NFL Betting Preview: 2010 Tennessee Titans
By: Bob Harvey
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
After an 0-6 start, Vince Young and the Titans finished 2009 at 8-8.
Chris Johnson became just the sixth back in NFL football history to rush for 2000 yards in a season, staking his claim as the premier back in the NFL. Besides leading the team in rushing, Johnson was also the team’s top receiver with 50 catches and 503 yards.
Now he wants to be paid accordingly.
The Titans' view is Johnson should honor the five-year contract he signed in 2008 that pays him a base of $550,000 per year. Neither side is budging – at least for now – and Johnson has hinted at a holdout.
It's what Webster's defines as an impasse.
If the Titans are serious about challenging the Colts and Texans in the AFC South than it would probably be a good idea to get this taken care of before September.
Tennessee on Offense
Johnson's story was just part of the 2009 campaign. Vince Young won eight of his 10 starts after taking over a NFL football team that started 0-6 and finish 8-8. He ended up with 1,879 yards and 10 touchdown passes, and was also the Titans' second leading rusher behind Johnson with 288 yards.
Young will never put up numbers like Drew Brees but he’s a proven winner and is 26-13 as an NFL starter.
Overall Tennessee ranked second in the NFL in rushing last season with 162 yards per game and was 12th with 351.4 YPG. Do the math. Most of the offense came from Johnson.
Tennessee on Defense
This unit needs help and in a hurry. The Titans secondary was scorched in '09 allowing an AFC-worst 258 passing yards per game. The defense ranked 28th overall giving up 365.6 YPG while surrendering a whopping 25.1 points per game.
The Titans did help themselves by signing free agent LB Will Witherspoon from the Eagles and selecting DE Derrick Morgan from Georgia Tech in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft.
Tennessee also picked up a trio of rookie defensive backs, selecting UCLA corner Alterraun Verner, safety Robert Johnson from Utah and safety Myron Rolle from Florida State. The Titans' defense should be better but the question is by how much? They can’t be much worse than they were a year ago.
Why I like Tennessee’s chances
As long as Jeff Fisher remains Titans head coach, they’ll always be a factor in the AFC South. Fisher doesn’t get near the credit he should and maybe that’s because he hasn’t won the big game yet. He’s got every attribute you would want in a coach: Tough, fair, honest and articulate, which is a must in the PR-oriented NFL.
Fisher never gave up despite losing his first six games in 2009, but more importantly the team never gave up on him. If Johnson and the team can get the financial stuff ironed out and if Young can keep his head screwed on straight, this team could surprise a few people on offense.
I’m betting on it. The Titans were 6-10 ATS last season including a 3-5 record both at home and on the road. They went 9-7 to the over but stayed below the number in five of their final six games.
Tennessee's bottom line and betting odds
The Titans were a one-dimensional team last season and that needs to improve. They’re wafer thin at wide receiver and don’t have a great deal of depth behind Johnson in the backfield. The defense is another couple of years away from being a factor and they have the misfortune of playing in the same division as the best player in the NFL.
A fair question would be which Titans team will we see in 2010? Will it be the one that started out 0-6 or the won that finished at 8-2?
The sports books have the Titans at 28/1 to win the Super Bowl. Tennessee is 15/1 to capture the AFC championship and 7/2 to grab the AFC South crown. The 'over/under' on the Titans win total opened and remains at eight games.