Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel is a quarter of the way through his first season leading a NFL franchise, but there’s still plenty to learn about the former All-Pro linebacker.
So far we’ve learned that Vrabel does an excellent job of preparing his team when the odds aren’t in their favor. The Titans are currently riding a three game winning streak. The majority of NFL analysts didn’t predict the Titans to win any of those three games.
But Tennessee found a way to win. Would they have won those games under previous head coach Mike Mularkey? I’m not so sure they would have.
In week five, Vrabel will face a different challenge than he has the previous few weeks. And it could be his most daunting challenge yet.
The Titans are favored by nearly a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
This is a game the Titans should easily win. They have more talent on both sides of the ball, they’re starting to get healthy, and they’re just a better overall team in general.
But this is the NFL. There are no “easy” games.
In week three, after losing their first two games by more than 10 points, the Bills were expected to be blown out by the Minnesota Vikings.
Josh Allen’s touchdown pass to make it 17-0 Bills-Vikingspic.twitter.com/5nKr1CWwlo
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) September 23, 2018
Buffalo, however, rolled all over the Vikings early, eventually winning 27-6.
The Vikings have one of the best defenses in the league. They also have a solid quarterback in Kirk Cousins who has elite weapons in wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen.
Minnesota simply came into that game with a bit too much confidence. While I’m a big fan of Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer, the Vikings’ flat performance against the Bills falls on him.
And the same will be true of Vrabel if the Titans come out flat on Sunday.
But if the Titans come out with some fire and handle business, it will show us that Vrabel possesses an important coaching trait. The ability to keep a team focused in a game they should easily win can be incredibly difficult. It’s something the great coaches (the Belichicks and Sabans of the world) are able to do consistently.
If the Titans want to be great this season, they have to win the games they’re expected to win. They can’t let any of these games where they’re big favorites slip away.
Sunday’s matchup against the Bills might not seem like it, but it’s a key game for the Titans in 2018.
Featured image via The Tennessean