Monday, August 22, 2016

DETROIT LIONS - 2016 Season Preview

DETROIT LIONS                                                                                      

2015 Record:  5-11-0

Head Coach:  Jim Caldwell

New Faces for 2016 - WR Anquan Boldin, WR Marvin Jones, WR Jeremy Kerley, RB Stevan Ridley, S Rafael Bush, S Tavon Wilson, CB Darrin Walls, OL Geoff Schwartz

OFFENSE:  Matthew Stafford returns for his eighth season as the Lions starting quarterback after passing for 4,262 yards with 32 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Backing him up will likely be Dan Orlovsky (201 yards, one TD, one INT) or rookie Jake Rudock (Michigan).
Joique Bell wasn't retained in the off-season, meaning Ameer Abdullah (597 yards, 4.2 ypc average and two TD) will be the primary running back. Theo Riddick (133 yards rushing, but also 80 receptions for 697 yards and three TD) and Stevan Ridley will sub in when needed.
The biggest absence for the team will be felt at wide receiver after Calvin Johnson retired unexpectedly. In his place will be former All-Pro Anquan Boldin, a journey wideout who caught 69 passes a year ago for 789 yards and four touchdowns with San Francisco.
Golden Tate (90, 813, six TD) is the other starter. The tight ends are Eric Ebron (47, 537, five TD) and Brandon Pettigrew, who had seven receptions with one score last season.  Other receivers in the mix include Marvin Jones (65, 816, four TD with Cincinnati) and Jeremy Kerley (16, 152, two TD with the Jets).

DEFENSE:  The front four of the 4-3 set includes tackles Haloti Ngata and Tyrunn Walker or rookie A'Shawn Robinson (Alabama). The ends are pass rusher extraordinaire Ezekiel Ansah (14 1/2 QB sacks) and Devin Taylor, who had seven sacks last season.
The linebackers will be DeAndre Levy (out last year with injuries) and Josh Bynes on the outside. The middle linebacker is Tahir Whitehead. Filling in this season are Kyle Van Noy, Zaviar Gooden and Jerry Franklin.
The defensive backs are corners Darius Slay (two interceptions) and Nevin Lawson. The safeties are Rafael Bush and Glover Quin, who led the team with four picks, including one for a touchdown. Quandre Diggs, Ian Walls, Tavon Wilson, rookie Miles Killebrew (Southern Utah) and Johnson Bademosi round out the reserves.

OUTLOOK:  Coming off a losing season and then losing their best offensive weapon to retirement, the Lions could not be blamed for having a doom and gloom outlook for the 2016 season. However, Head Coach Jim Caldwell knows his team is capable of a quick turnaround with the defense they play.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford had a solid season and has shown he can put up some big numbers in past seasons. With a fairly solid receiving corps, Stafford can spread it around and then throw in Theo Riddick making grabs out of the backfield to go with the speed of Ameer Abdullah at running back and the offense could very potent. Improving a league worst rushing attack (83 yards per game) is vital for the Lions to be able to do just that.
The defense was adequate last year after a superb 2014 season during which they came up with numerous turnovers. They need to get that magic back after a minus-six in that area last year. Detroit did amass 43 QB sacks while giving up 44 sacks.
A lot will depend on the offense getting back to lighting up the scoreboard (they slipped to just 22 points per game last year) as they have done in the past with Stafford and company. They face stiff competition in their division with Green Bay and Minnesota (both playoff teams in 2015) and an improving Chicago Bears team, but they can compete if they avoid the mistakes and play solid defense.

