After six weeks of the regular season, some things have been cleared up and some are still murky when it comes to the NFL. Supposed upstart teams have flopped on their faces, powerhouses maybe aren’t what they used to be, and rookies are transcending expectations. In all honesty, it’s nothing new. This happens every year in the NFL; surprises that make us love the unpredictability of football more and more.
Still, though, the fact that only three teams in the AFC currently have a winning record (and that number can be reduced to two should the Chargers lose tonight) is a bit of a shock. Especially when compared to the NFC which has seven over .500, including the best defense in the league as well as the only undefeated team left.
For the past decade or so it’s been common knowledge that the NFC was an inferior conference to the tough, hard-nosed AFC. Teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots had asserted their dominance as the perennial kings of the NFL. The Baltimore Ravens maintained their reputation as one of the most hard-hitting defenses that had been seen in a while. Peyton Manning turned the Indianapolis Colts into a regular season juggernaut, winning an unprecedented amount of games. Add in the San Diego Chargers and the New York Jets and the AFC boasted some incredibly good squads for a good amount of time.
The NFC didn’t exactly replicate the success and reputation of the AFC with the New York Giants, Green Bay Packers, and the Chicago Bears as the meat of the conference. While those teams were at many times very good, they were also inconsistent. Along with teams like the New Orleans Saints and now the Falcons and San Francisco 49ers, the NFC is starting to turn the tables on the AFC. And the AFC is helping in making that happen.
Right now there are two good teams in the AFC: the Ravens and the Houston Texans. The Ravens have won their last five games by very little margins. And among those small margin wins were the Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs. Tough, I know. The Texans had very assuringly won all of their games up until last night’s debacle where Aaron Rodgers and the Packers literally ripped the Texans to shreds. Surely a demoralizing loss, it’s hard to believe anyone could’ve competed with those Packers last night.
The rest of the AFC isn’t even worth mentioning except for the Chargers, who can’t ever seem to put it all together, and the Patriots, who are always on the verge of another championship.
This year things are different, though.
The Patriots have mounting problems, as they’ve dropped two of their three to the Cardinals and Seahawks. The Steelers aren’t even close to the Steelers of old, as evidenced by their loss to a struggling Titans team on Thursday night. And the Jets are one of the most inconsistent teams I’ve ever had the displeasure of watching. Also, that team is a complete circus.
So, where do the Titans show up in all of this?
Unfortunately, they don’t.
With the way they’ve played in these first six weeks you can understand why. They’ve looked like a team completely lost in mental lapses, with all of their losses coming by way of rout. Statistically, they’ve been the worst team in the league. Thankfully, they’ve been able to come away with two emotional, hard-fought wins against decent teams that have kept the Titans’ season alive. I don’t know whether their performance has been misleading or if it was the preseason optimism surrounding the team that led us to think differently.
All I know is that as bad as they’ve looked, in know why has their season ended. They’re 2-4 and only one game out of the playoffs. It’s way too early to even be talking about the playoffs, but from what we’ve seen out of the teams in our conference, there is a lot of football left to be played. It’s entirely up to the players and the coaches to look past the first one-third of the season, build on every game played, and find a way to win ball games, no matter who’s behind center or who’s not on the field.
What do you want to do, Titans? Revel in the opportunities that have been and will be presented to you? Or bask in mediocrity and waste another season? It’s your call. Make a choice.