NASHVILLE – The Titans had a bye this weekend and they’re sitting at 5-5 with six games left in the regular season.
Here’s a look at six things standing out as the team turns its attention to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
AFC South is Wide Open
The Titans are right in the thick of things in the AFC South, just a game behind the Texans (6-4) and Colts (6-4), and a game ahead of the Jaguars (4-6). Four of the team’s final six games are against division opponents, starting with Sunday’s game against the Jaguars. If the Titans can take care of business in those games down the stretch, they’ll be in great shape. The Texans and Colts play on Thursday night, so barring a tie, the Titans will be even in the loss column with all but one team when the game kicks off Sunday.
The Titans, of course, are gunning for the division crown. But if you’re wondering about a potential Wild Card spot as option No.2, well, here’s the 411. The team’s current 0-2 mark in the division and 3-4 record in the AFC aren’t ideal right now when it comes down potential tiebreakers. And the loss to Buffalo (7-3, 2nd in AFC East) makes passing them more difficult for one of the spots. If the season ended today, the Colts would win the AFC South and the Texans would get the second wild card spot behind Buffalo based on tiebreakers. The Raiders (6-4) and Steelers (5-5) are currently ahead of Titans. If the Titans keep winning, of course, all this will change, and wins over the Chiefs (6-4), Chargers (4-6) and Browns (4-6) are looking big right now.
Titans tight end Delanie Walker (ankle), defensive lineman Jurrell Casey (shoulder), receiver Corey Davis (hip) and linebacker Jayon Brown (groin) all missed the team’s game against the Chiefs, and Walker and Casey have been sidelined multiple weeks. I saw several of those guys walking the halls late last week, which meant they stuck around rehabbing during the bye week. We’ll find out more once the practice week begins, but it sounds like several of those guys could be back in action on Sunday.
Things aren’t going to be easy for the Titans in November and December. The combined record of the team’s final six opponents is 36-24, and all but one of them have a winning record. After Sunday’s game vs the Jaguars (4-6) the Titans face the Colts (6-4), Raiders (6-4), Texans (6-4), Saints (8-2), and then the Texans (6-4) a second time.
After 11 weeks, the Titans are ranked No.1 in the NFL in red zone offense – the team has scored 18 touchdowns in 25 possessions inside the 20-yard line (a league-best 72 percent TD percentage). That puts them ahead of the Packers (68.6), Bills (67.9), Seahawks (67.5) and Vikings (66.7). Overall the Titans are 26th in the NFL in total offense (15th rushing, 26th passing) -- and 22nd in scoring. On defense, the Titans are ranked 18th (14th rushing yards allowed, 22nd passing) -- and the team is tied for eighth in points allowed.
Running back Derrick Henry has 832 yards after 10 games, and he’s projected to finish with 1,331 rushing yards on the season, which would be a new career-high. At his current pace, receiver Adam Humphries would lead the team with 53 catches, while A.J. Brown is projected to lead the team with 714 receiving yards. At his current pace, linebacker Rashaan Evans is projected to finish with a team high 154 tackles, while OLB Harold Landry is projected to lead the team with 11 sacks.