Here is The Game Day’s Tennessee Titans 2021 NFL Preview: 2020 Recap, Team 2021 Outlook, 2021 Betting Tips, and 2021 Fantasy Football Outlook. Be sure to check out more of our preseason NFL coverage here.
Titans 2021 NFL Preview: Tennessee 2020 Recap, 2021 Team Outlook For Fantasy Football & Betting
Tennessee Titans 2020 Recap
- Final record: 11-5 (5-3 Home / 6-2 Away)
- Division regular-season finish: First in AFC South
- Result: Eliminated by Baltimore Ravens in Wild Card Round
It came down to the thinnest wire, but the Tennessee Titans emerged as the first-place team in the AFC South at the conclusion of the 2020 regular season. Yet despite advancing to the postseason in three of their past four seasons — including back-to-back appearances — the Titans have yet to make it to the Super Bowl. Tennessee did make it to the Conference Championship in 2019, but saw a setback in 2020 and was bounced from the playoffs on Wild Card Weekend.
A notable reason why the Titans failed to win a playoff game last season was the fact that their defense — the secondary, in particular — was atrocious. Tennessee’s defense surrendered the fourth-most passing yards per game (277.4) in 2020, forcing the organization to blow it up this offseason.
Tennessee’s offense played well enough to make a run, averaging 30.7 PPG, good for fourth-most in the NFL. However, when your defense is yielding the ninth-most PPG (27.4), normally, you aren’t going to get very far in January.
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Tennessee Titans 2021 Offseason Changes
Titans 2021 Offseason Departures
- Kenny Vaccaro, S, Unsigned
- Adoree’ Jackson, CB, Giants
- Malcolm Butler, CB, Cardinals
- Adam Humphries, WR Washington
- Dennis Kelly, OL, Unsigned
- Corey Davis, WR, Jets
- Jonnu Smith, TE, Patriots
- Jadeveon Clowney, DE, Browns
- DaQuan Jones, DL, Panthers
- Desmond King, DB, Texans
- Kalif Raymond, WR, Lions
- Jamil Douglas, OL, Bills
- Matt Dickerson, DL, Raiders
- Joshua Kalu, DB, Giants
- Chris Milton, CB, Giants
- Arthur Smith, OC, Falcons (HC)
Titans 2021 Free-Agency/Offseason Additions
- Bud Dupree, DE
- Josh Reynolds, WR
- Julio Jones, WR
- Janoris Jenkins, CB
- Kevin Johnson, CB
- Kendall Lamm, OT
- Morgan Cox, LS
- Matthias Farley, S
- Ola Adeniyi, LB
- B.J. Bello, LB
- Bruce Hector, DL
- Woodrow Hamilton, DL
- Chris Jones, DB
- Todd Downing, OC
Titans 2021 NFL Draft Picks
- Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech (Round 1, No. 22 Overall)
- Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State (Round 2: No. 53 Overall)
- Monty Rice, LB, Georgia (Round 3: No. 92 Overall)
- Elijah Molden, CB, Washington (Round 3: No. 100 Overall)
- Dez Fitzpatrick, WR, Louisville (Round 4: No. 109 Overall)
- Rashad Weaver, DE, Pittsburgh (Round 4: No. 135 Overall)
- Racey McMath, WR, LSU (Round 6: No. 205 Overall)
- Brady Breeze, S, Oregon (Round 6: No. 215 Overall)
Tennessee Titans 2021 Outlook
Although the Titans boasted one of the best offensive units in the NFL last season, they suffered quite a few notable losses since they last took the field. Corey Davis, Jonnu Smith, Dennis Kelly, and Adam Humphries will all play for new teams in 2021.
Despite their losses, Tennessee did well to replenish its receiving corps. Not only did the Titans sign John Reynolds, formerly of the Los Angeles Rams, but they also made a blockbuster trade to land Julio Jones, the future Hall of Fame wideout from the Atlanta Falcons. As a result, the Titans, who already had a potent offense, will now have an opportunity to be much more dangerous. With A.J. Brown and Jones carving up opposing defensive backs, there will be wide-open running lanes for one of the NFL’s best rushers, Derrick Henry. And if the opposing defense decides to stack the box to contain Henry, expect Brown and Jones to be singled up for Ryan Tannehill to pick his poison.