Fearless forecast -  7-9 this year

Week 1 - at Indianapolis
Week 2 - vs. Tennessee
Week 3 - at Green Bay
Week 4 - at Chicago
Week 5 - vs. Philadelphia
Week 6 - vs. Los Angeles
Week 7 - vs. Washington
Week 8 - at Houston
Week 9 - at Minnesota
Week 10 - BYE
Week 11 - vs. Jacksonville
Week 12 - vs. Minnesota
Week 13 - at New Orleans
Week 14 - vs. Chicago
Week 15 - at NY Giants
Week 16 - at Dallas
Week 17 - vs. Green Bay

Sunday, August 21, 2016

DALLAS COWBOYS - 2016 Season Preview

DALLAS COWBOYS                                                                              

2015 Record:  4-12-0

Head Coach:  Jason Garrett

New Faces for 2016 -  DL Benson Mayowa, RB Alfred Morris, OL Joe Looney, DL Cedric Thornton

OFFENSE:  As long as he is healthy, Tony Romo is the Cowboys' starting quarterback. Romo played in just four games in 2015, passing for 884 yards with five touchdowns and seven interceptions. Backing up will likely be rookie Dak Prescott (Mississippi State) as Kellen Moore is out indefinitely with a broken leg.
The running game will have depth and they may need it as rookie Ezekiel Elliott (Ohio State) the team's top draft pick, has lingering hamstring issues. Darren McFadden did well a year ago, playing in all 16 games while leading Dallas in rushing with 1,089 yards (4.6 ypc average) and scored three touchdowns.
McFadden has a long history with injuries during his NFL career, so Alfred Morris was also signed to provide more depth after going for 751 yards (3.7 ypc) with one score with Washington last season. Lance Dunbar is another possibility for the running game.
Dez Bryant, who also missed a lot of playing time a year ago, is back to lead the wide receivers. Bryant was limited to nine games while making 31 catches for 401 yards and three touchdowns. Along with him will be Terrance Williams (52 receptions, 840 yards, three TD) and Cole Beasley (52, 536, five TD). The tight end is future Hall-of-Famer Jason Witten, who led the 'Pokes with 77 receptions in 2015 for 713 yards and three scores.

DEFENSE:  Two members of the front line face suspensions to start the season, but Dallas has depth as they drafted Maliek Collins (Nebraska) and Tapper Collins (Oklahoma) to possibly fill the void of ends Demarcus Lawrence (eight QB sacks) and Randy Gregory. The tackles are Cedric Thornton and Tyrone Crawford (five sacks). Free agent DE Benson Mayowa will help out this season along with Jack Crawford, who registered four sacks.
Sean Lee and Anthony Hitchens are the outside linebackers along with middle man Rolando McClain. Rookie Jaylon Smith (Notre Dame), Damien Wilson and Kyle Wilber will provide depth.
The secondary has Morris Claiborne and Orlando Scandrick playing the corner spots. The safeties will be Barry Church and Byron Jones, who also doubles as a cornerback. Reserve safety Jeff Heath led the team with two interceptions last season. Rookies Kavon Frazier (Central Michigan) and Anthony Brown (Purdue) may also get a shot this season.

OUTLOOK:  Keeping all their vital cogs in the offense on the field at the same time is the key for the Dallas Cowboys this year.
Tony Romo is entering his 11th season as the starter and along with (rookie) Ezekiel Elliott and Darren McFadden in the backfield gives the Cowboys the potential for a very explosive offense. Wide receiver Dez Bryant and TE Jason Witten provide Romo the targets he needs in the passing game and in the past this trio has shown they can be dominant.
Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett is counting on that for success this season or else the "hot seat" conversation may begin once again regarding his future in Dallas.
The defense played fairly well last season, giving up 23.4 points per game while ranking in the middle of the pack overall. The pass defense was fifth (227 yards allowed per game) but needs to get after the quarterback better, evidenced by just 31 sacks. The secondary only tallied eight interceptions a year ago and that MUST improve.
Dallas also has to take better care of the football as they ranked at the bottom of the league with a minus-22 in the turnover category.
The Cowboys can win the NFC East again but it will come down to Romo staying in one piece and the rest of the offense returning to the scoring machine it was two years ago when they dominated their division. The playoffs are a real possibility after the disaster that was last season.

