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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Mike Moraitis

Ranking Titans’ remaining games from toughest to easiest

The Tennessee Titans have five games remaining on their 2023 schedule before this forgettable season is mercifully put to bed.

We can’t say it’s been all bad, though.

The Titans do appear to have their franchise quarterback in Will Levis, who has struggled but shown more than enough flashes to leave fans excited for the future.

And, really, the entire 2023 draft class has been impressive in some form or fashion, with left guard Peter Skoronski and running back Tyjae Spears in particular showing they are also very much building blocks for the future.

At this point, the playoffs are all but officially out of reach, which means the best-case scenario is the Titans lose as many of their remaining games as possible in order to improve draft positioning.

The good news on that front is the Titans have a tough stretch of games to close out the season, with the Miami Dolphins coming up first in Week 14.

With the end of the season in sight, we’re ranking each of the remaining games, from toughest to easiest.

Of course, let me preface this by saying even the “easiest” game left on the schedule won’t be easy for what is a bad Titans team and Tennessee will almost certainly be the underdog in all five contests.

Now, the rankings, with one being the toughest and five being the easiest:

1. At Miami Dolphins (Week 14)

Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Dolphins’ current record: 9-3

This is the absolute worst matchup possible for the Titans, as the Dolphins have the most explosive offense in the NFL, particularly when it comes to moving the ball through the air.

Tua Tagovailoa is among the MVP candidates, and his top wide receiver, Tyreek Hill, is also in that discussion and arguably the best in the business. But the weapons in the passing attack don’t stop there, with the Dolphins having a talented young wideout in Jaylen Waddle, as well.

Tennessee’s secondary has been a sieve all season long when the pass-rush isn’t dominating, and now that pass-rush will be without Jeffery Simmons, whose absence will also impact the Titans’ run defense.

And, speaking of the run, the Dolphins sport the second-best rushing attack in the NFL, with Raheem Mostert having his best year as a pro. If that isn’t enough to scare you, consider the explosive rookie running back, De’Von Achane, who can take one to the house at any given moment.

Quite frankly, I’ll be shocked if Tennessee doesn’t get absolutely destroyed in this matchup. It’ll take an offensive explosion to keep up with the Dolphins, but that’s unlikely considering Miami has a top-10 defense against the run and pass.

2. At Houston Texans (Week 17)

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Texans’ current record: 7-5

Upon entering the season, we figured the Texans, who are 5-2 at home, would be improved with a new young quarterback and head coach, but I don’t think anyone expected Houston to be competing for an AFC South crown and playoff spot.

C.J. Stroud has turned out to be a revelation and is well on his way to earning the Offensive Rookie of the Year nod for 2023. Even without Tank Dell, who is out for the season, Stroud should have no issue moving the ball on the Titans’ awful secondary.

Another great 2023 draft pick, edge rusher Will Anderson has begun to come on strong, with five sacks in his last five games, and fellow EDGE Jonathan Greenard is in the midst of a career year.

If the Titans can keep both of them at bay, Houston does sport the No. 26 pass defense, but limiting Greenard and Anderson will be a tall task for Tennessee’s offensive line.

On the other side of the spectrum, the Texans sport a top-10 run defense, which will make things even more difficult for Tennessee’s offensive line.

3. Vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (Week 18)

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Jaguars’ current record: 8-4

Because it’s at home, where the Titans have been much better this season, the team has a slightly better chance of winning this matchup than it did the previous meeting with the Jags.

The location also makes this a slightly easier matchup than the Week 17 contest in Houston, but we’re really splitting hairs here. Not to mention, Jacksonville sports the league’s best road record at the moment.

Trevor Lawrence suffered a high-ankle sprain in Week 13, but chances are he’ll be healed up in time for this one, otherwise this would be the easiest matchup remaining.

Lawrence did just about whatever he wanted in the first meeting with the Titans, resulting in an easy 34-14 win. He won’t have Christian Kirk moving forward, but he’s still surrounded by Calvin Ridley, Evan Engram, Zay Jones and Travis Etienne, all of whom made an impact in Week 11.

Jacksonville’s secondary is certainly exploitable, but the Titans first have to hold off Josh Allen, who is in the midst of a career year, and the rest of the Jaguars’ front.

4. Vs. Houston Texans (Week 15)

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Texans’ current record: 7-5

The only thing dropping this matchup down the list is the fact that it’s a home game for Tennessee, where, again, they’ve been a totally different animal.

This matchup would get bumped up to No. 3 if Lawrence doesn’t suit up for the Jags, but I expect him to play in the regular-season finale.

Everything else we wrote about the talent the Texans possess in the previous write-up applies, of course. Houston has struggled a bit on the road in 2023, though, with the team sporting a 2-3 mark.

5. Vs. Seattle Seahawks

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Seahawks’ current record: 6-6

The good news about this matchup is it won’t take place in Seattle, which is an incredibly difficult place to play, especially for a rookie like Levis and a team like the Titans that has been awful on the road this year.

That said, this won’t be an easy one.

Seattle doesn’t rank particularly high in any category on defense, but its front has no shortage of talent from the defensive line to the linebacking corps., and the Seahawks sport a budding star at cornerback in Devon Witherspoon.

On offense, Seattle has a competent quarterback in Geno Smith, and he has weapons like Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf who are capable of torching the Titans’ secondary. On top of those three, Kenneth Walker is one of the more talented young backs in the NFL.

We saw just what this offense is capable of in Week 12, when the Seahawks put up an impressive 35 points against an elite Dallas Cowboys defense. Seattle’s unit should have similar success against Tennessee’s defense.

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