Sep 22, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans cornerback Jason McCourty (30) and cornerback Alterraun Verner (20) celebrate after Verner (20) made the game winning tackle against the San Diego Chargers during the second half at LP Field. The Titans beat the Chargers 20-17. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports
The Tennessee Titans have surprised many by starting the season with a 2-1 record. This is a team that could have been 3-0 if it wasn’t for a few circus catches from DeAndre Hopkins and some mental mistakes on both sides of the ball against the Houston Texans.
In Week 1, the Titans went into Pittsburgh and broke their streak of 10 straight home-opener wins. This past Sunday, the Titans won in the final 15 seconds on a 34-yard pass from Jake Locker to rookie Justin Hunter. This broke their nine-game losing streak to the San Diego Chargers.
The Titans have a tough schedule ahead of them. Regardless, to be the best, they must beat the best. Excluding the Jacksonville Jaguars, the AFC South has three teams sitting at 2-1. The Houston Texans have been the favorites to win the division since the beginning of the season. The Indianapolis Colts look much better now that they stole Trent Richardson away from the Cleveland Browns.
There is no doubt that it will take 10 to 11 victories to win this division. Are the The Titans capable of winning 11 games this season?
You can be the optimistic or realistic fan on that view.
I’ve said since the beginning of the season that the Titans will be at best a 9-7 football team hoping to fall into a wild-card slot. It’s looking like that might not be enough this season with how surprising the AFC teams have looked throughout the first three games.
That leads us to the question: can 10 wins get the Titans into the playoffs? The best case scenario would be the obvious: winning the AFC South, hoping that it falls apart and nine wins gets the job done.
Let’s take a look at the divisions and teams that are looking to grab the two spots. We’ll assume the division winners are the New England Patriots, Cincinnati Bengals, Texans and Denver Broncos. That would leave Tennessee, Baltimore, Miami, Kansas City, and Indianapolis as the prime candidates for the two wild-card spots. Miami has already started the season 3-0. That’s without playing the New York Jets twice or Buffalo Bills twice. Those should be easy wins locking them up for seven quick wins. The Dolphins will win 10-plus games this season.
The Kansas City Chiefs have surprised the league starting 3-0 with new head coach Andy Reid and new quarterback Alex Smith. The defense has also been top three. This team has not played the Oakland Raiders twice or the San Diego Chargers twice. That could put them at seven wins in a flash.
The Titans’ Week 5 matchup against the Chiefs could be the must-win-of-the-year.
The Baltimore Ravens are sitting at 2-1 right now in another bad division which could lead this team to 10 wins. The Colts went into San Francisco and beat up the 49ers this past Sunday. That didn’t help the Titans’ cause. The Titans must beat the Colts at least once to have any shot at the wild card.
The AFC isn’t as weak as it was when a 9-7 record got you in the playoffs. Remember the 2008 Matt Cassel-led New England Patriots team that missed out on the playoffs going 11- 5? This could be another year where double-digit wins may not automatically earn you a trip to the postseason.
This is the NFL anything can happen. Injuries, upsets and of course miracles can take place here. The Titans may need some of those things to occur if they want to be playing football in the postseason for the first time since the 2008 season.
Do you think the Titans can win 10 games this season? Will that be enough to get to the postseason?