As the 2020 NFL season enters its final stretch, the Tennessee Titans are in a great position.

After soundly defeating the Jaguars on Sunday, Tennessee is 9-4 and leads the AFC South with three games left to go until the end of the regular season. In two of those three remaining games, the Titans will face disastrous teams who’ve already fired their head coaches

Before the 2020 season began, several Titans players discussed the importance of getting off to a fast start and finishing the season in a comfortable position, rather than having to string together miraculous win streaks or rely on other teams for help.

Now that the Titans have done that, they need to finish the season on a high note. Their start to the season has been impressive, but it will be rendered meaningless with a weak finish.

“You want to win as many games as fast as you can. Nine wins is good, but it’s nowhere near where we want to be,” QB Ryan Tannehill said.

A FAST START

Under Vrabel, Titans fans have grown accustomed to their team entering the homestretch of the season limping and barely alive.

In 2018, the Titans went into Week 13 with a 5-6 record essentially needing to run the table to secure a playoff berth. They won four games in a row against bad teams before falling to the Colts in Week 17 and coming up short of a playoff spot.

In 2019, the Titans were 4-5 heading into Week 10. They did earn a playoff spot at the end of the season, but it required help from other teams around the league and a 5-2 finish to the season.

Those regular-season finishes led to multiple players commenting before the 2020 season that, for the team to reach its goals, that cycle of slow starts would have to be broken.

“If we do get off to a fast start, it’s going to be very helpful for us for the rest of the season, it’s going to take a lot of pressure off,” guard Rodger Saffold said back in September.

To their credit, the Titans have accomplished just that. They started the 2020 season with five-straight wins, and they’re currently 9-4.

As a result, they won’t need a miracle finish to make the playoffs. They won’t have to scoreboard watch.

TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS

They do, however, have to take care of business.

Because, though having nine wins through 13 games is a praiseworthy feat, it will mean nothing if the Titans can’t handle the terrible 5-7 Lions and worse 4-9 Texans.

The Titans also have an upcoming date with the Packers on Sunday Night Football, though 11 wins will likely be plenty for the Titans to win the AFC South.

Despite their flaws, the 2020 Titans are too good of a team to not end the season with a division title.

It will be vital for the Titans to host a playoff game if they want to improve on last season’s success and actually make it to the Super Bowl.

Arguably one of the reasons that the 2019 Titans fell short to Kansas City in the AFC Championship is that they just didn’t have any gas left in the tank following two road wins against top-notch teams.

To avoid another situation like that, the Titans need to finish strong. The players and coaches must keep their collective foot on the gas.

“It’s all about starting fast and finishing strong,” CB Malcolm Butler said. “That’s the motto around here, and that’s what we’ve got to do.”

Cover image: Reinhold Matay/USA Today


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