Tennessee Titans and the State of the AFC South


With the NFL season close to completion, and with the Titans season over already, let’s check in on every team within the division.

Tennessee Titans

Let’s start with our boys in two tone blue. A fun, exciting season ended in disappointment as the Titans just missed out on the playoffs by way of a poor division record. Still, they finished with the same record as the division leaders and tied an NFL record by beating five playoff teams as a non-playoff team. There are still weaknesses on the roster that must be tended to, primarily on the defensive side of the ball, but the Titans might very well go into next season as the AFC South favorites. But, we’ve said enough about their season. Let’s move on.

Houston Texans

The Texans are currently playing the New England Patriots in the second round of the NFL playoffs. They beat the Derek Carr-less Oakland Raiders in the first round, but will more than likely fall to a really good Pats team in Foxborough. The Texans narrowly sneaked into the playoffs, using a Titans loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars and a subsequent win against the Cincinnati Bengals as the springboard.

The Texans really only have one concern heading into next season, but that main concern is related to the most important position in all of football: quarterback. They backed up the Brink’s truck for Brock Osweiler in the offseason, and that plan has backfired. Osweiler had a horrendous season, and was even benched for Tom Savage near the end of the season. Osweiler got his job back with help from a Savage concussion, but the Texans are surely uneasy about going into 2017 with Robert Pattinson’s doppelganger behind center. There are also rumors that Bill O’Brien may not be in Houston for long, but two straight division titles should give him a longer leash. Regardless of those worries, the Texans are the Titans’ chief opponent for the division heading into next year.

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Indianapolis Colts

The reason the Texans are the Titans’ main competitor is because the Colts have no idea what they are doing. After a disappointing season with Andrew Luck, a generational talent, at quarterback, the Colts held on to Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Head coach Chuck Pagano, who has pretty much been saved by Luck time and again, and Ryan Grigson, whose only saving grace has been drafting Luck No. 1 overall, are still leading the charge for Indianapolis. It came out today, though, that owner Jim Irsay made overtures to lure Jon Gruden from ESPN to replace Pagano. Gruden smartly declined. Irsay also wants Peyton Manning as “head of football”, and that is still a possibility.

Even if Irsay gets Manning, the Colts are stuck in purgatory. They have an amazing quarterback whom they can’t protect and a poor defense, as well as an aging running back. The Titans still can’t beat the Colts, mostly because Luck dismantles the Tennessee defense whenever given the opportunity. But the Colts aren’t going to get much better until Pagano and/or Grigson are gone, which doesn’t look likely until at least 2018.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Ah, the Jaguars. The good old, FREAKING Jaguars. Titans fans will probably always harbor hate for the Jags after this season. They ended the Titans playoff hopes by suddenly becoming the Patriots for a day, all while also injuring our beloved Marcus Mariota. Of course, it was a freak injury, but I’m still mad about it. Jacksonville is in a peculiar situation. Like the Texans, they’re going into 2017 uneasy about their quarterback situation. Blake Bortles regressed after a solid 2015 season, and showed no signs of becoming the franchise quarterback that they drafted him to be.

After being hyped up as a sleeper team in the offseason, they finished the year 3-13 and with Doug Marrone as an interim head coach after the firing of Gus Bradley. Marrone was then promoted to full time head coach once the season ended. Sound familiar? The Jags are going the Titans’ route for success, hiring a uninspiring former head coach who didn’t have much to brag about in his former stint. We’ll see if it pans out, but Mike Mularkey at least had a great young quarterback and a smart GM to turn things around with. The Jaguars don’t have that luxury right now.