Fearless forecast -  10-6 this year (playoff team)

Week 1 - vs. NY Giants
Week 2 - at Washington
Week 3 - vs. Chicago
Week 4 - at San Francisco
Week 5 - vs. Cincinnati
Week 6 - at Green Bay
Week 7 - BYE
Week 8 - vs. Philadelphia
Week 9 - at Cleveland
Week 10 - at Pittsburgh
Week 11 - vs. Baltimore
Week 12 - vs. Washington
Week 13 - at Minnesota
Week 14 - at NY Giants
Week 15 - vs. Tampa Bay
Week 16 - vs. Detroit
Week 17 - at Philadelphia 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

CHICAGO BEARS - 2016 Season Preview

CHICAGO BEARS                                                                                          

2015 Record:  6-10-0

Head Coach:  John Fox

New Faces for 2016 - LB Danny Trevathan, LB Jerrell Freeman, DL Akiem Hicks, OL Ted Larsen, OL Bobby Massie, OL Manny Ramirez, LB Aaron Brewer, DB Omar Bolden

OFFENSE:  Jay Cutler is back for another season following his throwing for 3,659 yards with 21 touchdowns and eleven interceptions. Backing up will be veteran Brian Hoyer (2,606 yards with 19 TD and seven INT) who comes over from Houston.
The running game will be with a new feature back as Jeremy Langford takes over for Matt Forte, who signed with the New York Jets this off-season. Langford gained 537 yards (3.6 ypc average) to go with six rushing touchdowns. He also made 22 receptions for 279 yards and a touchdown. Ka'Deem Carey (159 yards, 3.7 ypc, two TD) and perhaps rookie back Jordan Howard (Indiana) will be the reserves.
The wide receivers have two players who can extend the field when healthy. Alshon Jeffery (54 receptions, 804 yards and four TD) missed six games last season while Kevin White missed the entire season of his rookie campaign with leg injuries. Backing up will be Josh Bellamy (19, 224, two TD), Marquess Wilson (28, 464, one TD) and Marc Mariani (22 catches for 300 yards). The tight end is Zach Miller, who had 34 grabs for 439 yards and five scores.

DEFENSE:  In the 3-4 alignment, the Bears have Eddie Goldman (4 1/2 QB sacks) at the nose tackle with either Mitch Unrein or rookie Jonathan Bullard (Florida) at a tackle spot while Akiem Hicks plays the other tackle spot. In reserve will be Will Sutton, Cornelius Washington and Ego Ferguson.
The inside linebackers include Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman, both free agent signings this off-season. The outside men are Willie Young (6 1/2  QB sacks) and Pernell McPhee, who made six sacks. Others include rookie Leonard Floyd (top pick from Georgia), Lamarr Houston (eight sacks), John Timu, Aaron Brewer and perhaps rookie Nick Kwaitkoski (West Virginia).
The secondary includes safeties Adrian Amos and Harold Jones-Quartey. The corner men are Kyle Fuller (two interceptions) and veteran Tracy Porter. Rookies Deon Bush (Miami, FL) and Deiondre' Hall (Northern Iowa) are looking to make an impact along with Sherrick McManis, Bryce Callahan and Omar Bolden.

OUTLOOK:  The Bears attempted to overhaul the offensive line, the running game and even add more tweaks to the defense, which was much improved from the disaster it became in the 2014 season.
Whether or not those off-season moves pan out depends on the playing abilities of the players brought into the system that Head Coach John Fox is looking to continue to employ.
With Jay Cutler at quarterback, the Bears feel confident the offense can improve from mediocrity (21st overall and 23rd in scoring) when they averaged just under 21 points per game a year ago. The big question is whether Jeremy Langford is ready to make people forget about Matt Forte, who for years was a good bulk of the teams' offensive numbers.
The passing game should be better as long as Jeffery and White are on the field providing Cutler with the downfield targets he so sorely lacked last season. The Bears' biggest play went to the tight end for 87 yards. Continued field efficiency from Cutler would also be a plus as he cut down on his turnovers last year dramatically from previous years.
The defense was better in 2015, finishing 14th overall (345 yards per game allowed) while ranking fourth in the NFL against the pass, giving up 225 yards per game, including 35 QB sacks. The secondary was tight, but more turnovers would help. The Bears defense had only eight interceptions last year.
Playing in the NFC North means facing division champion Minnesota and perennial powerhouse Green Bay twice a year and the Bears know these two teams, along with the Detroit Lions, very well.
If the team can get off to a good start with an easier schedule the first six games as opposed to 2015, the Bears can be competitive. It's always important to win the division games and have a good start.
The Bears appear to be building for the future while also trying to remain relevant in the standings, which is a tough road to go down. With a few breaks and by staying in good health, an improved record for the 2016 season is not out of the question.

