Titans Preview Capsule

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Titans Preview Capsule
FILE - In this Aug. 17, 2019, file photo, Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel watches from the sideline in the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the New England Patriots in Nashville, Tenn. Vrabel might have a wild card in his pocket with at least 14 Titans, led by quarterback Marcus Mariota, in the final year of their contracts providing added motivation. (AP Photo/James Kenney, File)

TENNESSEE TITANS (9-7)

New faces: OLB Cameron Wake, LG Rodger Saffold, QB Ryan Tannehill, WR Adam Humphries, DT Jeffery Simmons, WR A.J. Brown, DE Brent Urban, DB Amani Hooker, G Nate Davis, TE coach Todd Downing.

Key losses: OLB Brian Orakpo, OLB Derrick Morgan, OC Matt LaFleur, LG Quinton Spain, RG Josh Kline, QB Blaine Gabbert.

Strengths: Coordinator Dean Pees’ return for second straight season gives defense chance to improve on 2018 when Titans ranked No. 3 in fewest points allowed and sixth defending pass. Secondary returns all starters intact, and Harold Landry III and Wake easily should combine for more than two sacks Orakpo and Morgan managed last season. LB Rashaan Evans, first-round pick in 2018, is poised for breakout after hamstring issue slowed rookie season. Return of three-time Pro Bowl TE Delanie Walker along with additions of Humphries and Brown surrounds QB Marcus Mariota with most help he’s had yet.

Weaknesses: Mariota’s health and whether he can earn new contract will linger all season, and Tannehill’s presence already has started speculation of how long Mariota starts. Four-game suspension of three-time Pro Bowl LT Taylor Lewan coincides with three of first four games on road. Titans also threw second-fewest passes in NFL in 2018. K Ryan Succop was on the physically unable to perform list until Aug. 19.

Fantasy Players To Watch: WRs Corey Davis and Brown. Davis led Titans in catches and yards in his second season despite lots of defensive attention with Walker out injured, and now fifth pick overall of 2017 draft can show off chemistry with Mariota. Brown brings size and strength as goal-line target.

Vegas Says: Win Super Bowl 90-1. Over/under wins 8.

Expectations: Titans are popular pick to finish last in AFC South despite going 9-7 each of past three years and being one win shy of second straight playoff berth last season. Second-year coach Mike Vrabel has been pushing Titans to go from good to great, and new OC Arthur Smith has tried to make offense as friendly to quarterbacks as possible. If Titans need further motivation, Mariota is among at least 14 players in contract year.

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