the Titans still finished with the No. 1 seed in the AFC, they were eliminated by the Cincinnati Bengals in the Divisional Playoffs.
Henry did return for that game against Cincinnati, so the hope is he’ll be at full strength for the Titans when the 2022 season begins. He’s arguably the league’s best tailback, and Tennessee’s offense is almost entirely built around him, so any chance the Titans would have of beating the Chiefs would likely come down to him.
It will still be important, though, for Tennessee to retain and add talent alongside Henry and quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The franchise made a major move during the 2022 NFL Draft by trading standout wide receiver A.J. Brown to the Philadelphia Eagles for the 18th and 101st picks in the draft.
Though the loss of Brown may have stung some Tennessee fans, what the team did with that 18th pick may have helped a bit. The Titans drafted Arkansas receiver Treylon Burks, a versatile weapon who totaled 1,104 yards and 11 touchdowns receiving for the Razorbacks last season.
“(Burks) has been an exciting player in the SEC,” Titans GM Jon Robinson said. “Big yards per catch, he’s a big target, he’s fast, he’s competitive. He’s a player we spent time with. He came here on a 30-visit and we got to know him. I am excited to get him here in the offense and watch him work.”
For the Titans to have success this season, they will need all they can get out of Burks. He was drafted to become the long-term standout Brown could have been with the franchise, and he’ll have to make an impact early if Tennessee hopes to make a deep playoff run this time around.
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Chiefs Look To Remain Dominant
Kansas City has been the NFL’s darling team the past few seasons, as quarterback Patrick Mahomes has become a true superstar while running one of the most impressive offenses in football.
The Chiefs have made four straight conference championship appearances, but their hopes to advance to the Super Bowl were thwarted last season in a close AFC title game loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. They won’t want that to happen again.
Just like Tennessee, Kansas City’s front office has been at work, bringing in talent for coach Andy Reid to utilize. In the first round of this year’s draft, the Chiefs drafted Purdue edge rusher George Karlaftis and Washington defensive back Trent McDuffie.
The two bring vastly different skill sets, with McDuffie a smart and athletic corner and Karlaftis a dominating presence at the line of scrimmage.
“Obviously, I’m going to start off as the lowest man on the totem pole and work my way up,” Karlaftis said, according to Yahoo Sports. “I’m going to earn my stripes and work as hard as I possibly can. There is a room with a lot of veterans and I’m going to try to do everything I can to help the team win.”
Still, the Chiefs will have to make up for the loss of WR Tyreek Hill, whom Kansas City traded to Miami in March. A speedy and dynamic threat, Hill is arguably the most explosive receiver in the league, so Mahomes will need to find another favorite target to throw to if Kansas City can beat Tennessee and make it back to the Super Bowl.
“We had to move on and try to get as much as we could for (Hill) and try to build that receiving room again,” Mahomes said, according to Sports Illustrated. “And do it to where we have the ability to go out there and compete every single week, which I trust Brett Veach and Coach (Andy) Reid will do.”