By Joel Silverberg / @JoelSilverberg
Monday night’s win for New Orleans might mean some good news for Tennessee’s playoff hopes.
The Saints win combined with the Rams loss to the Eagles the night before gives New Orleans a chance to clinch home field advantage in the NFC with a week to spare. The Saints can wrap up the top seed with a win against Pittsburgh.
Should the Titans beat the Redskins on Saturday they could find themselves pulling for the Saints on Sunday.
Tennessee kicks off week 16 at home against Washington at 4:30. If the Titans take care of business at Nissan Stadium they can sit back and watch the Ravens visit the Chargers beginning at 8:20.
A Ravens loss means Tennessee’s week 17 matchup with the Colts is a win-and-you’re-in situation with the victor claiming the AFC’s sixth and final playoff spot.
However if the Ravens pull off the upset on the road a Pittsburgh loss in New Orleans would allow Tennessee to pass the Steelers by a half game thanks to the tie Pittsburgh endured against Cleveland in the season opener.
Here’s how the AFC playoff standings sit now:
4. Steelers 8-5-1
5. X-Chargers 11-3
6. Ravens 8-6
7. Colts 8-6
8. Titans 8-6
9. Dolphins 7-7
10. Browns 6-7-1
Tennessee winning out would push it ahead of the Colts if it can beat Andrew Luck for the first time in the season finale. The Titans need Baltimore or Pittsburgh to lose once, which is more likely to happen this week. Pittsburgh and Baltimore play Cincinnati and Cleveland, respectively. The Steelers and the Ravens are both at home that week, too.
However, Tennessee needs to fend off a visiting Washington team that is coming off a big win over Jacksonville with quarterback Josh Johnson getting his first career NFL win. Despite dropping four straight before Sunday the Redskins are still in the NFC playoff race.
For the second time in three weeks the Titans will play the week’s opener. If Tennessee defends its home field on Saturday it can enjoy the rest of the weekend and watch how the playoff picture unfolds.
But first, the Titans have to overcome a Washington team that still believes it has a lot to play for. And with this Tennessee team, nothing can be taken for granted.