The playoffs start this week for the Titans, which given their recent playoff outings, is about as good news as a divorce. Oh, and it’s in primetime, where they’re 1-3 this season. Even more great news! At least this game is on the road, I guess?
In their last 5 road playoff games, they’re 3-2. In their last 5 road trips to Duval County, they’re 4-1.
If it feels like I’m grasping at straws here, it’s because I kinda am. On a scale of 1 to this team is winning the AFC South, I’m probably sitting around 4.5 to a 6 in my confidence level, depending on when you ask me. I mean, we’re just over a week removed from when the Titans lost to the Texans, 20-14. And we’re less than a day removed from the Jaguars trouncing those same Texans, 31-3. *gulp* The Jags are hot, something they haven’t been called since 2017 – unless weather is being discussed. And whats even scarier, they’re well-coached, something they haven’t been called since… Tom Coughlin?
But the game still has to be played and with that, let’s go over the PROS and CONS.
PRO: this defense
I’d put this defense up against any offense in the NFL aside from the Bills and Eagles, and even then, I’d probably trust them in a rematch. Why? They’re one of the best coached units in the NFL. As good as Andy Reid and Eric Bienamy are at coaching offenses, Vrabel and Shane Bowen are that good at defenses. In recent playoffs, they’ve stifled Lamar Jackson, Tom Brady, and Joe Burrow (despite the walk-off loss). And they’ve done so with dozens of injuries at all times. There truly is a next-man-up mentality with this unit. It’s unreal. So if this defense can somehow hold Trevor Lawrence to less than 13 points (not possible), then they should win. All because of my next point…
CON: the offense
For as well coached as the defense is, their offense is the exact opposite. If, at the end of the year, we found out that the offense was being run by these guys…
No one would be surprised. In fact, I’m to the point where I hope this entire season was just one big TruTV special. And if it is, at least I won’t have to re-watch it because I still have no idea what channel number that is.
PRO: Derrick Lamar Henry Jr.
I’m not putting a ton of eggs in this basket, just based solely on the weakness of this offensive line, but whatever eggs I do put in that basket, I know Derrick Henry is going to crack them open like defender’s skulls, and make a few omelettes. Keep in mind, this is a team he historically runs the ball extremely well against. He’s gone over 120 yards in 5 of his last 7 games against the Jags. With two of those games topping 215 yards. In their last meeting, Derrick put up 96 yards… in the FIRST QUARTER. So can the King go off? Definitely. Will he? I sure as hell hope so.
CON: the Titans quarterback situation
I talked about it on my Cowboys game reaction, but having to choose between Joshua Dobbs and Malik Willis feels like choosing how you want to die: by poison or getting shot in the face. And the Titans wisely chose poison.
Don’t get me wrong. I like Josh Dobbs. If his athleticism and talent could match his intelligence, he’d be Peyton Manning. But unfortunately, he’s closer to a Jonathan Crompton, when it comes to his talent. But Dobbs and Manning both have massive heads with massive brains inside, so there’s that.
I also hope Malik Willis can be a great pro, but his situation has all the feelings of hoping your drunk uncle won’t drink at Thanksgiving dinner. Your expectations should be low, because until he gets legitimate help, he’ll remain who he is.
CON: Their Season Could End This Weekend
Any time a Titans season ends, I turn into Ben Affleck at a Batman v Superman press junket.
The off-season is always so long, and coming off last year’s, I’m no longer confident in its outcomes. So I’m going to go ahead and warn my wife that this weekend will have another “wake me up off the couch without spilling the whiskey glass on my lap” Saturday night.
PRO: Their Season Could End This Weekend
I’ve written on this blog before how this year’s team has turned me into a nihilist. I don’t enjoy watching them play. Even when they were 7-3, it wasn’t a fun 7-3. It was frustrating. And since the firing of Jon Robinson, the entire future of this franchise feels unstable. Do you bring back Tannehill? How do you bolster your offensive line and wide receiving corps on a budget of the 17 dollars you have left in the salary cap? And then there’s the coaching staff. Have I had night terrors of waking up to the news of the Titans giving Todd Downing a contract extension? Of course. But the sooner this season can end, the sooner the Titans can (presumably) move in a different direction with their offensive coaching staff. And hopefully this time they don’t *gulp* hire from within again.
So again, am I confident? It depends on when you ask. Right now? Not very much so. But I know with every minute leading up to kickoff, I’ll talk myself into how this team won’t hurt me like they have for nine weeks this season.