I realize the title of this article is not exactly accurate. I don’t care. As far as I’m concerned, the playoffs start on Sunday for the Tennessee Titans. There really is no other way around it. Obviously, the Titans could still make the playoffs with a loss against the Houston Texans, but I think we can all admit backing into the playoffs is not the best approach for a team that has been a .500 club over the last 10 games.
Did you catch that? Over the last 10 games, the Tennessee Titans are 5-5. For a team that started 5-0 and showed such early promise, the majority of the season has been average at best. True, they have some big wins but they also have some inexcusable losses. (I’m looking at you, Bengals.)
Yes, the offense has been spectacular throughout the season, with only a few hiccups along the way. I’m not going to hit them too hard for a few missteps. (The first Indy game and the recent debacle in Green Bay come to mind.) Taken as a whole, the offense has been better than any fan could have hoped for. Tannehill, Henry, Davis, Brown, and company have created the best offense Titans’ fans have ever seen. It’s been impressive, to say the least.
But (you knew it was coming), the defense has been equally as bad. Maybe worse. I’ve been watching Tennessee Titans’ football since Day One, and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a defense this pathetic or inept. Sure, I’ve seen defenses equally as bad, but those had zero to little talent. This squad has talent. You will never convince me otherwise. Perhaps we all overvalued the talent on the roster, but I firmly believe the talent is mostly there, outside of edge rushers. Virtually no one on the defense has played up to their talent. Most have had career worst seasons. It’s mindboggling and exasperating. And I see no scenario where is gets much better this season.
So, it’s been a mixed bag. Offensively, this should be a 12 or 13 win team. Defensively, it should be a 1 or 2 win team. It’s miraculous this team has clawed it’s way to 10 wins so far. But, with the way last season ended and the historic firepower of the offense, fans have a right to expect great things from this team. Losing to Houston on Sunday and missing out on the playoffs and the division are not part of the plan.
The playoffs start now. The Titans have no business losing on Sunday to a depleted Houston team. The Titans have the talent to win 11 games, win the AFC South, and host their first playoff game since 2008. This is not a throwaway game. This is a game that will set the tone for the remainder of the season, one way or another. If the Titans win, they have the potential to make another run, maybe all the way to the Super Bowl. (Yeah, I think they are good enough to hang with anyone on any given Sunday.) If the Titans lose, the could miss the playoffs entirely and the fan base would have every right to be more than a little disappointed. Missing the playoffs with this roster and this offense, would be a lower point than anything in the Mularkey era.
The playoffs start now. Titans, go down to Houston this weekend and establish your dominance. Take control of the game from the opening kick and never let it go. Crush the will of the Texans early and keep crushing it until they cry “Mercy!” The playoffs start now and your fans will accept nothing less than a win, a division title, and trip to the playoffs. We’ve stuck through the lean years. There needs to be a payoff for all the suffering. Make it happen.
The playoffs start now.