The Tennessee Titans are one win away from clinching the top seed in the AFC and with that come the all-important bye week.
In nearly any other circumstances an 11-5 team traveling to face a 4-12 team who has nothing to lose, would be a trap game. However, due to some past transgressions, the Tennessee Titans could be motivated more by revenge than seeding.
There are some individuals who have their issues with the Texans, but more than anything the team as a whole should look at this game as a chance to demonstrate who the Tennessee Titans really are at this point in the season.
In a cold, rainy loss against the Houston Texans in Week 11 the Titans were poorly coached, banged up beyond belief, and just mentally unprepared for a Texans team coming off of a bye week.
In that game, the Titans had 5 turnovers and still only lost by 9 points. This is a great opportunity to show exactly how much better this version of Tennessee is compared to that team.
Which Tennessee Titans players are the most motivated?
The list has to start with Zach Cunningham who actually played for the Texans the last time that these two teams met. Not too long ago, Cunningham was viewed as a leader of that defense and as someone that Houston was excited to build around.
Since then Cunningham was cut by the new regime and has quickly found a home in Nashville where his skills (and violence) on the football field are very appreciated.
Next is Ryan Tannehill who was victimized by a defense that was allowed to tee off on the quarterback due to a combination of injuries, bad play calling, and bad weather. Tannehill made plenty of mistakes in that game, but you could have put Tom Brady in that situation and he wouldn’t have done much better (insert any play from the New Orleans Saints game where he had similar injuries to his wide receivers).
No one should be asking Tannehill to throw it all over the field this week, but an efficient game where he continues to build on strong performances as he had against the Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers, would make this Titans team even more threatening.
MyCole Pruitt was lost for the season last week diminishing the (large) number of former Texans players that are on the Titans roster, but that number was quickly boosted when they signed another former Texans tight end, Ryan Izzo.
Not including Izzo, here are the Titans players with connections to the Texans: David Quessenberry, Ben Jones, Kendall Lamm, Dontrell Hilliard, Zach Cunningham, Dylan Cole, Randy Bullock, and most importantly this week D’Onta Foreman.
Foreman took a few weeks to get up to speed, but he has had 100+ rushing yards in three of his last five games with the Tennessee Titans. With Derrick Henry likely sitting out this week, this will probably be Foreman’s last time as the bell cow back for the offense.
Nothing would be better revenge than topping 100+ yards again against the team who cut him. Another factor here is that a great game from Foreman might help restart his career. After sitting out a year in 2019, Foreman will only be 26 this summer and he has only had 219 rushing attempts in his career.
This could be the rare revenge/fresh start combo game for Foreman, and Tennessee Titans fans should be proud that this team saw that ability in him when everyone else had left him behind.