Coming off a run to the AFC Championship, the Tennessee Titans have been ranked outside the top-ten in ESPN’s Football Power Index.
The core of the Tennessee Titans’ roster is returning in 2020 as the Titans will be looking to run back their AFC Championship run and try to top it by advancing to the Super Bowl. That’s a likely possibility now if the ball rolls the Titans way this fall.
Even though that’s a possibility for the Titans, we’ve still seen people throughout the country and throughout the league not take the Titans seriously. Now, ESPN’s Football Power Index has ranked the Titans outside the top-ten.
The FPI is different than a regular analyst or NFL.com writer. The FPI takes multiple different statistics into account in its rankings.
ESPN explained the model and how the rankings are composed in depth before getting to the rankings itself and they did a much better than me.
"“At its core, NFL FPI is a prediction system for the NFL. Each team’s FPI rating is composed of a predicted offensive, defensive and special teams efficiency, as measured by expected points added per play, and that rating is the basis for FPI’s game-level and season-level projections.”"
So it takes all sides of the football into account and its efficiency when calculating the rankings. The first half of the 2019 season could be the main reason why the Titans aren’t very high in the FPI rankings because the team was not very good, and I’d even say at many points in the first six weeks that team was bad.
After that, the Titans took off from Week 7 to the end of the regular season, which is more like what the Titans will look like this fall, yet the Titans were only able to get an average ranking in this year’s FPI.
ESPN’s FPI ranked the Titans No. 16 in this year’s rankings with 8.4 predicted wins this season and a 55% chance to make the playoffs, which seems blasphemous, especially with where the Colts are ranked in these rankings.
The Titans ranked the second-best team in the AFC South according to the FPI, with the Colts coming in two spots ahead of the Titans at No. 14 with 8.6 predicted wins and a 58% playoff chance.
So the Titans and Colts are pretty much neck and neck in the FPI’s rankings, but they probably shouldn’t be. The Titans are the better team on paper, and they proved it on the field last season, too.
With Ryan Tannehill under center, the Titans are 1-0 against the Colts with a 31-17 win on my birthday, so from what we’ve seen with Tannehill, the Colts aren’t quite as good as the Titans, especially with an aging Philip Rivers who looks like his best seasons are behind him.
With that being said, I think that the Titans are the best team in the AFC South and should be the favorite to win the division this fall.
For the No. 16 ranking, the Titans are much better than 16th in the league, and that’s something that the Titans are simply going to have to prove on the field this fall.
Of the 15 teams in front of the Titans, six of them are on the schedule. This fall, the Titans will face the Packers (No. 15), Colts (No. 14), Vikings (No. 13), Steelers (No. 12), Bills (No. 10), and the Ravens (No. 2). Even with seven games against teams in the top half of the league, the FPI still ranked the Titans’ strength of schedule the second easiest in the league.
If any team has seven games against six top-15 teams, then I don’t think there’s any way someone can say that team has one of the easiest schedules in the league, even if they do face the Jaguars twice who are projected to be the worst team in the league.
This year’s FPI doesn’t like the Titans very much this year, but when has it? The Titans consistently are underrated and forced to play from behind in the court of opinion. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, but it would be nice to see a good Titans team get the recognition they’ve earned.