It seems the same old song is being sung in Music City as the Tennessee Titans are holding on for dear life to their opportunity to make the playoffs in 2017. After a strong start to the season, the Titans seemed to have a smooth sailing course to the playoffs by only needing to win two of their last four games at the least. However, Tennessee is in deep trouble as Mike Mularkey’s team has dropped their last two games against the Arizona Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers. Neither the Cardinals or the Niners were expected to beat the Titans as they are both under .500 this season. Perhaps Tennessee underestimated these two football teams, but one thing is for certain. The Titans must win out.
Playoff Window Closing
Although the Titans laid an egg the past two weeks, they still somehow have a chance to get into the playoffs. Jason Wolf describes the chances in his article “Why the Titans still control playoff destiny despite two-game losing streak” on thetennessean.com, “The Titans have a 12.4 percent chance of winning the division and a 69.5 percent chance of reaching the postseason, according to MakeNFLPlayoffs.com.”
Is there a chance? Yes. Will it be easy? Far from it.
Titans may miss the playoffs in a year where Andrew Luck never played, Watson went down with an injury and Blake freaking Bortles is quarterbacking the Jags. So what happens when Luck/Watson come back?
— Robby Stanley (@RStanleyNHL) December 18, 2017
Here is what is frustrating for the Titans organization and the fans. The last four games included two sub-par teams and two elite teams, so it seemed easy enough for the Titans to play to their potential and defeat the lousy teams (Cardinals and Niners) relatively easy. Instead, the Titans lose to both of them, leaving them to have to defeat the Los Angeles Rams and Jacksonville Jaguars in the last two weeks. To put this into perspective, the Cardinals and 49ers have a combined ten wins this year. The Rams and Jaguars have a combined twenty wins and both have playoff spots. Do the math; that’s double the wins of the Titans’ last two opponents.
Young and Loaded: Rams and Jags
If you told a decent team in the NFL in the past five or ten years they had to beat the Rams or Jaguars, it would usually not be too difficult. This year is different though. The Rams and Jags are fierce playoff competitors in 2017 and take no prisoners from week to week.
The Rams have had an exceptional turnaround from going 4-12 in 2016 to currently being 10-4 with the NFC West title in sight. This can be endowed to Los Angeles’s first-year head coach Sean McVay who is astonishingly only thirty-one years old. He has rejuvenated second-year quarterback Jared Goff with the dynamic Todd Gurley by his side to make the Rams an absolute force.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have a similar story to the Rams as they have turned their 3-13 record in 2016 into clinching a playoff spot last week with their tenth win. The turnaround can be attributed largely to the front office for building a tenacious defense and drafting Leonard Fournette from LSU this year. In fact, the Jaguars defense is historically good in 2017, leading the league in almost every statistic.
— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) December 7, 2017
The combination of this defense and a strong running game has the Jaguars poised for a deep playoff run if they continue their current play.
Get It Done
Seeing what the Titans have to face the next two weeks can most certainly put a damper on the hopes of Tennessee fans seeing their team in the playoffs for the first time since 2008; however, there is hope. Even though the Titans lost two games to two terrible teams in embarrassing fashion, there is still a chance. If Tennessee can make a stand at home where they have been significantly good this year and pull out these two games, then they can catch their breath and attempt at a playoff run. If not, Tennessee fans will be left saying the same phrase any sports fan loathes, “Next year…”.