It Is Time to Start Believing In The Tennessee Titans
20 October 2020
The Tennessee Titans were not supposed to make the AFC Championship game last year. Ryan Tannehill was not supposed to make a comeback with the Titans, either. No, he was supposed to fade into obscurity after hanging around the NFL a few more years as a backup quarterback.
But maybe they both got lucky last year. Maybe Tannehill was able to play above and beyond his ability because no one expected him to. If it not for Derrick Henry, the team would not have made the playoffs or the AFC title game.
So, when the Titans resigned Tannehill, most of the world thought they were nuts. With him at quarterback, there was no way the Titans could win the division, the AFC, or Super Bowl. But, as it turns out, they are looking good enough to do all three potentially.
What Can the Tennessee Titans Win?
Expectations were extremely low for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans entering the season, leaving the Indianapolis Colts and the Titans to battle over the AFC South division title. When the season began, the race was expected to be a tight one between the two.
But six weeks in, the Tennessee Titans are 5-0 and 2-0 in conference play while the Colts are 4-2 and 0-1. Indianapolis has shown some promise on both sides of the ball and even had the No. 1 ranked defense at one point. However, they cannot seem to find any consistency on offense.
Do they want to trust in the run game or let it fly with Philip Rivers? Can Rivers quit throwing interceptions (he already has six)?
The Titans, however, are not having such issues. Tannehill has the passing game operating efficiently, Derrick Henry is still a beast, and the defense is doing its job.
It would take a miracle for the Houston Texans (+4000; odds via BetMGM.com) or Jacksonville Jaguars (+20000) to win the division. While the Colts (+210) are playing well enough, they can’t afford to make the mistakes they made against the Bengals and still expect to win against most teams.
Right now, the AFC South is the Titans (-264) to lose.
Now, winning a lackluster division does not exactly compare to beating teams like the Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens, or Pittsburgh Steelers. Those three teams happen to be the ones with better odds than the Titans to win the conference (+210, +320, and +500, respectively, compared to +800 for the Titans).
However, it is worth noting that they did beat the Chiefs during the regular season last year (but lost in the AFC title game). Derrick Henry ran roughshod all over the Ravens defense last year while the Titans defense kept Lamar Jackson in check.
As for the Steelers, well—they play them this week at home Sunday afternoon (Steelers are two-point favorites).
That game’s outcome will go a long way towards the Titans being viewed as legitimate contenders in the AFC. They are second in the league in total yards per game (422.0) next to the Cowboys and second in points scored per game (32.8) next to the Seahawks.
Defensively, they are about a middle of the road team right now, but that could be good enough to win the conference. That is, assuming the offense can continue to produce like it is.
Super Bowl LV
Winning the division is one thing. The same could be said for the AFC. But the Super Bowl? The Titans are barely inside the top ten (odds via BetMGM):
- Chiefs +425
- Ravens +600
- Seahawks +800
- Steelers +900
- Buccaneers +1100
- Packers +1200
- Saints, Titans +1400
- Bills +1800
- Rams +2000
With seven teams from each conference making the playoffs, there is a good chance the Titans will need to make it past the Chiefs and the Ravens to make to the Super Bowl, maybe even the Steelers as well, depending on how the seeding goes.
That would be an incredible gauntlet to run, and if they make it through, then they could beat whoever the NFC throws at them. As for who they might see, winning ugly will eventually catch up with the Bears. Seattle’s defense will be its downfall. Dallas will not make it past the wildcard round, and it is hard to say whether the Saints or Rams will have the necessary staying power.
That leaves the Packers and Buccaneers.
The best way to beat Aaron Rodgers and the Pack is to put pressure on him, but the Titans only have seven sacks this season. However, the Titans may be able to get away with pounding Derek Henry down Green Bay’s collective throat and keeping Rodgers off the field.
Tampa Bay may be a little harder to beat. The defense seems to be looking better with each passing week; they certainly dismantled the Packers offense last week. But the offense has not been too consistent yet. However, they could be by the end of the season.
Should You Bet On The Tennessee Titans?
Losing Taylor Lewan for the season will hurt, but still take the Tennessee Titans to win the AFC South. No one in that division looks anywhere near ready to challenge them. At +800 to win the AFC, they certainly have value.
Waiting to see what happens Sunday would make the decision easier. But if they win, the odds are going to be a lot shorter.
As for the Super Bowl, there is value there as well. But with the gauntlet they will have to run to make it there, let alone win, do not bet the house on them winning (outhouse, maybe; but not the house).
Travis a native-Texan which is where his love of football originated. But after moving around a lot when he was younger, he was able to develop an appreciation for the game and not just his favorite teams. He now lives in Indiana with his wife, Nicole, and two kids, Jackson and Addison. You can find him on Twitter at @FatManWriting.