The Tennessee Titans have been eliminated from playoff contention with a loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. They also lost quarterback Marcus Mariota to a fractured fibula. The Titans may be done for 2016, but 2017 will be a great year for them.
The Tennessee Titans Will Win the AFC South in 2017
The AFC South crown belongs to the Houston Texans in 2016. Enjoy it for now, Texans fans because next year the division is Tennessee’s.
The Titans will be bringing back Mariota, who led the league in red zone touchdown passes and shined in the AFC this season. He is arguably the third best quarterback in the conference aside from Derek Carr and Tom Brady.
Not only will Mariota be back, but also will be DeMarco Murray and rookie Derrick Henry. Both have done well in the backfield this season. They’ve combined to rush for 1,691 yards and 13 touchdowns in the 15 games they’ve played together.
Mariota will also help in the running game. He’s no Russell Wilson when it comes to running the ball, but he can do it. He rushed for 349 yards in 2016. That’s good enough for third on the team and just 76 yards behind Henry.
The receivers have also helped. Delanie Walker and Rishard Matthews, the two leaders, combined for 15 touchdown catches. That’s more than half of the touchdowns Mariota threw in 2016 (26). Not only will Tennessee play well enough to win the South. Their opponents will also help them in getting there.
A Little Help Goes a Long Way
The Texans will enter the post-season as the AFC South champions. However, they haven’t played like a playoff team. They’ve beaten teams like the Cincinnati Bengals by just two. They also struggled in both games against the Jaguars. They even lost to a San Diego Chargers team who will finish with ten or more losses.
The Texans biggest problem is also here to stay. They are stuck with quarterback Brock Osweiler. Houston signed him to a four-year, $72 million deal in the offseason. He didn’t deserve it. The only reason he got that money was because running back C.J. Anderson beat the New England Patriots in 2015. He’s proven that with the Texans, throwing for 14 touchdowns to 16 interceptions. They can’t get rid of the average quarterback because they owe him too much money. They’re stuck with him, and he will be their downfall for the next year or two.
The Indianapolis Colts aren’t going anywhere, either. Quarterback Andrew Luck is a great player, but that is all the Colts have. They don’t have any wide receivers that can help him complete a fourth quarter drive. Running back Frank Gore is one of the best in NFL history. The Colts can’t rely on him to make the big runs to get them into field goal range, however. This team just isn’t ready to make a playoff push yet.
Then there’s the Jaguars. There’s not much to say there. They’re the Jaguars. They had all of this talent on their team. Many expected them to be a playoff team. They haven’t lived up to that expectation at all. Blake Bortles has played terribly and the whole team just can’t seem to figure themselves out. They just recently snapped a nine-game losing streak.
The Titans Are Warriors
The Titans can’t rely just on their division opponents to fall apart to get to the playoffs as AFC South champions. They also have to worry their games outside of the division. The 2017 schedule won’t be released for another few months, but the Titans have already proved they can beat anyone not named the New England Patriots. They went into Kansas City and overcame a ten-point deficit to pull off the upset. They also pulled out a win in Detroit and upset Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
The road is clear for the Titans to win the AFC South. There is nothing standing in their way from clinching their first division title since 2008.