The Tennessee Titans may not play a game this Sunday, but that doesn’t mean they can’t take a step forward towards several goals: earning a playoff berth, winning the AFC South and perhaps most importantly, becoming the No. 1 seed in the AFC. They’re in pretty shape to achieve all of these things, but they could use some help getting there.
Let’s get right into it.
Texans over Colts
When: Sunday at 12:00 PM
Why: We’re certainly not holding our breath for this one to come to fruition, but the Texans could do the Titans a massive favor by upsetting the Colts on Sunday. The magic number for Tennessee is three: Any combination of three wins for them, and/or three losses by the Colts would help clinch the AFC South division title for the second consecutive season.
The lowly Texans are still playing hard for their head coach David Culley. They defeated the Titans in rather impressive fashion two weeks ago, and lost a one-score game to the New York Jets in Week 12. Yes, it’s the Jets, but the Texans are still playing hard, at least. If the Texans can at least hang around, Titans fans should keep a watchful eye on this contest.
Steelers over Ravens
When: Sunday at 3:25 PM
Why: This one is relatively straight forward. Prior to Tennessee’s Week 12 defeat at the hands of the New England Patriots, the Titans were in pole position for the AFC’s ever-important No. 1 seed. That is unfortunately no longer the case, and the 8-3 Ravens are now in line to receive the bye week and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. A loss to the Steelers would drop Baltimore to 8-4, which would match Tennessee’s current record.
So can the Steelers pull off the win? It’s certainly possible. The Steelers were thoroughly embarrassed by the Cincinnati Bengals a week ago, but Mike Tomlin’s teams typically respond to adversity in strong fashion. These two teams routinely play close games. I expect the Steelers to hang around in this game and for the result to come down to whether or not Ben Roethlisberger can make the plays necessary to pull out a result.
Bills over Patriots
When: Monday at 7:25 PM
Why: This one is also rather straightforward. The Patriots currently sit at 8-4 and are ahead of the Titans due to a head-to-head tiebreaker after they blew the Titans out a week ago. Buffalo is 7-4, and the Titans own the tiebreaker with them thanks to a thrilling 34-31 win back in Week 6. A Buffalo win would bring all of these team’s records to 8-4, and gets the Titans closer to reclaiming the 1-seed they let slip through their fingertips in Week 12.
These two teams will obviously be focused on one another. This marks the first meeting between these two heated rivals, and the winner will move into first place in the ever-competitive AFC East. Both of these teams still qualify as a threat to claim the AFC’s top seed, but you might as well root for the team Tennessee has already beaten, as opposed to the one they lost to.
There are a few other games worth paying attention to, but those three stand out as especially important. For example, rooting for a Los Angeles Chargers win over the Cincinnati Bengals would place both of them at seven wins, as opposed to having an eight-win Bengals team. Watching the NFC’s Washington Football Team defeat the 6-5 Las Vegas Raiders certainly wouldn’t hurt. Last but not least, rooting for the Denver Broncos to upset their AFC West rival Kansas City Chiefs isn’t a bad idea. Yes, the Titans already beat the Chiefs, but they are surging right now and are back in the thick of things at the top of the conference. It would give Denver their seventh win, but it’s certainly better than a red-hot, eight-win Chiefs team.
Enjoy the Titans-less weekend!