By Joel Silverberg / @JoelSilverberg
It was a nice way to start a seemingly perfect week, but the Titans didn’t get the full early Christmas gift they were looking for.
There’s still two weeks until Christmas though.
After a beatdown of the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night Tennessee was ideally hoping for losses to Miami, Baltimore and Indianapolis to help its playoff chances the most. The Ravens fell on the road to Kansas City, but the Colts went on the road and stole a quality win against Houston while the Dolphins pulled off one of the most improbable last-second plays to stun the Patriots.
With the Chargers trailing the Chiefs, but still in control of the No. 5 seed in the AFC in a worst-case scenario, the hunt for the conference’s final playoff spot is as follows:
6. Baltimore Ravens 7-6.
7. Indianapolis Colts 7-6.
8. Miami Dolphins 7-6.
9. Tennessee Titans 7-6.
Tennessee has lost to all three of the teams in front of it. The Titans control very little of their own destiny while fighting for a playoff spot. Winning out would put the Titans at 10-6 and likely a second place finish in the AFC South, but even that wouldn’t guarantee Tennessee a postseason berth. Tennessee needs to end the regular season on a five-game win streak and get some help from around the league.
The Ravens beat the Titans 21-0 and kept Marcus Mariota on his back all day. Baltimore closes the season at home against Tampa Bay, on the road against the Chargers and at home against the Browns. The game in Los Angeles is a Saturday night game so it’s a short week and a cross country trip for the Ravens. That’s likely the best bet for Baltimore to slip along its last three games. However the Ravens still have a lot to play for now that they’re only a half game behind Pittsburgh for the division lead.
The Colts get the Cowboys at home this weekend then host the Giants the following weekend before visiting Nashville. This is the easiest scenario Tennessee has to jump a team in front of it. Win out and that’ll hand Indianapolis another loss. Except the Titans are still winless against Andrew Luck. Period.
Miami beat Tennessee in a game that took two weeks to play back in the season opener. After the miracle win against New England the Dolphins head to Minnesota this week where the Vikings are 4-2. Miami is 1-5 on the road. Should the Dolphins survive the road trip they’ll host Jacksonville and head to Buffalo to close out the season.
In short, Tennessee’s most likely scenario is a Miami loss this week and a Baltimore loss to Los Angeles next weekend. Oh yeah, and Tennessee needs to beat a Giants team that’s won four of five, take care of business against a reeling Redskins squad and beat Luck for the first time ever.
But with the way the first 13 games have played out for Tennessee, nothing is off the table.