What to Watch For: Titans 2021 Schedule Notes

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PLAYOFF OPPONENTS: The Titans have eight total games against seven total playoff teams from last season, including five consecutive games from Oct. 18 to Nov. 14: Indianapolis (Sept. 26 at home, Oct. 31 on the road), Buffalo (Oct. 18), Kansas City (Oct. 24), at Los Angeles Rams (Nov. 7), New Orleans (Nov. 14), at Pittsburgh (Dec. 19) and at Seattle (Sept. 19). The eight games against incumbent playoff teams sets a franchise high since the team became the Titans in 1999.

PRIMETIME APPEARANCES: This marks the second consecutive season for the Titans with three primetime games on the initial schedule. A fourth primetime date was added for a Tuesday night during the 2020 campaign (against Buffalo).

STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE: The Titans' schedule is tied for the 13th most difficult in the NFL based upon their opponents' combined 2020 winning percentage of .507 (138-134).

CONSECUTIVE WINNING SEASONS: The Titans have had a winning record each season since general manager Jon Robinson arrived in 2016. After going 9-7 each year from 2016 to 2019 and then achieving an 11-5 finish in 2020, a sixth consecutive season above .500 would tie a franchise-best streak. The only previous stretch in which the club achieved at least six straight winning records was 1987 to 1993.

VRABEL COULD MATCH FRANCHISE FEAT: With a winning record in 2021, Mike Vrabel would become the only head coach in franchise history other than Jack Pardee (1990–1993) to begin his tenure with at least four consecutive winning campaigns. Vrabel, who arrived in 2018, already joined Pardee as the only head coaches in team annals with three consecutive seasons over .500 to begin their careers.

VRABEL TO COACH AGAINST ALL THREE FORMER TEAMS: The Titans play all three franchises where head coach Mike Vrabel spent time as a player: against Kansas City (Oct. 24), at New England (Nov. 28) and at Pittsburgh (Dec. 19).

FIRST-PLACE SCHEDULE: Every NFL team has two intraconference games and one interconference matchup based on the previous season's standings. The Titans host the AFC West champion Chiefs (Oct. 14) and NFC South champion Saints (Nov. 14) and visit the AFC North champion Steelers (Dec. 19) as a result of each team's first-place finish in 2020.

ROOKIE QUARTERBACKS: Five quarterbacks were selected in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, and the Titans could see four of them in 2021: Jacksonville's Trevor Lawrence (first-overall pick; Oct. 10 and Dec. 12), the New York Jets' Zach Wilson (second overall; Oct. 3), San Francisco's Trey Lance (third overall; Dec. 23) and New England's Mac Jones (15th overall; Nov. 28). Chicago, with rookie Justin Fields (11th overall), is the only team that drafted a signal caller in the first round and will not play the Titans this season.

FACING TOP OFFENSES AND DEFENSES: The Titans host two of the top three offensive teams from 2020 in back-to-back weeks. The Bills, who tied with the Titans for the second-ranked offense a year ago, travel to Nissan Stadium on Oct. 18, while the top-ranked Chiefs offense arrives Oct. 24. Additionally, the Titans have road dates with two of the top three defenses from 2020, visiting the No. 1 ranked Rams (Nov. 7) and third-ranked Steelers (Dec. 19).

HEAD COACHING EXPERIENCE: The Titans face the third-winningest head coach in NFL history in New England's Bill Belichick (Nov. 28), but they also play five total games against first-year NFL head coaches: Jacksonville's Urban Meyer (Oct. 10 and Dec. 12), Houston's David Culley (Nov. 21 and Jan. 9) and the New York Jets' Robert Saleh (Oct. 3).

AFC SOUTH COACHES AND QBS: Within the AFC South, the Titans are the only club without a new head coach and/or a projected new starting quarterback. The Jaguars are led by first-year head coach Urban Meyer with rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence, while Texans head coach David Culley is in his first year at the helm. In Indianapolis, veteran quarterback Carson Wentz was acquired in a trade from the Philadelphia Eagles.

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