The Tennessee Titans 2021 NFL schedule features eight games against teams who went to the playoffs last season, including a three-game stretch in the middle of October against two teams (Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs) who played in last season’s AFC Championship game and their main AFC South rival, the Indianapolis Colts. That is not exactly an easy slate of games for a team looking to win consecutive division titles. If this goal is going to be accomplished, then the Titans will have to survive a tough first half of the 2021 schedule.
Here is a look at the entire schedule, with a complete ranking of the Titans most difficult games on the docket.
Tennessee Titans Schedule: Ranking Every Opponent By Difficulty
Week 3: vs Indianapolis Colts, September 26th
At least, Titans fans will not have to wait too long to get a taste of the Titans/Colts rivalry. Last season, the two-division matchups were completed in 18 days. Each team winning on the other’s home field. Both games were highly competitive and this year’s contests should be no different. The season series has been split over the last two seasons, but the Colts did sweep the Titans in 2018.
The Colts will have Carson Wentz as their starting quarterback, who is looking to rebound from a disastrous 2020 season. But, Wentz will be challenged by the Titans defense. The talent level between the two teams is razor-thin, so it’s very conceivable that either can win the AFC South in 2021. They’re that good.
Week 7: vs Kansas City Chiefs, October 24th
The hype for this contest should be sky-high. Like it or not, the Chiefs are still the class of the AFC, despite being out-classed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in last February’s Super Bowl. That disappointment should inspire the Chiefs to achieve greatness once again.
No question, the defending AFC champs will be the Titans toughest home opponent in 2021. The main reason is Patrick Mahomes who is a difference-maker when he steps on a football field. The odds are good that this game should be close, but the Titans defense must contain Mahomes’ playmaking ability to eke out a victory. The formula for success is to put pressure on Mahomes, but the Chiefs have done an excellent job of upgrading their offensive line this offseason.
Week 6: vs Buffalo Bills, October 18th
It is not a ridiculous notion to believe the Bills will be better in 2021. Josh Allen will continue to evolve into becoming an elite quarterback. A road win of this nature could kick start the Bills in a push to claim the top seed in the AFC playoff chase. However, the Titans will be a worthy opponent as both sides are eager to take that next step in becoming a bonafide contender.
The biggest question the Bills will have to answer offensively is can the passing game duplicate the same production from a year ago. The Titans are best known for their outstanding running game but do not overlook the play of their defense. It can neutralize the efficiency of the Bills offense. Expect a close contest between contrasting offensive styles and the loser will remain a tier below the victor.
Week 2: @ Seattle Seahawks, September 19th
Titans fans should get excited that the team’s first road game is against one of the top playoff contenders in the NFC, the Seattle Seahawks. The schedule makers were wise to give the Titans a juicy road game as it will be a good barometer for head coach Mike Vrabel to judge what type of team he has in 2021. Plus, Vrabel will see what area of improvement is needed to contend for an AFC playoff berth.
Indeed, the Seahawks are not built like their Super Bowl teams, but they still have Russell Wilson and a very good passing attack. One of the key matchups in this contest is how the Titans will cover D.K. Metcalf on obvious passing downs. He is a coverage nightmare as Metcalf has a tight end physique with world-class speed. It is too early to dissect possible coverage schemes against Metcalf that might be used by the Titans, but the secondary will have to limit his touches in the contest. Add the Seahawks famed “12th Man” who will be in full force inside Lumen Field for the 2021 season. And you have one of the toughest road environments in the NFL.
Week 8: @ Indianapolis Colts, October 31st
The schedule makers made a costly mistake in concluding the season series between the Titans and Colts near the halfway point of the 17 game schedule. It is weird to think that one team may sweep the series, but not contend for the AFC South title. This road game will challenge the Titans to win a crucial division matchup away from the confines of Nissan Stadium. Vrabel and his coaching staff will have the team prepared for this Week 9 contest. Fans can expect a physical game as the deciding factor could be which side controls the line of scrimmage. It may be a lot to ask, but sweeping a season series against your rival could go a long way for the Titans to secure the division crown.
Week 9: @ Los Angeles Rams, November 7th
Late season travel for an NFL team could derail their chances of making the playoffs. The degree of difficulty is contingent upon the players getting proper rest for the remainder of the regular season. For the Titans sake, their final trip to the West Coast comes on the first weekend in November. This gives them a huge advantage in hosting five home games in the final nine weeks of the season.
This contest will take place under the national spotlight as it is part of the Sunday Night television package. The addition of Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams lineup provides a much-needed spark to the offense. The Titans must pressure and contain Stafford in the pocket. It is the type of game that provides the competitive edge needed for a final playoff push.
Week 10: vs New Orleans Saints, November 14th
One of the positives of the Titans 2021 NFL schedule is hosting one of the biggest out-of-conference opponents in the New Orleans Saints. Despite not having Drew Brees starting at the quarterback position, the Saints passing game can still be productive. Yes, there are questions about the throwing accuracy of Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill, but the Saints playmakers (Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara) are still elite and can score from anywhere on the football field. The Titans might have to prepare for a more balanced offensive attack from the Saints. Still, this game might come down to which front seven can dominant play at the snap of the football.