Fearless forecast -  8-8 this year

Week 1 - at Houston
Week 2 - vs. Philadelphia
Week 3 - at Dallas
Week 4 - vs. Detroit
Week 5 - at Indianapolis
Week 6 - vs. Jacksonville
Week 7 - at Green Bay
Week 8 - vs. Minnesota
Week 9 - BYE
Week 10 - at Tampa Bay
Week 11 - at NY Giants
Week 12 - vs. Tennessee
Week 13 - vs. San Francisco
Week 14 - at Detroit
Week 15 - vs. Green Bay
Week 16 - vs. Washington
Week 17 - at Minnesota

Friday, August 19, 2016

CAROLINA PANTHERS - 2016 Season Preview

CAROLINA PANTHERS                                                                         

2015 Record:  15-1-0

Head Coach:  Ron Rivera

New Faces for 2016 -  CB Brandon Boykin, DL Paul Soliai, OL Gino Gradkowski

OFFENSE:  After an MVP season in 2015, quarterback Cam Newton is back to lead the offense. Newton passed for 3,837 yards with 35 touchdowns and only ten interceptions last season. He also scored ten rushing touchdowns while amassing 636 yards (4.8 ypc) on the ground. Derek Anderson holds the clip board.
The Panthers have Jonathan Stewart (989 yards in 13 games with 4.1 ypc average and six TD) back to lead the running game. Mike Tolbert ran for 256 yards (4.1 ypc) and scored a touchdown. Fozzy Whittaker (108 yards and one score) and Cameron Artis-Payne (183 yards and one TD) round out the second leading rushing team in the NFL last year.
Tight End Greg Olsen (77 receptions for 1,104 yards and seven TD) led the team in receiving a year ago, but with top wideout Kelvin Benjamin expected back this year after missing the entire season in 2015, that should change.
Along with Benjamin, either Ted Ginn, Jr. (44, 739, ten TD) or Devin Funchess (31, 473, five TD) will start. Also in the mix is Philly Brown, who had 31 receptions for 447 yards and four touchdowns.

DEFENSE:  Playing in the 4-3 set, Carolina will go with Kawann Short (11 QB sacks) and Star Lotulelei at the tackles with Charles Johnson and Kony Ealy (five sacks) at end. Rookie Vernon Butler (Louisiana Tech), Mario Addison (six sacks), Paul Solial and Wes Horton will fill in when needed.
The linebackers are Luke Kuechly (four interceptions, one for TD) in the middle while Thomas Davis (5 1/2 sacks and four picks) and Shaq Thompson are the outside linebackers.
In the secondary, the corners look to be Robert McClain and Bene Benwikere along with Tre Boston and Kurt Coleman (seven INT, one was a pick six) at the safety spots. 
Rookies James Bradberry (Samford), Daryl Worley (West Virginia) and Zack Sanchez (Oklahoma), along with Brandon Boykin, will look to make an impact in the absence of All-Pro cornerback Josh Norman, who is now with the Washington Redskins.

OUTLOOK:  The Panthers have the pieces in place for another Super Bowl run with Cam Newton leading the way on offense and Luke Keuchly on defense.
This team is loaded and they expect wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin back in the fold in 2016 to go with a solid running game. Another option for Newton to get the ball to will wreak even more havoc on enemy defenses.
Speaking of defense, the Panthers were sixth in total defense last year, ranking fourth against the run (88.4 ypg) and eleventh against the pass, giving up 235 yards per game. They were sixth overall in scoring defense, allowing 19.3 points per game while topping the NFL in interceptions (24) and the turnover category, where they were a plus-20 for the season.
Head Coach Ron Rivera has survived numerous "hot seat" rumors in his tenure in Carolina and is now reaping the benefits of a superb team that can very well make it back to the Super Bowl. That isn't always so easy as many teams that lose the big game have a "Super Bowl hangover" the following season.
Don't count on that happening with this team unless Newton or perhaps several other key players on offense or defense go down with major injuries.
Whether or not the Panthers do get back to the Super Bowl depends on the health of Newton and others throughout the season. There are very good challengers in the NFC and it will not be easy.

