Previewing Toughest Matchups for Tennessee Titans in 2017
By Max Dambach
Let’s examine the matchups that will define the Tennessee Titans and cement their status as either a true contender or just a pretender.
Heading into 2017, the Tennessee Titans are being heralded as potential sleeper candidates for the first time in years. After a 9-7 season under new head coach Mike Mularkey that saw the Titans just barely miss the playoffs, a shroud of optimism surrounds the Titans going into 2017. In 2017, the Titans should look to build on their success last year by at least reaching the playoffs.
Where sleeper teams have historically delineated themselves is in their ability to win the tough matchups. Any middling 8-8 team can beat the basement dwellers of the NFL. A playoff team proves itself capable of winning the tough matchups throughout the season. Only then can they be elevated from the status of “sleeper team” to “true playoff contender”.
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In 2016, it can be argued that the Titans were able to win the tough matchups, only to lose to their inferior opponents. The Titans pulled off great wins against playoff caliber teams like the Houston Texans, Miami Dolphins, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, and Denver Broncos. However, they lost to lowly competitors like the injury-ridden San Diego Chargers, the Blake Bortles-led Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Indianapolis Colts (twice!). Thus, an argument can be made that it is the easy matchups that the Titans must focus on winning. However, a more experienced team that has tasted success should naturally be able to close out these easier games. If not, there is something seriously wrong.
Today, we will examine three teams that present the most important matchups for the Titans to win that will define the season. These wins would be statement wins that would prove the Titans are ready to be counted among the league’s elite teams.