I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas. We have 4 boys ages 11, 8, 4 and 1 over here, so as you can imagine, Christmas is one fun, hectic blur. It seems like the NFL season just kicked off in a lot of ways, but here we are at week 17 with the Titans once again facing and “win and in” scenario to make the playoffs. This season has taken a lot of twists and turns, but it is nice for them to control their own destiny for a playoff spot.
What do the Titans need to do to make the playoffs?
[UPDATED from an earlier version of this article]
If you didn’t hear, the Titans game got flexed to 3:25. The two games that matter to them are also at 3:25- Steelers at Ravens and Colts at Jaguars. The Titans are in if they win regardless of what happens in those 2 games. They are also in if they lose and the Steelers and Colts both lose. They are out with a loss and a Steelers win, or a loss and a Colts win.
What motivation will the Texans have to win this game?
That’s another question that will be answered by the time this game starts. The Texans are currently the #4 seed at 10-5. They are a game behind the Chiefs who are 11-4. The Texans beat the Chiefs earlier this season, so the Texans would have a chance at the #3 seed if the Chiefs lose to the Chargers on Sunday. Bill O’Brien has said that they are going to play to win the game regardless of anything else. Does he mean that? Who knows? Coaches lie all the time.
My guess here is that they will play everyone that is healthy for at least the first half. We know that Will Fuller won’t play. The Texans listed DeAndre Hopkins as out because of illness on yesterday’s practice report (which was an estimation). They also listed Deshaun Watson as limited with a back injury. The Texans can’t win anything without those guys, obviously. They aren’t going to risk anything with them in this game. Now, if they are both as healthy as they can be in week 17, they could play the entire game, but my guess is they are both done by the time the 4th quarter starts.
The bottom line for the Titans is they can’t worry about any of that. They have to prepare as if the Texans are going to play all out to win here. Mike Vrabel will probably do everything he can to keep his team from knowing what happened in the 12:00 games so that they are only thinking about needing to win to get in the playoffs.