NASHVILLE, Tenn. —** The Tennessee Titans (0-0) open the regular season this week by hosting the defending NFC North Champion Minnesota Vikings (0-0). Kickoff at Nissan Stadium (capacity 69,143) is scheduled for noon CDT on Sunday, Sept. 11.
The Titans, who carry into the game a three-game winning streak on opening day, are 30-26 all-time as a franchise in Week 1, including a 5-3 Kickoff Weekend record at Nissan Stadium. They have not opened the regular season at home since 2012. In 2013, they went to Pittsburgh in Week 1 and won, followed by opening day victories at Kansas City in 2014 and at Tampa Bay in 2015.
The Titans and Vikings have met only 12 total times in the regular season, but their shared history does include one opener: 1989. The Vikings won that contest at home and lead the all-time series 8-4.
LP PENCIL BOX SCHOOL SUPPLY DRIVE
Fans attending the game are encouraged to participate in the LP PENCIL Box School Supply Drive. LP PENCIL Box, a collaborative non-profit venture between PENCIL Foundation and LP Building Products, offers Nashville Metro teachers the opportunity to acquire school supplies for the city's most in-need children. Collection locations will be positioned outside of Nissan Stadium to collect donated items, the most needed of which are pencil boxes, paper towels, backpacks, construction paper, notebook paper, art supplies, primary tablets, Kleenex and classroom cleaning supplies.
This week's game will be televised regionally on FOX, including Nashville affiliate WZTV FOX 17. Play-by-play announcer Dick Stockton will call the action alongside analyst Chris Spielman. Kristina Pink will report from the sidelines.
The Titans Radio Network, including Nashville flagship 104.5 The Zone, will carry the game across the Mid-South with the "Voice of the Titans" Mike Keith, analyst Frank Wycheck, gameday host Rhett Bryan and sideline reporter Jonathan Hutton.
NEW-LOOK TITANS READY FOR REGULAR SEASON
After finishing the preseason with a 3-1 record, the Titans embark on the regular season for the first time under general manager Jon Robinson and head coach Mike Mularkey. Mularkey, who is in his 31st season in the NFL (nine as a player and 22 as a coach), served as the interim head coach for the final nine games of 2015 before he was named to the job on a full-time basis in January. Robinson spent the last two seasons as director of player personnel for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers following a 12-year stint in the scouting department of the New England Patriots, including five seasons (2009–2013) as their director of college scouting.
The makeup of the Titans roster looks significantly different from the one Mularkey and Robinson inherited. Currently, 22 of the 53 players on the active roster (as of Sept. 5) were not on it in 2015, a turnover rate of 41.5 percent. Among the new faces are right tackle Jack Conklin, the eighth-overall draft choice and the first of nine 2016 draft picks who remain on the active roster; running backs DeMarco Murray (aquired in a trade) and Derrick Henry (one of three second-round picks); center Ben Jones (free agent); wide receivers Rishard Matthews (free agent), Andre Johnson (free agent) and Tajae Sharpe (fifth-round draft pick); and safety Rashad Johnson (free agent).
The Titans return two Pro Bowl standouts from 2015: tight end Delanie Walker and defensive tackle Jurrell Casey. Additionally, quarterback Marcus Mariota enters his second NFL season. The 2015 first-round pick broke virtually every rookie passing record for the franchise, and his 91.5 passer rating is surpassed in franchise annals by only Steve McNair in his MVP season of 2003 (100.4) and Hall of Famer Warren Moon in 1990 (96.8). Mariota's 62.2 completion percentage not only set the franchise rookie record but also qualified as the fifth-highest rookie percentage in NFL history.
IKINGS ENTER THIRD YEAR UNDER ZIMMER**
The Vikings, who went 4-0 during the preseason, won the NFC North in 2015, Mike Zimmer's second year as the team's head coach. In their first playoff appearance since 2009, they were defeated 10-9 at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks during the Wild Card Round.
The Vikings will be without one of their protagonists this week and for the entire 2016 campaign. Third-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was sidelined with a knee injury on Aug. 30 and was subsequently placed on injured reserve.
With Minnesota suddenly in need of a quarterback, the Vikings pulled off a major trade on Sept. 3 to acquire veteran Sam Bradford from the Philadelphia Eagles. The Vikings sent the Eagles a 2017 first-round draft pick plus a conditional pick in 2018 for the rights to Bradford, a former first-overall draft pick entering his seventh season. Bradford has passed for 14,790 career yards and 78 touchdowns in 63 games. He joins 15th-year veteran Shaun Hill as the two active quarterbacks on the roster.
The Vikings possess one of the most feared rushing attacks in the NFL, courtesy of Adrian Peterson. Since entering the league in 2007, the 6-foot-1, 220-pound tailback has rushed for 11,675 yards and 97 touchdowns. His career average of 4.90 yards per carry ranks fourth in NFL history.
A photographic look at the 2016 Tennessee Titans as of Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016.