Commentary: Have you heard the one about the Titans?
By Joe Biddle, Columnist
News flash: The Titans have a chance to make the playoffs.
I know. Yuk it up. LOL. Funny, right?
We’re talking about a team that lost at home to a 0-8 Jaguars team? The same Titans that lost at home to Indianapolis after taking a 14-point halftime lead?
That’s the one. They also beat Pittsburgh on the road in the season opener and Sunday beat Oakland on the road.
The other five AFC teams with 5-6 records going into this week’s play are the Jets, Dolphins, Steelers, Ravens and Chargers. Against those teams the Titans are 3-0 and did not play Miami or Baltimore.
So, as I pinch myself, the Titans are the NFL version of the Bee Gees, as they are Stayin’ Alive, Stayin’ Alive.
It’s a race to nine wins.
After all, they have payback games left against Indianapolis, Jacksonville and Houston. They do face Denver in the Rockies and Arizona at home. Arizona is one of the hottest teams around now and Denver could still be reeling from blowing one Sunday night at New England.
Sitting at 5-6 with five games to go, if they get 10 wins, they are virtually assured a playoff spot. That is unlikely, so say they win four of the five and that likely gets them in.
But the Titans can’t afford to count on some other team to get them where they want to go.
They have been too inconsistent, both with being ready to play and to make game-winning plays.
Perhaps the most damning evidence was offered up by Titans tight end Delanie Walker. Asked if it was hard for him to believe the Titans are tied for a playoff spot, Walker said it best.
“No, it’s not hard to believe. We’re a good team, and when we want it, we show up and play. And that’s what we did today. A lot of guys showed up, made big plays and that’s why we won the game.’’
Hear that? When they want it, they show up and play. Huh?
Excuse me. Shouldn’t we expect professionals to show up every game and play? C’mon, they have 16 regular season games over five months. Not a bad job, with a lot of perks.
Three of their losses were consecutive games against Kansas City, Seattle and San Francisco. Those three teams are currently a combined 25-7. No chopped liver.
A couple of AFC South teams are stuck in quicksand. During the last four games, the Colts have been outscored in the first half, 93-9.
Houston has dropped a franchise record nine consecutive games after losing 13-6 to the Jaguars Sunday. Jacksonville is now 2-9. One of the things in the Titans favor is they are playing in a weak division. They are only two games behind AFC South leader Indianapolis.
Someone has to win the AFC South, don’t they?
You can bet the rest of the games stand a great chance of being decided by just a play or two, a turnover, fumble, a penalty that takes a team out of field goal range.
“We hate for them to be close, but if it has to be close and we can win in a dogfight, we’ll take that,’’ Walker said. “That builds confidence and that gives you momentum. So we’re excited about that and now we have to go to Indy and play another great game.’’
The ball is in the Titans court now. They can write the finish.
Sport Columnist Joe Biddle is a four-time sports writer of the year in Tennessee and a 2013 inductee to the Tennessee Sports Writers Association Hall of Fame. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Posted on: 11/28/2013