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2021 NFL Playoffs: Potential opponents for Titans in AFC’s divisional round

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans Tennessean-USA TODAY Sports

The field is set and now the Tennessee Titans get to play the waiting game during their first-round playoff bye. They won’t know who their opponent is until the games that are played on Wild Card Weekend have been completed. While we don’t yet know who they’ll play yet, we do know a couple of important things. As the No. 1 seed, the Titans know they will face the lowest-remaining playoff seed. They also know that they’ll face that team at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.

So who are the teams that the Titans could play in the divisional round? Here’s a quick look at the four possible opponents.

No. 7 seed: Pittsburgh Steelers

As the seventh and lowest seed in the AFC playoffs, if the Steelers were to defy the odds stacked against them by emerging victorious in their tilt with the Kansas City Chiefs, they’d be heading to Nissan Stadium the following week. The Chiefs are the No. 2 seed and the HEAVY favorite going into this game, but the Steelers boast a stout defense that could slow down a Chiefs offense that may be hampered by injuries to Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill. Should the Steelers pull off the unthinkable, they’ll head for a rematch with the Titans, who they defeated 19-13 in Week 15. The Titans would relish their chance for a rematch despite the loss. The Titans lost that game by just one score despite turning the ball over four times and being without the services of Derrick Henry, A.J. Brown, and Julio Jones for the majority of that game.

No. 6 seed: New England Patriots

If the Patriots defeat the Buffalo Bills in the wild card round, they’d face the Titans the following week, but only if the Steelers also lost to the Chiefs. In that scenario, the six-seed Patriots would be the worst remaining seed and earn a matchup with the one-seed Titans. It would be yet another metaphorical rematch, as the Titans lost 36-13 to the Patriots back in Week 12. Much like the loss to the Steelers, the Titans were severely shorthanded in that one. They were without Henry, Brown and Jones. The Titans also experienced similar turnover woes, turning it over four times. A pair of fumbles by D’Onta Foreman and Dontrell Hilliard really hurt in that loss. The Titans would likely welcome a rematch.

No. 5 seed: Las Vegas Raiders

If the Raiders defeat the Bengals in the wild card round they’ll face the Titans, but only if the Steelers and Patriots both also lose on wild card weekend. This actually could be the most likely scenario for the Titans, at least based on the teams that are likely favorites heading into the wild card round. The Chiefs and Bills are expected to defeat the Steelers and Patriots. But as they say, “Any Given Sunday.” The Raiders put forth an impressive performance in Sunday night’s thriller over the Los Angeles Chargers. It earned them a spot in the postseason.

No. 4 seed: Cincinnati Bengals

This bodes as another extremely realistic outcome for the Titans. Again, if the Steelers and Patriots both lose—and the Bengals defeat the Raiders—Cincinnati will be heading to Tennessee for the divisional round of the playoffs. The Bengals and Titans did not meet during the regular season. Sophomore quarterback Joe Burrow and his extensive cast of supporting weapons that includes Ja’Marr Chase and Joe Mixon could potentially give the Titans fits, although Tennessee’s front four would relish their opportunities to take advantage of an underwhelming offensive line.

Stay tuned to MCM for all updates and analysis.