Heading into the Bye week, the Titans are in a decent position in the AFC South. With that being said, it is definitely not the most ideal situation for the team to be in, with four games to go. 6-6 is a fine record for a team that earned the first overall pick in the draft last year, but as a Titans fan its playoffs or bust. The question is how can they get there?
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Easy, win the division. I know how that sounds, but the reality is that a wildcard spot would be extremely difficult to get because of the quality talent in the AFC. Luckily for the faithful in Nashville, the AFC South may be the weakest division in Football. That is up for debate, but the division is completely up for grabs. The Colts and the Texans are the only real threats and are they playing better right now than Tennessee?
With four games to go, the Titans would have to go 3-1 to have a shot at winning the division. 4-0 would be ideal and would almost guarantee the division, but lets not get in over our heads here. The four remaining opponents are Denver, Kansas City, Jacksonville and Houston. Hypothetically speaking, all of these games could be won, but lets take a deeper look into it:
The more realistic wins are Jacksonville and Houston. The Jaguars have not played well this year and the Titans already manhandled them in week eight. The score may not show it because of a late touchdown, but Tennessee dominated that game. So lets count that as a win. Now we have Houston, this game could really go either way. Houston does not really scare me like they should. Brock Osweiler is not a real passing threat and the Defense is definitely beatable. In week four we were watching a different Titans team than the one that stepped out onto the field against the Bears last Sunday. Overall, this is a very winnable game and could end up being for the division in week 17.
Now this brings us to the giant elephants in the room. The Titans will have to defeat either the Denver Broncos or the Kansas City Chiefs. Yes they have to beat one of them, 8-8 probably will not be enough to achieve a playoff birth. At that point Tennessee would have a later draft pick and would not even have a playoff spot.
Both of these games are winnable but Marcus Mariota will definitely have to be on his game and the Defense has to model some of Dick Lebeau’s Steelers defenses. Don’t forget the Bears almost came back and won that game last week. Yea those Bears.
The more winnable game is probably Kansas City. The problem with winning that game, is the atmosphere in Kansas City. That stadium is one of the toughest stadiums to play in in the NFL. The Chiefs are a very solid team, but they do not have one element that is excellent like the Broncos do with their defense. This is why this game is more realistic to win. The Broncos defense is arguably the best defense in the NFL and will give Marcus Mariota a tough time. Both of these games are winnable when the Titans are on their game, but it will be an uphill battle. If they can steal a game against the Broncos or Chiefs the Titans will most likely be a playoff team for the first time since 2008.