The Tennessee Titans are primed to make some noise in the NFL playoffs.
That’s not a sentence I thought I’d be writing this year — especially after the Titans were blown out in back to back weeks by the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans.
But with two weeks left in the regular season, the Titans look like a team that can cause some damage in the post-season.
Which is why the rest of the conference should hope the Titans are held out of the playoffs.
The Mike Vrabel difference
It’s not surprising that Tennessee is “figuring it out” under new head coach Mike Vrabel. I’m just surprised it’s happening this soon.
Vrabel doesn’t have a lot of coaching experience, and he’s made plenty of mistakes this season, but he’s proving he was the right choice to replace Mike Mularkey.
It would’ve been easy for the Titans to fold after their embarrassing division losses to the Colts and Texans in November. But Vrabel held the team together and they suddenly look like one of the toughest teams in the NFL.
The Titans have given up only one touchdown over the last 11 quarters. Their defensive look was so deceptive last week that Giants players openly admitted their confusion.
Vrabel on comments from the Giants that the Titans defense was confusing: “We’re getting comfortable, using more front multiplicity. It’s good to see.”
— AtoZSports Nashville (@AtoZSports) December 17, 2018
The Giants scored 70 points in their two previous games before being shut out by the Titans this past weekend.
When you combine the defensive performance with the emergence of running back Derrick Henry (408 yards and six touchdowns over the last two weeks), it’s clear that Tennessee has found their groove.
And with two games left this season, it couldn’t come at a better time.
The Titans must finish strong against the Washington Redskins and the Indianapolis Colts (in Nashville). With the Colts and the Ravens also sitting at eight wins, it means the Titans have to win out to ensure they reach the playoffs. The Ravens have tough matchups against the Chargers and the Browns on deck, which means the week 17 matchup between the Colts and the Titans could essentially be a play in game for the final AFC playoff spot.
If the Titans get in, the rest of the AFC better watch out. They’re playing as well as anyone not named the Chargers or Chiefs right now.
And they’re certainly capable of beating both of those teams.
Featured image via Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports