Week One of the NFL season is the one time during the season in which each franchise enters the year with high hopes. The slate is wiped clean and anything can happen. Each team is beginning the season with new and improved rosters from the prior season.
The Titans enter the 2020 campaign with lofty expectations, looking to expand upon their success after coming off an appearance in the AFC Championship game. But after three straight seasons finishing with a winning record, the Titans will not be satisfied with just making the playoffs. Tennessee hasn’t won an AFC title since Kerry Collins was quarterback in 2008, is finally fielding a roster with Super Bowl caliber talent.
The Titans’ opponent in the season opener is the Denver Broncos. The Broncos are coming off a 7-9 finish, but the team appears to have found their quarterback of the future in Drew Lock. While the Broncos fan base would be satisfied with their first trip to the playoffs since winning the Super Bowl in 2015, preseason injuries stand to complicate things.
Earlier in the week, eight time pro bowler Von Miller suffered what most anticipate to be a season-ending ankle injury, creating a major void in head coach Vic Fangio’s vaunted defensive scheme.
Broncos’ OLB Von Miller injured a tendon in his ankle on the last play of practice today, and he is expected to need surgery that is likely to end his season, league source tells ESPN.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 9, 2020
While Miller, the leader of the Broncos’ defense, will be sorely missed, his injury is not the only worry for Denver’s defense. The Broncos’ first round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Bradley Chubb, is also in question for the team’s season opener on Monday Night Football against the Titans. Chubb is coming off an ACL injury and is believed to be on a snap count in Week One.
An added element with Von Miller’s injury is the fact that the #broncos believe Bradley Chubb, who's coming off an ACL injury, is going to continue to take some time to get to 100%. They don’t know exactly how long into the season that’ll take. He’ll likely be on a pitch count
— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) September 9, 2020
While the Broncos’ defense is in a scramble as the season begins, the offensive side of the ball is also taking some hits. Courtland Sutton, a critical playmaker on the outside, has suffered an injury in the week leading up to the team’s first game. Sutton was forced to leave practice on Wednesday with a shoulder injury.
Broncos No. 1 WR Courtland Sutton is day to day with a sprained AC joint in his shoulder per source. Questionable for opener vs. Tennessee but could have been worse. #9sports
— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) September 10, 2020
MRI results revealed the Broncos’ leading receiver in 2019 had sprained his AC joint in his shoulder. Sutton joins Chubb as the two pivotal playmakers are listed as questionable ahead of Denver’s season opener.
Lock is entering his first full season as the Broncos’ full-time starting quarterback and losing Sutton, or even having the 1,000-yard receiver limited in Week One, will make things difficult for the young quarterback.
The Titans enter the game relatively healthy; however newly acquired outside linebacker Vic Beasley Jr.’s status still in question. The recent addition of Jadeveon Clowney stands to suppress the seriousness of the potential loss of Beasley Jr. in the pass rushing department.
Will they play on MNF? @BuckReising of AtoZSports
tells Blaine and Mickey his best guess: "Beasley: unlikely. Clowney, unless they tell him no, he will go."
— Nashville's #1 Sports Station (@1045TheZone) September 11, 2020
While no season is defined in Week One, the Titans are in a good position to capitalize on a shorthanded Broncos’ roster. While Mile High Stadium is notorious around the NFL for being one of the league’s most challenging venues in which to capture a win, the Titans seem to have the odds stacked in their favor.
Featured image courtesy of Justin Edmonds