By: Brendan Smart ( @BSmart21 )
A huge win in primetime can make you popular either in a good way, or a bad way, but Sunday the Tennessee Titans have ESPN, NFL network, and other TV networks discussing a playoff birth in Nashville.
Following a mini bye week, and the retirement of Andre Johnson, the Titans have renewed hope in a season that began with so much promise. It is crazy what a year makes, right? It seemed the Titans were in a similar position last season, but injuries and lack of talent led the Titans to play for another lottery pick. This season, one offseason, General Manager Jon Robinson has made this team relevant again, and just like it was before- teams can't stop the rushing attack.
With a weak AFC South, the Titans have a lot of pressure on themselves heading into an AFC matchup against the San Diego Chargers. The Houston Texans will take their bye week this week, and the Colts loss last week to the Kansas City Chiefs. This leaves all eyes on the Titans to see if they really are poised to take the South.
Fortunate for the Titans, Tennessee beat the Chargers at home during the preseason. San Diego’s defense struggled that game in August to defend the Titans rushing attack. The debut of “Thunder and Thunder” was outstanding. Now, the Chargers rank sixth in the league in total rushing yards given up, which opens the door up for Marcus Mariota. Mariota was very fluid on Thursday night against a soft Jacksonville Jaguars secondary, and will face the same test on Sunday against the Bolts. The Chargers rank 24th in passing yards given up, and Mariota has to be on top of his game. Mariota is already ahead of his rookie season in terms of statistics, but Mariota can lead this team to something bigger this season.
Playoffs are a very big deal, but are the Titans really that “big” yet? Either way unlike last season the Titans have a shot at playing in January in primetime. That in itself is amazing, especially in the first year of a complete overall at the top. The Titans will take on the Charges at 3:25 central time on CBS with the potential to tie the South. If execution is anything like it was on Thursday night, we might see a tie atop the AFC South on Monday!