Fearless forecast -  12-4 this year (playoff team)

Week 1 - at Denver
Week 2 - vs. San Francisco
Week 3 - vs. Minnesota
Week 4 - at Atlanta
Week 5 - vs. Tampa Bay
Week 6 - at New Orleans
Week 7 - BYE
Week 8 - vs. Arizona
Week 9 - at Los Angeles
Week 10 - vs. Kansas City
Week 11 - vs. New Orleans
Week 12 - at Oakland
Week 13 - at Seattle
Week 14 - vs. San Diego
Week 15 - at Washington
Week 16 - vs. Atlanta
Week 17 - at Tampa Bay

Thursday, August 18, 2016

ATLANTA FALCONS - 2016 Season Preview

ATLANTA FALCONS                                                                                   

2015 Record:  8-8-0

Head Coach:  Dan Quinn

New Faces for 2016 - WR Mohamed Sanu, QB Matt Schaub, OL Alex Mack, LB Courtney Upshaw, LB Sean Weatherspoon

OFFENSE:  Matt Ryan is back for his ninth NFL season after passing for 4,591 yards along with 21 touchdowns and 16 interceptions a year ago. Matt Schaub is back for a second tour of duty with the Falcons and will battle Sean Renfree for the back up role.
Running back Devonta Freeman had a decent season, going for 1,056 yards with eleven touchdowns while averaging four yards per carry. In addition, Freeman had 73 receptions for 578 yards with three touchdowns. Tevin Coleman (392 yards, 4.5 ypc average, one TD) and Terron Ward (95 yards, 3.3 ypc, one TD) will spell Freeman.
The wide receivers have Julio Jones, who made 136 catches for 1,871 yards with eight touchdowns last season, leading the way. Mohamed Sanu (33, 394) comes over from Cincinnati to play the other spot to fill the void of Roddy White, who was not re-signed in the off-season. The tight end is Jacob Tamme, who had 59 receptions for 657 yards and one score.

DEFENSE:  Derrick Shelby and Grady Jarrett are the tackles while Adrian Clayborn (three QB sacks) and Vic Beasley (four sacks) man the ends up front.
The linebackers are Courtney Upshaw and Philip Wheeler on the outside with Brooks Reed manning the middle. Rookies Deion Jones (LSU) and De'Vondre Campbell (Minnesota) along with Tyler Starr and Sean Weatherspoon will also be ready to play.
The secondary features corner men Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford (two interceptions) while rookie Keanu Neal (Florida) and Ricardo Allen (three picks) look to be the starting safeties.

OUTLOOK:  After a .500 finish last season (following a 5-0 start to the season), the Falcons know they need to improve if they want to avoid missing the playoffs for a fourth consecutive season.
Head Coach Dan Quinn will be looking for more consistency from the offense, which averaged 21.2 points per game. Quarterback Matt Ryan needs a bounce back season after only 21 TD passes last year. Julio Jones is a one-man wrecking crew but he needs help as well in a depleted wide receiving corps.
The defense MUST get more pressure on opposing quarterbacks after a league worst 19 sacks last season.  In addition, the secondary made just 15 interceptions while the defense finished right in the middle of the pack, allowing 348 yards per game.
The NFC South has Carolina as the team to beat this year, but the division has been pretty diverse the last decade or so as far as first place goes.
If the defense can muster a pass rush to go along with an improved secondary and a more robust running game, perhaps the Falcons can soar to a playoff appearance this year after going 3-8 down the stretch in the 2015 season. 
It would take a lot to go just right for the Falcons to break their playoff drought this season, but that's why they play the games.

