The Tennessee Titans’ landslide Week 14 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars allowed them to shine bright in the AFC playoff picture.
With only three weeks left in the 2020 regular season, the Titans continue to control their playoff destiny. After this Sunday’s must-win, Tennessee is still holding onto first place in the AFC South. Defeating the Jaguars allowed the Titans to keep their record tied with the Colts after they beat the Raiders. As of this week, the Titans still own the South over the Colts based on divisional win percentage.
The outcome of Sunday Night Football in Week 14 was a huge deciding factor when it comes to the overall look of the AFC playoff picture. Buffalo was able to squash Pittsburgh, allowing them to keep their number 3 slot in the playoff picture. If the Bills lost against the Steelers, Tennessee would have reclaimed third place overall in the AFC; the Titans’ victory over the Bills back in Week 5 allows them to have the head-to-head advantage in a tiebreak situation.
That being said, the Titans are arguably better off with this Week 14 SNF outcome. This Steelers loss lessens the chances of the Titans facing the Chiefs in the divisional round if the defending Super Bowl champs end up being the 1st seed. There’s a solid chance that Pittsburgh will lose at least one game after Week 14, elevating the possibility of Kansas City being able to clinch first place.
Since the Titans have the tiebreak advantage over the Bills, there is a chance that Tennessee will be able to swipe third place away from them in the weeks to come. While Buffalo’s SNF win allows them to be one game ahead, there’s still a possibility that they will lose at least one more regular-season matchup. In that case, if the Titans win out, they will secure the 3rd seed. Since the Chiefs will most likely be the No. 1 seed, this scenario would provide Tennessee with an easier postseason path.
AFC Playoff Picture
No. 1 Kansas City Chiefs (12-1): 4-1 in the AFC West. 10-1 in conference play. Division and playoff berth clinched.
No. 2 Pittsburgh Steelers (11-2): 4-0 in the AFC North. 8-1 in conference play. Week 7 head-to-head advantage over the Titans. Playoff berth clinched.
No. 3 Buffalo Bills (10-3): 4-0 in the AFC East. 7-2 in conference play.
No. 4 Tennessee Titans (9-4): 4-1 in AFC South. 7-4 in conference play. Owns tiebreaker over the Colts based on divisional win percentage.
No. 5 Cleveland Browns (9-3): 2-2 in AFC North. 6-3 in conference play. Owns a wild card tiebreaker over the Titans based on head-to-head win percentage.
No. 6 Indianapolis Colts (9-4): 2-2 in the AFC South. 5-4 in conference play.
No. 7 Miami Dolphins (8-5): 2-2 in AFC East. 5-4 in conference play.
In the Hunt
No. 8 Baltimore Ravens (7-5): 2-2 in AFC North. 4-5 in conference play.
No. 9 Las Vegas Raiders (7-6): 3-1 in AFC West. 5-4 in conference play.
The Titans Need to Stay Strong
The Titans may have added a decisive “W” into their record today, but the road ahead isn’t exactly a cakewalk. In Week 16, Derrick Henry has to show Packers QB Aaron Rodgers who really deserves that MVP title in order to keep the Titans’ playoff race momentum steady. With 215 rushing yards today, it’s still possible that the 2019 Rushing Champion could even reach 2,000 yards this season.
Even though Ryan Tannehill did his job this week, he is still due for one of his classic break-out victories. The last time Tannehill threw for 300+ yards (minus the meaningless last-minute yards against the Browns) was in Week 6 against the Texans.
All in all, if the Titans expect to have a chance at a solid playoff berth, they are going to need to keep their wits about them and stay consistent.
Featured Image: Mike Watters – USA Today Sports.