The Tennessee Titans stole NFL headlines when they acquired superstar wide receiver Julio Jones from the Atlanta Falcons in a blockbuster deal. Fans and online sportsbooks are still reeling as the power dynamics in the AFC have shifted. Or have they?
Look at the four key odds to follow how Jones’ tenure will impact both the Titans and his career.
Super Bowl: Julio Barely Moves the Needle
I’m sure most Tennessee Titans fans immediately thought “Super Bowl” the moment news broke that they won the Julio Jones sweepstakes. But I hate to break it to them and any others who think this Jones acquisition would alter the Titans’ destiny. It won’t.
As great as Jones is, it’s difficult for any skill player outside of an elite quarterback to truly move the needle. Even arguably the greatest receiver in Randy Moss couldn’t push his new team, the Patriots, to a title. While he was a cornerstone in that team’s historic 16-0 season, they still came away empty-handed in the end.
Jones’ addition will indeed make the Titans more formidable. They may win an extra playoff game or two. But in the end, their fate is still mostly in the hands of Ryan Tannehill. And most of us would still take Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs over Tannehill and the Titans to win it all per the Super Bowl odds.
Odds: Super Bowl 2022- Tennessee Titans +2500
Division: Titans of the South
A Super Bowl may still be a pipe dream, but winning the AFC South should be the expectations for the Titans. Before the Jones trade, the Titans hovered around +200 to win the division thanks to the improvements the Indianapolis Colts made. But with Jones, the two are now neck-and-neck.
If Tenn Defense is solid (mainly their pass rush) they’re neck and neck with Indy for the division now. Tenn off can force teams to every down choose-stop the monster in the backfield-or stop our 2-headed monster outside https://t.co/y9rN1fk1DN
Dan Orlovsky (@danorlovsky7) June 6, 2021
They both finished 11-5 record last season splitting their season series. Indianapolis reunited coach Frank Reich with QB Carson Wentz and bolstered both of its lines with draft picks and signings.
The Titans mainly focused on its defense, which was already a formidable unit the season prior. The addition of Jones to further improve the offense gives them a higher floor than the Colts, at worst.
Odds: NFL Divisions – Tennessee Titans (Ev)
Win Totals: Double-Digits At Minimum
The Titans can be forgiven if they fail to win the division. After all, they could tie with the Colts and lose the tiebreaker. They will lose home turf advantage in the playoffs, but that wasn’t an issue for them in their deep run from two seasons ago.
But at the least, the Titans can be expected to have a winning record. This team finished with 11 wins last season and nine wins in 2019. With an extra game and a mid-level strength of schedule, the Titans shouldn’t have too many issues winning at least 10 games. The line was at 9½ wins before the trade and if that stays put, bet the over.
Of course, the team should stay healthy. RB Derrick Henry rushed over 370 times last season and may need to take a breather. Tannehill and Jones have also had injuries. But overall, this team has a solid enough foundation to weather some bad luck.
Odds: NFL Regular Season Wins – Over 9½ Wins (TBD)
Personal Stats: Caution, Fantasy Owners
The Titans’ stock may have increased with this deal, but Jones’ will have taken a hit. Outside of his injury-plagued 2020 season, Jones now has to compete with A.J. Brown for catches. In a pass-happy league, that shouldn’t be an issue.
D.J. Moore and Robbie Anderson each had over 1,000 receiving yards with Teddy Bridgewater throwing to them with Carolina. It’s feasible for both Jones and Brown to have 1,000 yard-seasons or even have over five touchdowns each.
However, the Titans are also built on their defense and running. Tannehill attempted only the 18th-most passes. The Falcons, for seven of Jones’s last nine seasons there, finished in the bottom third of the league in passing yards defense. Matt Ryan needed to keep slinging the rock.
Being in a better team with another number-one option by his side plus his injury history, don’t be surprised if Jones fails to break 1,000 yards.
Odds: Julio Jones – Receiving Yards – Under 1,100 Receiving Yards (-120)