NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The NFL schedule came out Thursday night, and it's mere presence requests predictions despite the fact we don't have a full roster to assess and the veterans have been reassembled for only four days.
The draft will have a big bearing on the Tennessee Titans and all 13 of their opponents. Who's starting at cornerback opposite Logan Ryan for Tennessee? Who's lining up in the slot on offense? I'm not sure. Odds I'm right here? Very low. But let's get the conversations started.
Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 10 vs. Oakland Raiders, 1 p.m. ET
The Raiders could end up being the best team on the Titans' schedule. If neither Derek Carr nor Marcus Mariota have setbacks from broken legs each suffered in Week 16 last season, this could be a Chapter 3 of a great quarterback matchup. It's nice to get that test right at the beginning; having the Raiders front-of-mind through training camp will be a good thing. Record: 0-1
Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 17 at Jacksonville Jaguars, 1 p.m. ET
Mariota returns to EverBank Field, where he cracked his right fibula on Christmas Eve last year. The Titans had flopped in that crucial game before he got hurt. They fare better this time around, despite the heat. Record: 1-1.
Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 24 vs. Seattle Seahawks, 4:05 p.m. ET
The Seahawks may be starting to sink while the Titans are beginning to rise. It'll still be hot in Nashville and the home team will pull an early-season surprise in their first game against the NFC West. Record: 2-1.
Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 1 at Houston Texans, 1 p.m. ET
Who's quarterbacking the defending AFC South champions at this point? It won't be a fear-inducing, established signal-caller, we know that. We also know the Texans can win games with their solid defense. Record: 2-2.
Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 8 at Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m. ET
The Titans were in complete control of the Dolphins in Miami in Week 5 last year, winning 30-17. The Dolphins got a lot better from there, and this will be a much tougher challenge. Record: 2-3.
Week 6: Monday, Oct. 16 vs. Indianapolis Colts, 8:30 p.m. ET
The Titans' first Monday night game since 2014 comes against a team they have not beaten in their last 11 tries. They've been on the verge a few times but came up short. Hard as it is for me to pick a Tennessee win over Indy before I actually see a Tennessee win over Indy, here I go. Record: 3-3.
Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 22 at Cleveland Browns, 1 p.m. ET
The Titans avoid Cleveland at its worst, weather-wise. The Browns will be better but are still very beatable, as Terry Robiskie schemes against the defense of two-time Titans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Record: 4-3.
Week 8: Bye.
Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 5 vs. Baltimore Ravens, 1 p.m. ET
Baltimore is coming off 5-11 and 8-8 seasons the last two years, and some of the aura of a consistent franchise is waning. Still, a bounce-back draft and good play from Joe Flacco could make them tougher than I feel they will be right now. Record: 4-4.
Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 12 vs. Cincinnati Bengals, 1 p.m. ET
The last time these teams played, in Ohio in Week 3 of 2014, Andy Dalton caught a touchdown pass on a play the Titans should have blown out. That came to characterize the Titans' failings. They're moving different directions now. Record: 5-4.
Week 11: Thursday, Nov. 16 at Pittsburgh Steelers, 8:25 p.m. ET
A short week, a road trip to a cold city and an opponent with plenty of playmakers led by a top quarterback. Not a good recipe. This one could leave Titans fans longing for those last three Jacksonville Thursday night games. Record: 5-5.
Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 26 at Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m. ET
A long week to get ready for a division rival is big. But it was a leap to pick the Titans to win the first matchup with the Colts, and we're not going anywhere near picking a sweep at this stage. Record: 5-6.
Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 3 vs. Houston Texans, 1 p.m. ET
Better division play is a crucial thing for the Titans and a monster point of emphasis in 2017. They pull off a split with the team that's won the AFC South the last couple of years. Record: 6-6.
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 10 at Arizona Cardinals, 4:05 p.m. ET
Last year's 7-8-1 season was a major fall from grace for the Cardinals, who are well coached. The first of consecutive games out west, it's hard to see two wins in two games. But the Titans get the first. Record: 7-6.
Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 17 at San Francisco 49ers, 4:25 p.m. ET
The Titans get the second one too, after finding a nice place to accommodate them for a week on the road. Even if the 49ers have a fantastic draft, new coach Kyle Shanahan inherited a thin roster and runs a system that takes time to click. The 49ers will be well on their way to a high draft pick when the Titans visit Levi Stadium for the first time. Record: 8-6.
Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 24 vs. Los Angeles Rams, 1 p.m. ET
Quarterback Jared Goff presumably plays against the team that originally held the No. 1 pick in 2016 that was used on him. The Titans show how the dividends of a deal like that can pay off. Record: 9-6.
Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 31 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, 1 p.m. ET
The Titans needed a Week 17 win last season to get to 9-7, even though it had no bearing on the playoffs. This season, a Week 17 win over the Jaguars assures them of a breakthrough into the postseason. Record: 10-6.