NASHVILLE – The Titans are pretty much at the halfway point of the 2023 season.
Eight games down, nine games to go.
Sitting at 3-5, the Titans have some ground to make up in the AFC South, as the team is three games behind the division-leading Jaguars (6-3) and also trailing the Texans (4-4) and Colts (4-5).
Here's a look at three reasons to be hopeful, and three reasons to be discouraged:
The rookie quarterback has given the Titans a spark the past two weeks. In his two starts, Levis has thrown for 500 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. He' proven he can sling it. No, he hasn't been perfect. But Levis has played with poise, and his youthful enthusiasm has been fun to watch. He should keep getting better in time.
In It, But Time to Win It
The Cleveland game was a mess. But aside from that, the Titans have been in every game this season, with a chance to win. The Titans lost by one point to the Saints (5-4), eight points to the Ravens (7-2), four points to the Steelers (5-3) and seven points to the Colts (4-5). Mike Vrabel teams consistently won these types of games in the past. The team can right some wrongs in the second half of the season.
If the Titans need a field goal to win a game, well, chances are Nick Folk is going to make it. Folk has made 27 consecutive field goals, which is the second-longest streak of his 16-year career. On Thursday night in Pittsburgh, Folk also set a new NFL record for the most consecutive field goals made under 40 yards. He now has 72 straight field goals from under 40 yards without a miss. Yes, I know everyone rather see him kick extra points, but it's good to have a reliable kicker.
Here's a look at three reasons to be discouraged:
The Titans are 3-0 at Nissan Stadium so far, and 0-5 away from home. Sure, it's a good thing the team finishes the year three of the last four, and five of the last seven, at home. But with the next two on the road – at Tampa Bay and at Jacksonville – these Titans could be buried at 3-7 if they don't become road warriors fast.
In past years, the Titans built a reputation for being bullies stopping the run. This year's squad hasn't held up its end of the deal. The Titans are ranked 19th on the NFL in run defense, allowing 114.8 yards per game, and they're allowing 4.06 rushing yards per play. They allowed 166 rushing yards against the Steelers the last time out. This better get fixed.
Red Zone Offense
The Titans are ranked 31st in the NFL in red zone efficiency, and 24th in overall scoring. Sure, the 28-point output against the Falcons was fun, but this team has scored 15, 3, 16, 16, and 16 in their five losses. The Titans kicked three goals against the Steelers. If the Titans don't figure out a way to start scoring, it's going to be a long second half of the season.