Additional thoughts on the Tennessee Titans' schedule:
1. I knew who the opponents were, but until I looked at them in schedule form it hadn’t quite struck me how few top quarterbacks the Titans and defensive coordinator Ray Horton will have to scheme for. Nick Foles was the NFL’s top-rated quarterback last year. They’ll also see Andrew Luck twice, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning and Tony Romo. Those guys are not locks to be great every Sunday. There is no Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, or Aaron Rodgers. And the Titans will see the Cleveland Browns, the New York Jets, the Jacksonville Jaguars twice and the Houston Texans twice. That’s six games against teams who aren’t yet set at quarterback.
2. If the Titans are as bad as they were last season, those paltry crowds for late-season home games are less likely based on opponents. The New York Giants and Jets will bring a lot of interest and fans no matter how they rate in December, and the Colts' Luck may rate as the biggest star visiting LP Field all season.
3. Chris Johnson’s Dec. 14 return to LP Field with the Jets is slated to be one of just three games in that 3:05 p.m. CT window. But it’s the least attractive of the three. Denver is at San Diego and San Francisco is at Seattle in the same window before Dallas at Philly in the night slot. The Cowboys and Eagles could be flexed out of that late slot though it's typically a ratings-grabber regardless of records.
4. A less notable homecoming will take place in Week 1, when Dexter McCluster returns to Kansas City. A second-round draft pick out of Ole Miss by the Chiefs in 2010, McCluster spent time as running back and wide receiver in Kansas City but never really took off. The Titans grabbed him at the start of free agency and will use him as a pass catching running back. He’ll start the second stage of his NFL career going against a familiar defense. Right tackle Michael Oher will travel back to Baltimore for Titans-Ravens on Nov. 9. Defensive lineman Al Woods will also play against his former team when the Titans host Pittsburgh on Nov. 17.
5. The Titans will play their first nine games and 13 in all at noon CT, with a 3:05 p.m. CT start at home against the Jets on Dec. 14, a "Monday Night Football" game at home against Pittsburgh Nov. 17 and a Thursday night game at Jacksonville Dec. 18. All Sunday afternoon games beginning in Week 5 are subject to a time change based on the potential for a game being flexed into Sunday night and others being shuffled to fill the resulting gap.