clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

NFL Playoff Picture: How a first round bye is still in play for the Titans heading into Week 17

New, comments

It’s going to be a wild finish in the AFC.

NFL: Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

After dropping to 5-6 and left for dead following back to back road losses to the Colts and Texans, the Titans battled back, won four straight, and caught all the breaks they needed to control their own destiny heading into Week 17. Somehow, in addition to just having a chance to make the playoffs, the Titans still have a chance to win the division and even earn a first round bye if a few games break the right way.

If the Titans lose or tie against the Colts, they’re out. That part is simple. What gets complicated is what happens if they win. Thanks to the Titans-Colts game getting flexed to Sunday Night Football, they will know exactly what spot they’re playing for before kickoff. Here are the possibilities:

6 Seed

What Has to Happen:

  • TEN defeats IND
  • HOU defeats JAX

This one is simple and the most likely outcome. If the Titans win and the Texans beat the Jaguars, this is where the Titans end up. They would open the playoffs on the road against the AFC’s 3 seed.

There are currently four possible opponents for the Titans if they end up in the second wildcard spot: Texans, Patriots, Ravens, and Chiefs. The Texans and the Patriots are the most likely of this group.

4 Seed

What Has to Happen:

  • TEN defeats IND
  • JAX defeats HOU
  • NE defeats NYJ
  • BAL defeats CLE

If Houston loses to Jacksonville, things get more complicated (in a good way). The Titans would win the AFC South with a victory over the Colts and host a home playoff game.

For the Titans to end up as the 4 seed, the Ravens and Patriots would both have to win their games, preventing the Titans from passing them. That would result in Tennessee hosting either the Chargers or the Chiefs in the wildcard round of the playoffs. If the Chiefs beat the Raiders the Titans would see the Chargers so that’s easily the most likely outcome here.

3 Seed

What Has to Happen:

  • TEN defeats IND
  • JAX defeats HOU
  • NYJ defeats NE OR CLE defeats BAL

If one of the Ravens or Patriots lose in Week 17 in addition to a Titans win and a Texans loss, the Titans would finish as the 3 seed. That would mean Tennessee would be hosting the Texans in Nissan Stadium for the wildcard round of the playoffs.

2 Seed

What Has to Happen:

  • TEN defeats IND
  • JAX defeats HOU
  • NYJ defeats NE
  • CLE defeats BAL

This is the “dare to dream scenario”. If these four games break the right way, the Titans end up as the 2 seed in the AFC with a first round bye and a chance to host a divisional round game in Nissan Stadium. It’s crazy that this is still on the table after the season the Titans have had, but it is.

So Titans fans will get to root for the Jaguars, Jets, and Browns on Sunday before locking in to Titans-Colts. It should make for a dramatic finish to the NFL season.