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Does Julio Jones Make the Tennessee Titans Super Bowl Contenders?

By Stephen Douglas
Julio Jones
Julio Jones / Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
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The Atlanta Falcons and Tennessee Titans are working to finalize a trade that will send Julio Jones to the Titans in exchange for "at least" a second-round pick. The deal will get the Falcons the value everyone kind of expected they would get and it will also put Jones on a playoff team with the kind of quarterback he wanted to play with.

The question is, does this make the Titans Super Bowl contenders?

We know the Falcons have not been to the playoffs since 2017, which is why Jones was so ready to leave. Meanwhile the Titans have been to the playoffs in three of the last four seasons including a run to the AFC Championship game two seasons ago. Last season they lost to the Baltimore Ravens in the Wild Card round. So they should have been back in the postseason mix in 2021 with or without Jones.

The Titans were 23rd in passing last season and Ryan Tannehill threw for 165 yards in their lone playoff game. Nick Westbrook-Ikhine was the Titans' second-leading wide receiver in the game with two catches and 17 yards. In theory, if you replace that with whatever Julio Jones gives you maybe you score a second touchdown in that game. Especially considering Derrick Henry was held to 40 yards on 18 carries in that game after a 2,000-yard rushing season.

If Jones and A.J. Brown (who is signed for two more seasons) can stay healthy, Henry and Tannehill, who threw for a career-high 33 touchdown passes last season, should be quite happy.

So the Titans' offense should be good. The question is, what about that defense? The Titans gave up the fifth-most yards on defense last season as well as the ninth-most points. The defense must be better unless Jones really does push the Titans' offense to the same level as the Kansas City Chiefs or Tampa Bay Buccaneers. We shall see.

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