In what has become a tradition in Week 1, we have a double-header for the opening edition of Monday Night Football. The Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants meet in the early game, while the Tennessee Titans and Denver Broncos will close out Week 1 in Colorado. The Titans are aiming for a step forward after reaching the AFC Championship last season.
They went into Foxborough to upset the New England Patriots, which was the last game Tom Brady played for the Patriots. The Titans put the rest of the AFC on notice with that performance, but the Kansas City Chiefs were having none of it. The Chiefs beat the Titans by a score of 35-24 in the AFC Championship to advance to the Super Bowl and win it all.
Valiant effort by Mike Vrabel and the Titans, but they didn’t just have enough to cut down Patrick Mahomes and company. No shame in losing to the Chiefs, who are difficult to keep up with, and will be again in 2020. What do the Titans do to follow up this season?
That’s a big question which will largely be answered by the play of Ryan Tannehill. Many believed that Tannehill was going to be going elsewhere, but the Titans decided to open up their pocketbook and signed him to a four-year $118 million deal. Tannehill deserved the contract, but is he going to take the money and run?
He isn’t playing for a big contract any longer. That being said, Tannehill has the potential to lead the Titans to something special. When he was with the Dolphins, no one saw him as a franchise quarterback. Tannehill made the most of his opportunity following Marcus Mariota demotion to the bench.
Tannehill earned his contract with 22 touchdowns and just 6 interceptions on 70.28% passing. It certainly helps when there’s a bulldozer like Derrick Henry in the backfield. Any quarterback would love to have a running game like the Titans have. It opens up so much downfield.
Henry and Tannehill will not have to worry about Von Miller on Monday night. He’s been ruled out and likely done for the season after undergoing ankle surgery. The Broncos are hopeful Bradley Chubb can play, though. Head below for our free Tennessee Titans vs. Denver Broncos pick in Week 1 on Monday Night Football.
Tennessee Titans vs. Denver Broncos NFL Week 1 Betting Odds:
Tennessee Titans vs. Denver Broncos Prediction:
The Joe Flacco experiment in Denver was a major flop. He was useless and the team opted to go with rookie Drew Lock later in the season. Flacco was doing nothing, so taking a look at the second rounder out of Missouri was the plan for five games. Lock played the part and showed some promise.
He finished with 7 touchdowns and 3 interceptions on 64.1% completions. Lock was better at Mile High in Denver, with 4 touchdowns and 1 interception on 67.4% completions. Having the privilege of playing in the altitude in Denver and taking advantage of gassed defenses definitely helps.
The Broncos want to see Lock take the next step in 2020. This will be his first season as the full time starter after playing in five games as a rookie. He will be up against a competent Titans’ defense on Monday night. The Titans were 10th in the NFL with 20.6 points allowed per game. They added Jadeveon Clowney to the mix to hopefully turn their defense into a top-5 unit.
While the Broncos have the most notable defensive injury with Von Miller, the Titans are dealing with injuries of their own. Talented cornerback Adoree’ Jackson has been ruled out for Week 1. He was banged up last season as well, and I really thought the secondary was noticeably better when Jackson was on the field. His absence will hurt on the road. Along with Jackson sidelined, the Titans will be without pass rusher Vic Beasley.
In Tannehill’s last stop in Denver, he was miserable last October with no touchdowns and an interception on 13 for 16 passing. Henry was limited to 28 yards on 15 carries. Phillip Lindsay pathed the way on offense, as he rushed for 70 yards and a touchdown on 4.7 yards per carry.
My main concern with the Titans on Monday night is the altitude. I’d be less concerned if this were mid-season, but after the offseason we just had, conditioning might play a role late in this contest. Henry is one of the best conditioned guys in the league, I’m fine with him, but when the defense is sucking wind and has their hands on their hips in the fourth quarter, advantage Broncos. Public money will be on the Titans, but I will bank on them having a hangover of sorts in the altitude in Denver on Monday night.