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VOL. 37 | NO. 47 | Friday, November 22, 2013
Playoffs!? Even the Titans can dream
With a 4-6 record going into consecutive road games at Oakland, Indianapolis and Denver, a shot at the playoffs seems remote for coach Mike Munchak’s Tennessee Titans, despite the apparent inability of other teams in the AFC to break free of mediocrity. -- Ap Photo/Wade Payne
Somewhere Pete Rozelle is smiling, knowing his vision for the NFL is being realized.
No matter how ugly that might look right now.
Rozelle’s dream for the NFL was parity, an idea that on any given Sunday, in any given season, any team could win and any team could make the playoffs.
You need only look at the mess in the AFC to see that parity turn into reality.
In fact, we see it firsthand with the Tennessee Titans, who despite wasting a 3-1 start and frittering away games to lowly Jacksonville and Indianapolis in a span of five days, who find themselves still squarely in the chase for the conference’s final playoff spot.
Tennessee stands at 4-6 following their unceremonious mid-season collapse, but those four paltry wins have the Titans right in the middle of the cesspool of AFC mediocrity just one game behind the New York Jets, who are somehow 5-5 despite being outscored by 85 points this season, and Team Incognito, aka the Miami Dolphins.
That means the Titans, if they can somehow pick themselves up off the floor over the final six games of the season, could make the playoffs, despite a season that seemingly jumped completely off the tracks last week.
The Titans find themselves wondering what might have been, had they won just one of those two games, much less both of them, heading into the final six games of the regular season.
Instead, the reality is Tennessee now finds itself with the same record as the Baltmore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers and this week’s opponent, the Oakland Raiders.
All the Titans need to do it string together some victories.
That’s a scenario only the most ardent optimist could embrace since we have seen these Titans are capable of losing to anyone – on any given Sunday. They proved that by giving the Jaguars what possibly could be their only victory of the season.
Also, three consecutive road games – Oakland (4-6), Indianapolis (7-3) and Denver (9-1) – don’t bode well for a Titans playoff run.
To borrow a line from the movie “Dumb and Dumber,” delivered enthusiastically by Jim Carrey’s clueless character: “So you’re telling me there’s a chance ... YEAH!”
More likely, the Titans will look back on the 2013 season and think about what might have been.
Mike Munchak and the Titans coaching staff had hoped and believed the postseason was within their grasp. And the postseason that had eluded this franchise since 2008 was there for the taking before the losses to Jacksonville and Indianapolis.
Now it would take an extraordinary late-season resurrection against a difficult schedule that includes the three consecutive road games and 6-4 Arizona at home.
In reality, the 2013 season will likely end much like 2011, looking back at games given away and knowing that was the difference in playing in January and sitting at home.
Or, worse, it could be the difference between playing in January and the coaching staff being out of work.
Terry McCormick covers the Titans for TitanInsider.com and is a blogger for National Football Post.