We are now at the point in the season where playoff scenarios start to take shape. Nearly every game on the NFL schedule this weekend has playoff implications of some kind. Here are the games that relate to the Titans.
All playoff percentage numbers are from the New York Times NFL Playoff Simulator. The odds shown on the games below are independent of the Titans-Texans result on Sunday. The Titans current chances of making the playoffs sit at 79% and their chances of winning the division are exactly 50%. A win over the Texans would take those numbers to 92% and 59%.
Colts (3-8) at Jaguars (7-4) -Sunday, 12:00 PM CST
Titans playoff odds if Jags win: 77%
Titans playoff odds if Colts win: 81%
This is the big one obviously, but it is far more important to the division title race than the Titans odds of just making the playoffs. Tennessee’s chances of winning the division if the Jags win are just 43%, but if the Colts win that number shoots to 66%. A Titans win over Houston combined with a Colts win would push it to 76%. This is a big week in the AFC South division race.
I touched on a potential scenario where the Titans could clinch the tiebreaker over the Jaguars prior to Week 17 in my playoff break down earlier this week. That scenario requires the Titans to beat the Texans and the Jaguars to lose to either the Colts or the Texans.
This game will be on at the same time as the Titans so most of us probably won’t watch it live, but it is one that I’ll be constantly refreshing on my phone during the game. The Jaguars are heavy favorites at home, but they’ll be missing star linebacker Telvin Smith and one of their top receivers in Allen Hurns. The Colts haven’t quit just yet and division games get weird sometimes. The Jags pass rush has to be licking their chops at the thought of facing that Colts line that allowed the Titans 8 sacks last week.
I don’t think its very likely, but a Colts win in Jacksonville would be a massive help for the Titans shot at winning the AFC South.
Lions (6-5) at Ravens (6-5) - Sunday, 12:00 PM CST
Titans playoff odds if Ravens win: 77%
Titans playoff odds if Lions win: 82%
The Ravens (6-5) are going to be a primary competitor with the AFC South runner up for a wild card spot, so a Lions win would be much appreciated. Its always fun to root against the Ravens anyway.
Patriots (9-2) at Bills (6-5) - Sunday, 12:00 PM CST
Titans playoff odds if Bills win: 76%
Titans playoff odds if Patriots win: 82%
This one could go either way. If you’re an unusually optimistic Titans fan, you might root for the Bills with your eye on an unlikely-but-still-possible 2 seed. The Pats play in Pittsburgh in Week 15 so if you want to dream, a Bills upset would give you a chance to do that.
However, the realistic Titans fan will be rooting for New England. The Bills — somehow — are still right in the thick of the wild card race and that makes them an enemy of the Titans.
Chiefs (6-5) at Jets (4-7) - Sunday, 12:00 PM CST
Titans playoff odds if Chiefs win: 78%
Titans playoff odds if Jets win: 81%
This is one that likely matters more for seeding purposes than whether or not the Titans make the playoffs. We should be rooting for the Jets to keep the Chiefs implosion going. The Chiefs currently lead the AFC West by a game over the Chargers and Raiders, trail the Titans by a game for the 3 seed in the AFC.
Beyond seeding, the Chiefs are another 6-5 team that could find themselves in the wild card mix if they blow their division lead out west, which I think they will.
Browns (0-11) at Chargers (5-6) - Sunday, 3:05 PM CST
Titans playoff odds if Chargers win: 79%
Titans playoff odds if Browns win: 81%
You can root for the Browns if you’d like, but the Chargers are winning this game. A Browns win helps the Titans slightly though. The Chargers could still end up challenging for a wild card spot or pushing the Chiefs in to a wild card spot. This is also the team I’d least want to see in the playoffs out of all the Titans potential first round matchups.
Giants (2-9) at Raiders (5-6) - Sunday, 3:25 PM CST
Titans playoff odds if Raiders win: 79%
Titans playoff odds if Giants win: 80%
The Giants gave up on the 2017 season this week so don’t expect much from them here, but an Oakland loss would be slightly helpful for the Titans. The Raiders are another of the big group of AFC teams that could mount a challenge for a wild card spot. They are a particularly dangerous one for the Titans due to the head to head tiebreaker, however their schedule down the stretch means they would have to really start playing well to make up the 2 game gap over the next 5 weeks. It would be a welcome upset, but I don’t think it happens.
Steelers (9-2) at Bengals (5-6) - Monday, 7:30 PM CST
Titans playoff odds if Bengals win: 79%
Titans playoff odds if Steelers win: 80%
For me this one will depend on the result of the Titans game Sunday. If the Titans win, I’ll probably be rooting for the Bengals in the hopes that a Steelers loss at least keeps the possibility of a 2 seed alive (even though it would still be a longshot). If the Titans lose, then we have to pull for the Steelers to keep the Bengals 2 games back.