The offense wasn’t Tennessee’s Achilles’ heel in 2020, and it won’t be their problem in 2021 either. Their defense, however, could be. As noted earlier in this preview, the Titans had one of the worst defensive units in the NFL last season, ranking among the bottom-10 in passing yards allowed, total yards allowed, and points allowed per game to end 2020. While their run defense was sound, the same can’t be said about their secondary.
Since Tennessee’s backs played so poorly, GM Jon Robinson elected to start fresh in 2021, moving off Kenny Vaccaro, Adoree’ Jackson, Malcolm Butler, Desmond King, and Joshua Kalu.
Kevin Byard and Kristian Fulton will be the only returning starters from 2020. They’ll likely be joined by rookie Caleb Farley and veteran free-agent acquisition Janoris Jenkins, among others secondary.
If they can figure out their air approach and get a productive season out of Bud Dupree, who Tennessee signed from the Steelers at the start of free agency, the Titans’ defense could take a considerable enough leap to make a Super Bowl run in 2021.
Tennessee Titans 2021 Fantasy Football Preview
From top to bottom, the Titans are ready to deploy one of the most fantasy-friendly teams in the NFL in 2021. While the offensive line isn’t exactly relevant, a team with a top-end front five will normally produce better and more consistent contributors to your fantasy team.
At the conclusion of the 2020 season, Pro Football Focus ranked Tennessee’s offensive line at No. 15 in the NFL. Coming into 2021, they’re ranked one spot higher at No. 14.
The Titans were much better at run blocking in 2020, which is no surprise considering Henry led the NFL in rushing with 2,027 yards and 17 total touchdowns. In 2021, Henry should once again be one of fantasy football’s most prolific backs. He ended 2020 as the third-best running back in fantasy points per game (20.7).
While Tennessee’s offensive line was outstanding when it came to opening up holes for Henry, protecting Tannehill was another story. The Titans’ front five was one of the worst pass-blocking units in the NFL last season, finishing at No. 25 in pass-blocking. The line did only surrender 25 sacks on Tannehill, however. If the opposing defense did not have to focus on one of the best running backs in the NFL, Tannehill would have been pummelled.
Fantasy-wise, Tannehill had a solid campaign. While he didn’t come with an expensive price tag ADP-wise, he finished as the QB9 in FPPG (21.8). That’s not too bad, considering the Titans are among the most run-heavy teams in the league. On top of being the sixth-best quarterback in yards per attempt (7.9) and third-best in true completion rate (97.4%), Tannehill accounted for 41 total touchdowns, seven of which came on the ground. Tannehill has a nose for the end zone, which will carry over into 2021. Because of his minimal rushing floor compared to the usual suspects, Tannehill should once again be viewed as a value at his current QB14 ADP.
If Tannehill managed 34 passing touchdowns last season with Brown, Davis, and company, just imagine the ceiling with the addition of Jones. Although the Titans lost Davis, Smith, and Humphries this offseason, they filled out their pass-catching group with the additions of Jones and Reynolds. At tight end, Smith will be replaced by Anthony Firkser.
Brown is one of the NFL’s best young wideouts. Entering his third year in the league, he could really do some damage, especially with Jones on the other side. You can’t double team both while Henry looms in the backfield, waiting to pound the ball through opposing defenses. We know what Brown can do. He was the WR7 in FPPG (17.2) and a top-18 wideout in yards per reception (15.3), yards per target (10.1) and yards per route (2.76).
Brown was tremendously efficient for a player who was 30th among receivers in targets (106). Going as the WR7 in PPR fantasy football drafts, Brown is a solid receiver to target. However, it may be wise to get him a few spots below his cost because of the risk involved. In fact, it could be smart to fade Brown at his current cost and snag Jones, who is going as the WR13, if you want a piece of this Titans receiver room. While Brown will be the big-play threat, there exists a world in which the Titans feature Jones as their possession receiver, which means greater volume. You don’t trade for Jones if you’re not going to take advantage of what he does best.
