What are the Tennessee Titans’ playoff scenarios after their Week 15 loss to the Houston Texans?
The Tennessee Titans’ three-point loss in Week 15 to the Houston Texans is a crushing blow towards winning the division, as the Titans will now need help from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next Saturday if they’re going to have any shot at winning the AFC South for the first time since 2008.
Let’s take a look at the playoff scenarios for Tennessee going into Week 16.
The AFC South scenario
With only two games left, the Titans are now a less-than-ideal game-and-a-half behind the Texans in the standings, and a Houston win or Tennessee loss next week will give the Texans the division title.
Nonetheless, there is reason for this fan base to be optimistic, as the Texans have often been inconsistent throughout the year and are catching a Bucs team that has been extremely hot as of late.
Tampa Bay has a legitimate chance to win that game, which will help leave the door open for a Titans and Texans winner-take-all Week 17 showdown if Tennessee can handle its own business against New Orleans at home in Week 16.
The AFC Wild Card scenario
Tennessee’s best chance at making the playoffs likely remains in the wild card race.
The Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers are both 8-6, although Pittsburgh owns the tiebreaker at the moment (conference record) and sits in the No. 6 seed. Even if the Titans lose in Week 16 to the Saints, they can still make the playoffs through the wild card with a win in Week 17 against the Texans and a loss by the Steelers to either the Jets in Week 16 or the Ravens in Week 17.
In that scenario, both Tennessee and Pittsburgh would have the same conference record, leaving it to the fourth tiebreaker in strength of victory. The Titans would have the edge there.
Also, one win in either of Tennessee’s last two games combined with two losses by Pittsburgh also gets the Titans in. It must be noted that the Titans need the Indianapolis Colts to lose one more game if Tennessee and Pittsburgh both lose out, with Indy owning the tiebreaker over Tennessee if both finish with the same record. In the event of a three way tie at 8-8, the Steelers would get in.
Depending on what happens in the coming week with the Ravens, there’s a chance the Steelers could be playing mostly backups in their Week 17 matchup. Baltimore has an opportunity to wrap up the No. 1 seed with a win in Week 16 and could rest their starters in the final game.
Titans fans have to hope that the Browns can defeat the Ravens and the New England Patriots can beat the Buffalo Bills, which will give Baltimore something to play for in the final week of the season — and that would be great news if the Jets are unable to help the Titans out next week.
One thing is for sure: Tennessee should not be counted out just yet. There are still multiple ways to get into the playoffs, albeit with a little help. Get ready to root for the Bucs, Jets, Patriots and Browns next week.