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VOL. 40 | NO. 43 | Friday, October 21, 2016

Titans turnaround? Only if they can beat the Colts

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Tennessee Titans tight end Anthony Fasano scores a touchdown on a 15-yard pass reception ahead of Cleveland Browns defenders Jamar Taylor, left, and Chris Kirksey during Tennessee’s 28-26 win against the Browns last week, the team’s second consecutive win.

-- Ap Photo/Mark Zaleski

A single two-point victory at home over the worst team the NFL has to offer this season might not sound like much of an accomplishment.

But for the Tennessee Titans it was definitely a step back toward respectability.

Sunday’s win did much to end the bad mojo that has surrounded the franchise in recent years.

By now, you know all the bad streaks that came to an end with the 28-26 win – from the home-field disadvantage Nissan Stadium had become to the Titans’ inability to string together even two straight wins.

So now what?

After dispensing with the lowly Browns, the Titans find themselves in unfamiliar territory at 3-3 on the year and actually in the thick of the division race – even if that division is the underwhelming AFC South.

The opportunity to be looked upon as an actual playoff contender begins this week when the Indianapolis Colts come to town.

The Colts are another one of those items on the Titans to-do list that Tennessee has never bothered to check off in recent years.

The Titans have lost nine straight and 13 of their past 14 to the Colts. Their lone victory in that span that dates back to 2007 came in a season when the Colts were without Peyton Manning and were being criticized in some circles for what looked like trying to lose.

In the end, their losing led to them winning another franchise quarterback in Andrew Luck with the first pick in the draft.

But of late, the Colts have fallen on hard times – not Titans-like hard times, mind you – but hard times for a team that has pretty much owned the AFC South since its inception in 2002.

They still have Luck at quarterback, but they haven’t shown much luck or skill at many other positions.

Indy’s offensive line is a sieve, having allowed 23 sacks already in six games.

And the defense is suspect, having allowed the Texans to score twice in the final minutes last Sunday night to eventually send the Colts to an overtime loss.

But at 2-4 and in last place currently in the division standings, the Colts still present a clear and present danger to the Titans.

A Titans’ triumph on Sunday could all but finish off the Colts, even in a division in which nine victories probably is enough to claim the title.

But it also would begin to restore faith that the Titans are back on the upswing and perhaps even capable of playing meaningful football games after the month of October.

The significance of that isn’t lost on the Titans players.

“It’s been a while. I don’t forget that, either,” defensive end Karl Klug says. “Really in our division we haven’t really held our own, and that has to change this year.

“If we want to make the playoffs, we’re going to have to win our division first. I know everyone is going to look at past seasons and what we’ve done against them.

“I know it’s not pretty, but this is a new season and it doesn’t do anybody any good looking at the past and dwelling on those losses.

“We’re just focused on this next game and hoping to put our best foot forward and get a win.”

A Titans loss, on the other hand, would simply mean more of the same thing we have seen from them for the better part of a decade.

The Titans are improved. There’s no argument about that.

Come Sunday evening, we should know if that improvement amounts to a giant leap forward or just baby steps in a long, arduous journey back to respectability.

Terry McCormick covers the Titans for TitanInsider.com

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