NFL releases Tennessee's 2004 schedule

By Wes Holtsclaw
STAR STAFF
wholtsclaw@starhq.com

   With three nationally televised games, including two Monday night battles and a Christmas nightcap, the Tennessee Titans feel pretty good about their upcoming schedule.
   "As far as the schedule is concerned, a different set of challenges is consistent with the schedule every year," Titans coach Jeff Fisher told reporters Thursday at Nashville's Baptist Sports complex. "This one has its own unique set of challenges."
   The NFL released the 2004 schedule on Wednesday.
   The Titans open the preseason at home against Cleveland on August 14th, before road trips to Buffalo and a Monday night feature against Jason Witten and the Dallas Cowboys.
   The team concludes the four-game stretch at home against Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers.
   The Packers are the first prime-time game on the Titans schedule, as Steve McNair and the Tennessee unit visit Green Bay on Monday, October 11th.
   "It is going to be an exciting game for us," said the coach of the Packers visit.
   The Titans host the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday, December 13th, and take on the Denver Broncos on Christmas night.
   Chicago (11/14), Detroit (1/2) and Cincinnatti (10/31) will also visit the Coliseum, while Tennessee takes to the road against Oakland (12/19), Minnesota (10/24), San Diego (10/3) and open at Miami (9/12).
   "We have not opened on the road since 2000," Fisher said. "We've been able and fortunate to open at home for many years, so this will be a challenge in itself going down to a tough place to play at Miami, which is really pretty good at home.
   "We're excited the schedule is out and finally here. Now we know as far as who to prepare for early," he said. "You are typically concerned about uncommon opponents early in the schedule.
   "We're familiar with Miami, and it's not really until we get into weeks 4 and 5 with Green Bay and San Diego, will we get into that part of the schedule where you lack familiarity," said the coach.
   The team also hosts and visits its usual AFC South foes in the Indianapolis Colts (9/19 and 12/5), Houston Texans (10/17 and 11/28) and Jacksonville Jaguars (9/26 and 11/21).
   The Titans staff and players are excited about the opportunity for nationally televised games on the schedule.
   "The players like the atmosphere. As a coach, I prefer to play all 16 here at noon," said Fisher. "That's the way we are just because of the schedule changes and so on and so forth. We're really excited for our fans.
   "We didn't have a home Monday night game here last year, so the Kansas City game in itself will be a great experience here against a very good club," he said. "Then of course, two weeks later we play again in a very similar environment Christmas day night in a nationally-televised game on ESPN against a very good team in Denver."
   The Titans fell in the second round of the playoffs last season at eventual Super Bowl champion New England.
   DALLAS SCHEDULE FEATURES FIVE NATIONAL GAMES
   The Dallas Cowboys will host one of the featured battles on Thanksgiving Day, while three Monday night battles and a Sunday night game round out their schedule.
   Elizabethton's second-year tight end Jason Witten will play a featured role again this season for America's Team as they host the Philadelphia Eagles and visit both Washington and Seattle during the Monday night battles.
   Dallas closes the season with a Sunday night outing on the road against the New York Giants. The Cowboys will host the Chicago Bears for the late-afternoon Thanksgiving outing.
   Dallas will also visit Cincinatti (11/7) and Baltimore (11/21) this season in games that won't be too far for people from this area to attend.
   (Quotes courtesy of Tennessee Titans)