As the Nashville Predators have built up an absolute juggernaut this offseason, they are far and away the best team Tennessee has to offer, which is why they should be the first team to bring a championship to the Music City.
The Nashville Predators have been prime playoff contenders for the past three years now, and with the addition of Matt Duchene and the emergence of Dante Fabbro, there is no question that the Predators will be in contention for a championship again this year.
According to Will Lomas and our friends at Titan Sized, they think that the Tennessee Titans are the closest to bringing Tennessee a championship, but that’s just not the case.
With an absolutely lethal forward core, that now runs three lines that could be some team’s first lines, and a solid top four on defense, even with the loss of P.K. Subban, the Nashville Predators have all of the bases covered to compete.
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The Nashville Predators are also loaded when it comes to prospects, with guys like Philip Tomasino and Egor Afanasyev bolstering the group through this years draft and guys like Eeli Tolvanen, Anthony Richard and Alexandre Carrier in the AHL already.
Of course, this doesn’t take anything away from the Titans, who have built a solid foundation around Marcus Mariota, and the Grizzlies, who found their duo of the future in Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr., but the Nashville Predators are still heads and shoulders above both of those teams.
Where they stand now
When looking at what each of these three teams can do in this upcoming season, the Nashville Predators win in this category by a long shot.
While their defense did take a hit with Subban heading to New Jersey, it didn’t get too much worse, as Dante Fabbro could very well slot right in and make up for his absence in his first full season in the NHL.
Fabbro already looked like a solid NHL defenseman in his first stint with the Preds, playing solid defensively and adding a goal and an assist in his ten combined NHL games, splt between the final four regular season games and the Predators six game playoff series against the stars.
On the other hand, their offense got much better, adding Matt Duchene to a team that already won the Cental Divison in back to back seasons and pretty much patching up any holes the Predators had on offense.
Goaltending, which was an issue according to Will Lomas’ article, isn’t as bad as it seems, as Juuse Saros will emerge as the Predators starting goaltender as Pekka Rinne gets up there in age, but he still has a few good years left in him.
With that being said, the Nashville Predators have what it takes to win the Central Division again this season and win the Stanley Cup. The Titans on the other hand are a little iffy.
In a crowded AFC South, the Tenessee Titans are going to have to grind hard in order to make the playoffs, and with a mediocre entity in Marcus Mariota at Quarterback (and an even more mediocre entity in Ryan Tannehill backing him up if he gets injured, which usually happens), the Titans might not even make the playoffs this season.
Sure, they have a solid core with Derrick Henry and James White in the backfield, Delanie Walker at Tight End and a solid offensive line, but the wide reciever position is very questionable, and with an inconsistent Mariota at the helm, he needs more weapons to pass to.
The Titans also did a great job in sturdying up their defense this offseason, bringing in Cameron Wake (who is one of my personal favorite players) to help out their core that consists of Jurrell Casey and Malcom Butler, but it honestly wasn’t enough.
I predicted every game of the NFL season through playoffpredictors.com and I had the Tennesse Titans going 9-7, just missing the playoffs with the Houston Texans going 10-6 and winning the AFC South and the Baltimore Ravens and San Diego Chargers both occupying the wildcard spots with a 10-6 record.
Their success this season ultimately depends on if Marcus Mariota can stay consistent, and I honestly don’t think he will be consistent enough to keep up with the many great teams in the AFC.
The Tennessee Titans also have a difficult schedule this season, as I had them losing to the Colts (twice), Texans, Chiefs, Buccaneers, Saints and Panthers. Some other playoff caliber teams that I gave them wins over include the Broncos, Falcons and Chargers.
They have arguably one of the toughest schedules this season, playing three of the deepest divisions in football in the AFC South (which is their own), the NFC South and the AFC West, this season might not be Tennessee’s year.
As for the Memphis Grizzlies, they are just starting a rebuild, but they already have a solid foundation with two young stars in Ja Morant, who they selected 2nd overall in this year’s draft, and Jaren Jackson Jr.
Jonas Valanciunas also serves as a solid starting center, as he is capable of getting 15 points and 10 rebounds a night.
The Memphis Grizzlies don’t really have the pieces yet, nor have their young players have developed fully (as we haven’t even seen Morant step foot on an NBA court yet) I think this year will be a growth year for the Grizzlies, but not a playoff year. I see them being the 11th seed in the Western Conference, winning around 34 games.
We could look at what these teams have for the future, as the Grizzlies are the most promising of the bunch a few years down the line, but we’re looking for who can win Tennessee a championship the quickest and the Nashville Predators already have the upper hand.
They are the biggest playoff contender out of these three this year and they have the squad to pull off a run for the Stanley Cup immediately.
We already saw the majority of this core make a run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2017, just losing out to the Pittsburgh Penguins, so we know what they are capable of.
The Nashville Predators core is also still relatively young, definitely having more longevity than the Titans will with their best offensive weapon being a 34 year old Delanie Walker, so we could see the Predators competing for championships for years to come.
In all honesty, this Nashville Predators roster is built to win not only this year, but for years to come, making it Tennessee’s biggest contender with no competition in sight.