The Tennessee Titans won the AFC South, but will face an uphill battle in the playoffs
Entering Week 17, the Tennessee Titans‘ playoff fates rested in their own hands. If they defeated the Houston Texans, they would clinch their first AFC South title since 2008 and the rights to host a Wild-card game. The Titans managed to blow a 31-15 lead to Houston, but were able to squeak out a 41-38 win thanks to a successful, single-doink field goal by Sam Sloman.
Even with this win, Titans fans should be concerned about their team’s chances of making a deep run in the postseason like they did last year. When looking at this team, there’s one thing that will hold them back — their defense.
Titans own one of the worst defenses in the league
When you look at Tennessee’s miraculous run to the AFC Championship Game last year, the main thing that got them there was their stifling defense. The Titans held off the Tom Brady-led New England Patriots in the Wild-Card Round and limited the explosive Baltimore Ravens offense to 12 points in their Divisional matchup.
This defense, well, is significantly worse than it was a year ago. They opted against re-signing defensive back Logan Ryan, traded Jurrell Casey to the Denver Broncos and signed two free agents busts in Jadeveon Clowney and Vic Beasley to “help” their pass rush. Those decisions proved to be costly for the Titans this season.
Entering the final week of the season, the Titans owned the fourth-worst defense in the NFL, as they surrendered an average of 394.3 yards of total offense per game. Remember the additions made to “bolster” Tennessee’s pass rush? Well, with the regular-season over, the Titans recorded grand total of 19 sacks in 16 games. That’s something the Titans and their fanbase should be extremely concerned about.
Sure, the Titans have the fifth-best offense in the league (390.1 yards/game), but that will only get them so far. To make matters worse, Tennessee will host the Ravens in the Wild-Card Round, a team that has scored an average of 38 points in the final four weeks of the season. Good luck trying to stop Lamar Jackson, JK Dobbins and Co.
Look, we’re not going to rule out a win over Baltimore in the opening round of the postseason. However, the Titans aren’t going to fare too well if they have to face the likes of the Kansas City Chiefs or the Buffalo Bills in subsequent rounds. Titans fans, you better bank on phenomenal, lights-out performances from quarterback Ryan Tannehill and 2,000-yard rusher Derrick Henry throughout the playoffs, because that’s probably the only feasible way the Titans can make it to Super Bowl 55.