By: Brendan Smart ( @ bsmart21 )
The Tennessee Titans are currently at (2-6), four games below .500 and I am talking about playoffs. Yes, I said the word I told Titans fans to throw out of their minds, but this could be a reality – a very possible reality. The Titans are playing in a terrible division where quarterbacks have been beaten and battered. Tuesday, we learned that Indianapolis Colts Pro Bowl quarterback Andrew Luck would miss 2-6 weeks with abdominal injuries. The Indianapolis Colts are currently leading the division by a game and a half, which is far from being a comfortable cushion with their quarterback set to miss time. Little over a week ago the Titans season looked to be over, but after a coaching change and a revamped offensive line, the Titans are on the rise, and could very well close the gap between themselves and the Colts.
Let’s start with how I predict the Houston Texans (3-5) final eight games, and if you’re a Texans fan you might want to close your eyes. The Texans have a reeling offensive system that I don’t see getting together to produce key wins. Houston faces Cincinnati in Cincinnati on Monday Night Football and let’s be honest the Bengals are probably going to pick the Texans apart on national TV. If The Houston Texans have a stable quarterback, and a quality running back the Texans take this division easy, but this season, they have neither so they will not see much success.
Next, we travel southeast and check on the rebuilding Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6). This sounds crazy, and sad, but the Jaguars have had so many busted draft picks it’s ridiculous. Blake Bortles is taking his time developing in the NFL, and as a Titans fan it makes me look at Marcus Mariota and appreciate his skill level at this point. With the right offensive coordinator, and better receivers around Bortles, they would have a chance, but this season it’s just not happening.
Then we travel up north to the AFC south leading Indianapolis Colts (4-5), and here is where it gets tough. A few games will hurt the Colts chances of taking the division while Andrew Luck heals from abdominal injuries. I figure Luck will return in four weeks at the most, and to start the four weeks off the Colts will have their bye week. Following the bye week they travel to Atlanta to take on a strong Falcons team, and I do not see veteran Matt Hasselback leading the Colts to victory there. The Colts the following week will welcome the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to town, and if the Colts lose this game then, look for the Titans to be hanging around a tie for first place by this point. Where Colts lose the division is when they travel to fight a tough Steelers team. The Tennessee Titans welcome the reeling Jacksonville Jaguars that week.
Still with me? Next we head on home to Nashville Tennessee where the Titans welcome the Carolina Panthers to town, and this is a BIG game for all of this to work. The Titans are like every other team in the division if they did not have a defense, but the Titans have a top five defense. This top five defense has to show up this Sunday versus the undefeated Carolina Panthers. Not saying if the Titans lose, then it’s all over, but it gets tougher. Yes, this is a lot of speculation, but the Titans hold their own future. This is a vast contrast from a week and a half ago when fans were asking “how soon until the offseason?” Now, Titans fans have something to cheer about, because this team isn’t done. Being underrated heading into Sunday’s matchup is probably the Titans best gift. Hold me to this Titans fans, and know that even if this doesn’t work out that this team’s future is great.