A few Titans playoff priorities

Friday, December 31, 2021, Vol. 45, No. 53

With the Titans on a short week, we delved last week into the matchup with the Miami Dolphins. So, with this week’s four downs, let’s take a look at four things the Titans need to have settled as they head into the postseason.

First down

Play as mistake-free as possible. When the Titans have lost games this season, it has largely been due to turnovers and sacks. Going into the playoffs, those things can become even more magnified. The Titans don’t yet know who they will be matched up with in the postseason, but you can bet that if they lose the turnover battle or allow Ryan Tannehill to be sacked and pressured into mistakes, their stay in the playoffs likely will be short.

Second down

Keep rolling with A.J. Brown. Brown showed in the second half of his return against the 49ers just how vital he is to the Titans’ offense. Ryan Tannehill’s play was supercharged by Brown’s return, as the quarterback continually went to his favorite receiver whenever he needed a big play. Eight of Brown’s 11 catches came on third down. With Derrick Henry’s situation still up in the air, and with Julio Jones unable to be counted up on for much, Brown is the guy opposing defenses will focus on in the playoffs.

Third down

Keep playing defense. The Titans defense has jelled into a top unit this season, something that could have never been dreamed possible on the heels of last season and the first handful of games this year. But with the emergence of Jeffery Simmons and Harold Landry, plus being stingy against the run, the Titans defense has proven to be sturdy and effective most games. The key, though, is getting turnovers. If the defense can net some takeaways to go with their strong play against the run, it takes this unit and the team to another level.

Fourth down

Keep running the ball. While Derrick Henry’s status for the postseason has been speculated upon quite a bit, the Titans would probably be best served to plan on continuing to get the job done without him. That way, if Henry returns, it could be a nice boost. But looking at the glass half empty, even if Henry returns, there is no guarantee that he will be the same as before the injury. To that end, the committee led by D’Onta Foreman is probably the solution in the interim until Henry is back and up to speed.

-- Terry McCormick