NFL: Tennessee Titans-Training Camp
Jul 26, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; during training camp at Saint Thomas Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Nobody is talking about the Tennessee Titans in the AFC

Remember the Tennessee Titans? Yeah, they were 30+ minutes of football from going to the Super Bowl last season. Then Patrick Mahomes happened, but still, a great year.

However, nobody is giving Tennessee any respect when talking about the AFC in 2020. Most believe the title-defending Kansas City Chiefs are the team to beat, followed closely by MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens. After those two? The Buffalo Bills, Indianapolis Colts, Pittsburgh Steelers and even the Denver Broncos are tossed into the mix?

But the Titans? Eh.

 

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Yet Tennessee might be a damn fine bet. The Titans are returning most of their key players, save for defensive tackle Jurrell Casey, slot corner Logan Ryan and right tackle Jack Conklin. Titans general manager Jon Robinson is hoping to replace the former with second-year star Jeffrey Simmons, and the latter pair with draft picks in second-round selection Kristian Fulton and first-round choice Isaiah Wilson.

Still, Tennessee was able to bring back superstar running back Derrick Henry on the franchise tag. The Titans also re-signed quarterback Ryan Tannehill to a lucrative four-year deal, keeping the offensively largely together. Factor in the maturation of budding second-year receiver A.J. Brown and Tannehill’s further development under offensive coordinator Arthur Smith … and Tennessee could be rolling.

So why the lack of belief in the Tennessee Titans? It might have plenty to do with Tannehill.

Through the first seven seasons of his career, Tannehill ranged from average-to-bust with the Miami Dolphins. Miami only reached the postseason once during his tenure and Tannehill never sniffed an All-Pro team, let alone a Pro Bowl. Then, after replacing Marcus Mariota in Tennessee last year, Tannehill exploded for 22 touchdown passes and six interceptions, while leading the league on 9.6 yards per attempt.

 

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And yes, Tannehill finally reached the Pro Bowl.

If you’re a believer in Tannehill, you should believe in the Titans. Tennessee has one of the league’s better defenses, especially after adding pass-rusher Vic Beasley to come off the opposite edge of Harold Landry. The offense also has the aforementioned skill both in the backfield and on the outside, giving the Titans a potent attack. And, lastly, the AFC South is not good. The Titans could very well end up one of the top four seeds in the AFC.

Maybe the Titans aren’t the Chiefs or Ravens (although they trounced the latter in January), but they deserve to be mentioned as one of their biggest threats.

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