By John Glennon | The Tennessean
If the Titans are to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2008, they'll have to first survive a challenging opening month.
Tennessee will open the 2012 season Sept. 9 at LP Field, against Tom Brady and the defending AFC champion New England Patriots. Next up will be a trip to San Diego, followed by a home game against Detroit and a road trip to AFC South champion Houston.
That means three of the six games against 2011 playoff teams will come in the first four weeks.
But after being passed over for prime-time games in 2011, the Titans will return to national television twice this year -- at home.
The Titans will play host to Pittsburgh on Thursday, Oct. 11, at 7:20 p.m., and to Tim Tebow and the New York Jets on Monday, Dec. 17, at 7:30. The latter will be the first Monday Night Football game at LP Field since 2008.
Some familiar faces will visit LP Field, as former Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is now Lions head coach and former Vanderbilt star Jay Cutler is quarterbacking the Bears.
The Titans will play 10 games before their bye week on Nov. 18.
"What stands out to me is the two home prime-time games," Coach Mike Munchak said. "We didn't have any last year, and those are fun for our fans and an opportunity to showcase our team.
"The bye falls really late, but hopefully the Thursday night game in October will give us a long weekend and extra days to get players some rest. The final six games feature four division games and five AFC games, so it gives us a chance to control our own destiny down the stretch."
Reach John Glennon at 615-259-8262