At tight end, fading Firkser appears to be the right call. He’s not expensive, going as the TE24, but if you’re waiting that long to grab a tight end, go with Blake Jarwin, who plays on a pass-heavy offense in Dallas.
Overall, the Titans should have one of the best fantasy offenses in 2021 individually. However, if you’re planning to stack the Titans, you’d rather do that in Best Ball formats or in high-stakes tournaments in which you need to get a little lucky and need a certain roster build to pop and get you over the top and into the money.
Tennessee Titans 2021 NFL Futures Bet Tips
Titans To Finish 2nd In AFC South (+125)
Tennessee’s offense will be outstanding in 2021. However, the defense will be worth keeping an eye on throughout the season. While they did make changes on both sides of the ball, the more drastic moves came on the side of the ball that didn’t need much improvement.
The Indianapolis Colts are the team I have pegged to win the AFC South. Naturally, since the rest of that division will be a mess — the Jacksonville Jaguars are a year or two away, and the Houston Texans are a laughing stock — the Titans are a near-lock to finish the year in second place.
Sure, I can make a case to flip-flop the Colts and Titans, but I will err on the side of the defense. I trust the Colts and their defense led by Matt Eberflus more than what the Titans are expected to bring to the table. As a result, I am snagging the Titans to come in second place in the AFC South at (+125) odds.
Titans To Make Playoffs (-165)
Just because I don’t think the Titans will win the AFC South doesn’t mean I don’t think they will advance to the postseason. Not only is there an extra playoff team in the current format, but the Titans still play in the AFC. There is arguably an easier path to the postseason for superior AFC teams than in the NFC, a conference with tougher competition.
As poor as Tennessee’s defense looked in 2020, they still won 11 games and made the playoffs. This is a good football team. They are a playoff team. I just believe their defense must drastically improve if they want to be legitimate Super Bowl contenders.
Ryan Tannehill To Win AP NFL MVP (+2500)
Since Tannehill took over the Titans’ QB1 spot from Marcus Mariota in 2019, he’s been one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Tannehill has posted an 18-8 regular-season record as Tennessee’s starter with back-to-back playoff appearances. What’s more, Tannehill has thrown for 6,561 yards with a 55:13 TD/INT ratio, adding another 11 scores as a rusher.
Last season alone, Tannehill accumulated a 41:8 total TD/ total TO ratio while leading the Titans to 11 wins and a division championship — a borderline MVP-level performance. With Julio Jones now in the mix at wide receiver, you can make a case that Tannehill will be in store for a career year. If that happens and the Titans exceed 11 wins, Tannehill will be in the MVP conversation when it comes time to vote.
Titans Over 9 Regular-Season Wins (-140)
I like the Titans to make the playoffs as a Wild Card team in the AFC. To get there, they will likely need to win double-digit games. Last season, Tennessee won 11 with a top-end offense and a bottom-end defense. While their offense could be even better in 2021, their defense won’t be.
We know they can overcome their defensive deficiencies in the regular season, but not in the playoffs. For this bet, however, regular-season wins are all that matters. Give me the over on this wager.
Ryan Tannehill Over 28.5 Passing Touchdowns (-120)
Tannehill threw for a career-best 33 touchdowns in 2020 with A.J. Brown, Corey Davis, and Jonnu Smith as his top pass catchers. While Davis and Smith are both gone, the Titans did trade for Julio Jones to pair with Brown, which will be a scary duo for opposing secondaries to cover.
As long as Tennessee continues to operate as a run-first offense behind Derrick Henry, Tannehill will remain one of the most efficient passers in the NFL who will pick apart defenses focused on slowing the punishing rusher. Accordingly, I’ll happily take the over on Tannehill’s passing touchdown total. I don’t know if he’ll get to 33 again, but he’ll certainly throw for more than 28.5 factoring in the 17th game and the addition of Jones.