Week 12: @ New England Patriots, November 28th
This game might move up the rankings after the first quarter of the regular season is completed. But for right now, this contest stays in the middle of the pack. The New England Patriots did a terrific job of re-making their roster this offseason. All of the newcomers are players who can excel in the “Patriot Way.”
This Week 12 encounter could have major implications in the AFC playoff chase. The fanbase at Foxborough is no longer guaranteed an automatic playoff berth like years past. The Titans defense matches up well to what the Pats do best: rushing the football. A tough road win against a Bill Belichick-coached team will put the Titans in a good frame of mind heading into their bye week. It could give them the confidence needed to finish the 2021 regular season strong.
Week 5: @ Jacksonville Jaguars, October 10
It will be the Titans first look at the Jacksonville Jaguars prized possession, Trevor Lawrence. Changes made this offseason could be the Jaguars last attempt at capturing some magic in Florida before the talk of relocating intensifies. The odds are good that Lawrence is the right remedy to spark an interest in the franchise once again. But it will take some time before the young quarterback makes his mark in the league. Nevertheless, Lawrence will take his chances against the Titans and try to learn his trade.
Week 16: vs San Francisco 49ers, December 23rd
It is hard to imagine Jimmy Garoppolo staying the San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback all season long. You have to figure at some point, Trey Lance will be given keys to the Niners offense. And what is a better holiday present than making your first NFL start on the road?
This notion becomes mute if the 49ers are contending for a playoff berth. The decision might come down to which quarterback provides an upgrade to the passing game. Still, Week 16 is a terrific opportunity to get Lance some playing time. But the Titans are well-coached and could give the young quarterback some fits with their sophisticated defensive sets.
Week 1: vs Arizona Cardinals, September 12th
Opening weekend in the NFL is the equivalent of Christmas morning for a football fan. It concludes the six months of hype, training camp and preseason football. Now, the games count for real.
The Arizona Cardinals are not the most ideal team to open the season against. Kyler Murray provides a high-powered offense a much-needed spark with his arm and legs. But if the Cardinals are going to become a serious contender in the NFC, then they must play better against the league’s playoff contenders. A Week 1 win could come down to which team forces the other into turning the football over and shortening the field for their offense.
Week 17: vs Miami Dolphins, January 2nd
This Week 17 matchup will pit two of the more defensive-minded teams in the NFL. On paper, this is expected to be a tight, low-scoring affair. Neither offense has a polished passing game, so running football will be the key to victory. Do not be surprised if the Titans or Miami Dolphins benefit from their defense causing a turnover that gains the offense a slanted field. This contest has the makings to be a perfect playoff preview as both teams are expected to contend for their division crown.
Week 15: @ Pittsburgh Steelers, December 19th
The odds are pretty good that this Week 15 contest could be the last time the Titans face Ben Roethlisberger in a Pittsburgh Steelers uniform. It will be hard to predict if the Steelers will be playing quality football in December. The disappointment to the end of their 2020 season raises questions on the direction of the franchise. If the Steelers continue to struggle, then 2021 could become a lost season.
On paper, this contest might look like an easy road win for the Titans. The Steelers offensive line appears to be the weak link of the unit and former Steeler Bud Dupree could have a field day in his former team’s backfield. Still, never count out Big Ben from having an outstanding passing day.
Week 11: vs Houston Texans, November 21st
It is impossible to predict who will be the Houston Texans starting quarterback this season. The controversy associated with Deshaun Watson has proven to be too much, too soon for a new front office to begin a rebuild. At some point, the Texans will have to move forward and remove all disruptive sources from the franchise. Unfortunately, that date might not come until the next offseason.
Week 4: @ New York Jets, October 3rd
The Titans will reunite with one of the franchise’s most productive wide receivers, Corey Davis. He caught 207 passes (11 TDs) in his four-year career with the Titans. But that was then and this is now. The reality is Davis will have a hard time navigating his way through the Titans defensive secondary. Plus, the New York Jets front seven does not match up well against the Titans offensive line. Expect Derrick Henry to have a big rushing day at MetLife Stadium.
Week 14: vs Jacksonville Jaguars, December 12th
Week 14 could be a fun experience for the home folks as Lawrence will be making his first professional appearance in Nissan Stadium. However, this could become a brutal afternoon for the young quarterback. The Jaguars offensive line is shaky at best and Titans pass rush could make life difficult for Lawrence. Jags head coach Urban Meyer may have to be conservative with his offensive game plan to compete against the Titans. Suddenly, Travis Etienne becomes the featured player in this contest. Meyer will get a better read on how far his team is away from becoming a competitive threat in the AFC South.
Week 18: @ Houston Texans, January 9th
Trying to the state of the Texans on the last weekend of the regular season is a very hard task. No telling who will be in their starting lineup as the rebuild for the 2022 season will have already begun in earnest. It is a little surprising that the NFL gave the Titans such an easy final game, especially with possible AFC playoff seeding at stake. If you do not win this road contest, then you have only yourself to blame. The Texans will be the worst team in the NFL. Case closed.
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