The Tennessee Titans get to kick their feet up and enjoy Super Wild Card Weekend from the comforts of their own home. Tennessee’s coaching staff has spent the week studying and further examining their potential four opponents in greater detail. They won’t know who their opponent is until Sunday’s Wild Card Weekend games 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 should you be rooting for on Saturday? We deliver our personal picks below.
Raiders (No. 5) over Bengals (No. 4)
When: Saturday at 3:30 PM C.T.
Why: This was ultimately a difficult decision but we’re leaning towards the Raiders here, as we believe they make a more ideal opponent for Tennessee in the second round. The Bengals possess a haunting offense that includes Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Joe Mixon. Tennessee’s defense has been excellent this season, but that type of supporting cast is likely to give any and every defense fits.
The Titans haven’t played either of these teams this season, so we can’t draw from personal experience. But we can draw from certain factors. With superstar running back Derrick Henry largely expected to return to the field in time for Tennessee’s first playoff game, we can expect the Titans to attempt to establish their ground-and-pound rushing attack. The Raiders possess the league’s 13th-worst run defense. An undisciplined front seven allows 114.3 rushing yards per contest. The Bengals possess a much better run defense that allows just 102.5 yards per game, which represents the fifth-best mark in the league.
There are reasons to believe that the Bengals would make an ideal opponent as well, such as an underwhelming offensive line that has largely failed to protect Joe Burrow throughout the 2021 campaign. Tennessee’s pass rush would likely get home on a fairly consistent basis. We however ultimately believe the Raiders make for the more ideal second-round opponent.
Patriots (No. 6) over Bills (No. 3)
When: Saturday at 7:15 PM C.T.
Why: This was another extremely difficult game to choose between. We lean towards preferring the Patriots for a few reasons. Firstly, there’s a reason the Bills won the AFC East over the Patriots—they were the better team throughout the course of the season. Secondly, the Patriots possess the less proficient rushing defense (123.7 yards allowed per game versus Buffalo’s 109.8 rushing yards allowed per contest). Thirdly, the quarterback position is undeniably the most important position in all of professional sports, and Josh Allen is a much more dangerous signal-caller than Mac Jones currently is.
And last but not least, it’s incredibly difficult to beat a team two or three times in the same season. Yes, the Titans beat the Bills and lost to the Patriots— but when further examining those contests, the Patriots still represent a more ideal opponent. Tennessee rushed for an astounding 270 yards against the Patriots, and that was without Henry at their disposal. Just imagine what the King could do to this below-average run defense. The Titans were also without A.J. Brown and Julio Jones in that Week 12 loss to the Patriots and turned over the ball four times. Mike Vrabel would love to get his revenge against Bill Belichick for that one.
Enjoy the Titans-less weekend!