Titans in playoffs? Don’t bet on it

Friday, December 7, 2018, Vol. 42, No. 49

It is hard to think of the Tennessee Titans as a playoff contender given their season-long inconsistency.

But through 13 games, a 7-6 record still has the Titans with a faint pulse and facing a schedule that looks favorable both from the number of home games and the quality of the foes they will face.

After Thursday's win against the Jaguars (4-9), the Titans travel to the Giants (4-8) on Dec. 16, host the Redskins (6-6) on Dec. 22 and the Colts (6-6) on Dec. 30. Tennessee’s remaining opponents are 20-28 entering the final four weeks after the Redskins lost a game and quarterback, Colt McCoy, on Monday night.

With two quarterbacks out with broken legs, the Redskins are now down to Mark Sanchez, who joined the team less than a month ago and is now being leaned on to get Washington in position for a Wild Card spot.

The Titans have very little margin for error, and given that they have head-to-head losses already with three other teams they are battling for the final wild-card spot (Ravens, Colts, Dolphins), one more loss in any of their four remaining games would severely curtail their postseason hopes.

But as long as there is a chance, let’s take a look at how the Titans hopes size up against the other teams in the hunt. To simplify matters, we probably should go ahead and concede the top wild-card spot to the Chargers, who at 9-3 have a three-game lead with four to go.

The second spot, currently held by the 7-5 Ravens is really the only spot the Titans have a shot to claim.

Baltimore has a win in hand vs. Tennessee, meaning that unless there are multiple teams in a season-ending tiebreaker situation, the Titans would likely need to finish a game ahead of the Ravens.

That scenario actually is not impossible, as the Ravens have one of the tougher schedules remaining of the wild-card contenders, traveling to Kansas City next week, playing Tampa Bay at home, and then back on the road to face the Chargers.

Baltimore closes the regular season at home against the Browns. Their remaining foes are a collective 28-19-1.

Of the 6-6 teams, the Colts are the only the team the Titans can still directly affect. Indianapolis plays its season finale in Nashville.

The Colts schedule send them to the 9-3 AFC South-leading Texans this week, followed by a home game against NFC East leader Dallas (7-5) and a home game with the Giants. Indy’s remaining opponents are a collective 26-22.

The Dolphins are another team with a win in hand against the Titans, but they have a tough schedule ahead. They host the Patriots (9-3) this week before going to Minnesota on Dec. 16. Miami returns home to host Jacksonville before closing the regular season at Buffalo. Miami’s opponents remaining have a combined 23-24-1 mark.

The only 6-6 team the Titans have not faced is the Denver Broncos, who have a relatively easy stretch before a tough game to close the year. Denver plays at the 49ers next week, then hosts the Browns and before going back to the Bay Area to play the Raiders.

That stretch of playing sub-.500 teams comes to a halt in the finale when they will host the Chargers. But their opponents’ overall record is still a paltry 17-30-1.

-- Terry McCormick