During July, the Last Word On Sports NFL department will be analyzing the schedules of every team in the NFL and ranking each game in order of difficulty (with one being the most difficult). This series will be split up into the eight most difficult games (ranked 1-8) and the eight easiest games (ranked 9-16) for each team. The Tennessee Titans home schedule seems to be pretty tough, with six of their home games making this list. The Titans will have every chance to win these games, but these will be the most difficult games during the season.
Tennessee Titans Most Difficult Games in 2016
1.Week 14 vs. The Denver Broncos
The defending Super Bowl champions will not be the same team they were last year. With a few key losses during the off-season, the Denver Broncos will have a difficult season. However, their defense will still be one of the best in the league and is bound to give the Titans the toughest fight of the year. The Titans have some nice offensive weapons in new running back Demarco Murray, second-year quarterback Marcus Mariota, and one of the best tight ends in the game in Delanie Walker. One thing that they lack heading into the season is a clear number one wide receiver. Their wide receiver corps in general is pretty weak and the best cornerback duo in the league, Denver’s Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib will blanket the Titan’s top two receivers, whoever they may be. The pass rush, led by outside linebacker Von Miller will keep the pressure on Mariota and with the passing game in check, running the ball will be difficult as well. It would be surprising if the Titans score more than 15 in this game.
2. Week 10 vs. The Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers might be the best team that the Titans play next year. The Packers are expected to not only win their division, but also be one of the top teams in the NFL. The Titans defense is respectable, not terrible, but nothing special. That Titans defense needs to be immaculate when they play the Packers if the Titans want to have a chance to win the game. Led by two-time MVP Aaron Rodgers, the Packers offense will light up the scoreboard all season, and that shouldn’t change at the Titans. The Titans have a pretty talented team, but nothing good enough to really give Rodgers trouble. Expect the Titans to lose this game.
3. Week 17 vs. The Houston Texans
The Houston Texans will be looking to finish their season strong, most likely with playoff hopes. With the whole Texans team motivated to get into the postseason as well as having the rival Tennessee Titans in their way, they will be extremely motivated. This is a similar situation to the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets game in the last week last year. The Bills were out of the playoffs, but the Jets were trying to get in and needed a win. The Bills spoiled that by winning, keeping the Jets out. The Titans have an opportunity to do the same thing to the Texans in Week 17, but facing a motivated J.J. Watt and company isn’t going to be an easy game.
4. Week 3 vs. The Oakland Raiders
This may be another home game, but this is not going to be a good game for the Titans. The Titans do not match up well with the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders can take advantage of the Titans weaknesses, and the Titans do not have the personnel to take advantage of the Raiders’ weak spots. The Titans offensive line is better but not good, and the Raiders should have one of pass rushing attacks in the league next year. That doesn’t spell well for the Titans or Marcus Mariota. The Raiders weakest link last year was their secondary. They added some pieces but it might take some time for the players to play well together. That is, if the Titans had players to challenge the secondary. They have no real number one wide receiver to challenge the Raiders corners and rookie safety Karl Joseph. Titans tight end Delanie Walker might be able to break free a bit, but the Raiders will have an easier time with this offense with no playmaker at receiver.
5. Week 1 vs. The Minnesota Vikings
This game was a bit difficult to rank. The Minnesota Vikings will have one of the best defenses in the league, and they very likely could have the best defense. However, the Titans have an edge because they start at home for this season opener, and the Vikings do not have a powerful offense. Young Vikings receivers Stefon Diggs and Laquon Treadwell will find it difficult to break free from Titans cornerbacks Jason McCourty and Perrish Cox. Expect this game to be low scoring, but ultimately resulting in a week one win for the Vikings.
6. Week 16 @ The Jacksonville Jaguars
The first of the only two road games on this list, the Tennessee Titans travel to play the Jacksonville Jaguars after a home game versus the Broncos, and traveling in a matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs. This is a very difficult three game stretch that is topped off by having to travel to Jacksonville to play a motivated Jaguars team that will be looking to get into the playoffs for the first time since 2007. The Titans will attempt to spoil this game for their rivals, but it will not be easy.
7. Week 8 vs. The Jacksonville Jaguars
Neither game against the Jaguars will be easy. The Titans first meeting versus the Jaguars will be following a Sunday game with the rival Indianapolis Colts and then the Titans have to play the Jaguars on short rest in a Thursday Night Football. The Jaguars expect to be a really good team with a great pass rush. The Titans offensive line will be tested, and quarterback Marcus Mariota better be ready for prime-time if he wants to beat Jacksonville.
8. Week 15 @ The Kansas City Chiefs
The second of the away games ends the list of the most difficult games for the Tennessee Titans. The Kansas City Chiefs will be another team with their sights on the playoffs late into the season. The Chiefs are a veteran team led by a veteran coach and will not be taking the Titans lightly late into the 2016 season. If outside linebacker Justin Houston is on the field for the Chiefs, it will cause for worry for Mariota. Houston is one of the best pass rushers in the league when healthy and will wreak havoc on the field. The Titans have the talent and the chance to pull this win out, but the Chiefs will fight tooth and nail to take this victory.
Check out the Tennessee Titans Easiest Games in 2016.