Fearless forecast -  6-10 this year

Week 1 - vs. Tampa Bay
Week 2 - at Oakland
Week 3 - at New Orleans
Week 4 - vs. Carolina
Week 5 - at Denver
Week 6 - at Seattle
Week 7 - vs. San Diego
Week 8 - vs. Green Bay
Week 9 - at Tampa Bay
Week 10 - at Philadelphia
Week 11 - BYE
Week 12 - vs. Arizona
Week 13 - vs. Kansas City
Week 14 - at Los Angeles
Week 15 - vs. San Francisco
Week 16 - at Carolina
Week 17 - vs. New Orleans  

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

ARIZONA CARDINALS - 2016 Season Preview

ARIZONA CARDINALS                                                                          

2015 Record:  13-3-0

Head Coach:  Bruce Arians

New Faces for 2016 - DL Chandler Jones, DB Tyvon Branch, OL Evan Mathis

OFFENSE:  Carson Palmer is back at quarterback for the team after a great 2015 season. The 14-year veteran passed for 4,671 yards with 35 touchdowns and just eleven interceptions. Drew Stanton will back up when needed.
The running game has a pair of Johnson's as in Chris Johnson (814 rush yards, 4.2 ypc average and three TD) and David Johnson, who went for 581 yards when Chris was injured. He averaged 4.6 yards per carry and scored eight times in addition to 36 receptions for 457 yards and four more touchdowns.
The receivers are led by Larry Fitzgerald, who enjoyed another stellar season, making 109 catches for 1,215 yards and nine touchdowns. John Brown had 65 receptions for 1,003 yards and seven touchdowns. Michael Floyd (52, 849, six TD) completes the trio. Darren Fells (21, 311, three TD) and Jermaine Gresham (18, 223, one TD) are the tight ends.

DEFENSE:  The Cardinals run the 3-4 defense and have Rodney Gunter at the nose spot with either Chandler Jones (also a linebacker) or Frostee Rucker at the tackle position. Calais Campbell (five QB sacks) is the other defensive tackle. Rookie Robert Nkemdiche (Ole Miss) will be in the trenches as well.
At linebacker is Markus Golden (four sacks) and Kareem Martin on the outside, with Jones playing OLB as well. Chandler Jones is a pass rusher extraordinaire, getting 12 1/2 sacks a year ago with the New England Patriots.
The inside backers are Deone Bucannon and Kevin Minter. Alex Okafor, Gabe Martin and Quayshawn Nealy will fill in when needed.
The defensive backs are Patrick Peterson (two interceptions) and Tyvon Branch and/or rookie Brandon Williams (Texas A & M). The safeties are Tony Jefferson (two INT) and Tyrann Mathieu, who led the team with five picks, one for a touchdown. Justin Bethel (two picks) is also in the mix.

OUTLOOK:  The Cardinals were flying high a year ago until they got blasted in the NFC Championship Game. That bitter taste should serve as extra motivation for them entering the 2016 season.
The offense is potent, scoring 30-plus points eight times last season, including 40-plus points three times. Palmer and his high flying trio of wide receivers are among the best in pro football. The running game complements the air attack for the second highest scoring team (30.6 per game) in the NFL last year. No reason to feel they can't do the same this season.
The defense has a solid base as well, finishing in the top ten in the league in all four categories (run defense, pass defense, total defense and scoring defense) as they amassed 36 QB sacks and were a plus-nine in the turnover category. Their 19 interceptions were fourth highest in the NFL.
Head Coach Bruce Arians  knows this team is loaded and they ooze confidence heading into this season. Playing in the NFC West, their biggest challenge will be the Seattle Seahawks once again. 
That is the key for them winning the division once again, beating Seattle in head-to-head games.
How far the Cardinals can go in the playoffs will depend on their desire to reach the Super Bowl. Barring any significant injuries or bad breaks, it's possible they can get there this season for the first time in eight years.

Fearless forecast -  12-4 this year  (playoff team)

Week 1 - vs. New England
Week 2 - vs. Tampa Bay
Week 3 - at Buffalo
Week 4 - vs. Los Angeles
Week 5 - at San Francisco
Week 6 - vs. NY Jets
Week 7 - vs. Seattle
Week 8 - at Carolina
Week 9 - BYE
Week 10 - vs. San Francisco
Week 11 - at Minnesota
Week 12 - at Atlanta
Week 13 - vs. Washington
Week 14- at Miami
Week 15 - vs. New Orleans
Week 16 - at Seattle
Week 17 - at Los Angeles

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

TENNESSEE TITANS - 2016 Season Preview

TENNESSEE TITANS                                                                                  

2015 Record:  3-13-0

Head Coach:  Mike Mularkey

New Faces for 2016 - RB DeMarco Murray, WR Rishard Matthews, S Rashad Johnson, QB Matt Cassel, LB Sean Spence, CB Antwon Blake, CB Brice McCain

OFFENSE:  Second year man Marcus Mariota is the quarterback after passing for 2,818 yards with 19 touchdowns and ten interceptions. Matt Cassel (1,276 yards, five TD, seven INT) is the backup QB after playing for Dallas last season.
DeMarco Murray, just two years removed from the NFL Offensive Player of the Year Award, is the starting back after rushing for 702 yards last season for Philadelphia. He averaged 3.6 yards per carry with six touchdowns and also made 44 catches for 322 yards with one score.
Rookie Derrick Henry (Alabama) will look to get his shot this season. Bishop Sankey (193 yards, 4.1 ypc, one TD) and Antonio Andrews, who led the Titans in rushing last season (520 yards, 3.6 ypc. three TD) will also be available.
The wide receivers look to be Kendall Wright (36, 408, three TD) and Dorial Green-Beckham, who had 32 receptions for 549 yards and four touchdowns. Rishard Matthews (43, 662, four TD with Miami), Justin Hunter (22, 264, one TD), Harry Douglas (36, 411, two TD) and possibly rookie Tajae Sharpe (UMass) will be in the mix as well. The tight end is Delanie Walker, who led the team with 94 receptions for 1,088 yards and six touchdowns.

DEFENSE:  Al Woods is the nose tackle along with end DaQuan Jones and DT Jurrell Casey (seven QB sacks) in the 3-4 set. Rookies Kevin Dodd (Clemson) and Austin Johnson (Penn State) should see playing time.
The linebacking crew has Brian Orakpo (seven sacks) and Derrick Morgan (4 1/2 sacks) on the outside. The inside backers include Wesley Woodyard (five sacks) and Avery Williamson (3 1/2 sacks) while Nate Palmer, David Bass and Sean Spence provide back up.
The defensive backfield has safeties Da'Norris Searcy and Rashad Johnson along with corners Jason McCourty and Perrish Cox.

OUTLOOK:  It's a new start for the team this season after two disastrous seasons in a row.
Head Coach Mike Mularkey will look to Mariota to continue to develop and lead the offense. The Titans could really benefit if Murray gets back in form and helps to get the running game back on track.
The receivers need to improve as well as Mariota locked in on his tight end Delanie Walker quite often last year and opposing defenses took notice. The Titans offense was 30th overall (312 yards per game) while averaging only 18.7 points per game.
Defensively, Tennessee allowed 26.4 points per game while ranking in the middle of the pack in yardage allowed (342 yards per game) and also ranking a respectable seventh in the NFL against the pass, giving up 230 yards per game.
The only way for this team to go is up and playing in the AFC South doesn't make it that easy. The Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts have dominated the division in recent years and Jacksonville looks to be improving.
If the defense can come up with the big stops on a consistent basis and the offense can sustain drives that result in more touchdowns rather than field goals or punts or turnovers (Titans were minus-14 in that category last season) they could see improvement this year.

Fearless forecast -  4-12 this year

Week 1 - vs. Minnesota
Week 2 - at Detroit
Week 3 - vs. Oakland
Week 4 - at Houston
Week 5 - at Miami
Week 6 - vs. Cleveland
Week 7 - vs. Indianapolis
Week 8 - vs. Jacksonville
Week 9 - at San Diego
Week 10 - vs. Green Bay
Week 11 - at Indianapolis
Week 12 - at Chicago
Week 13 - BYE
Week 14 - vs. Denver
Week 15 - at Kansas City
Week 16 - at Jacksonville
Week 17 - vs. Houston