AFC

Will there be a Christmas Miracle in Tennessee?

It’s the night that not many expected coming into the 2018 season. Kicking off the season the team took off and this Sunday, they have a chance to make the playoffs for the second straight season. Will there be a Christmas Miracles come Sunday night?

The Titans will take on divisional rival Indianapolis in a Sunday Night battle to find out who will get one of the two final spots in the AFC playoffs. However, the Titans will have to do it without All-Pro defensive tackle Jurrell Casey. Casey was just put on the IR after straining his MCL last week in the win against the New York Giants. They might also be without their franchise quarterback Marcus Mariota after he suffered a hand injury in the same game.

Without those two, the Titans will be depending on the likes of Derrick Henry to keep up his continued late-season success. Receivers will have to step up their game and the defense will be tasked stopping Andrew Luck. Remember, this is the Luck that could barely throw a nerf ball but is now looking like the Luck that came into the league.

Let’s break down the injuries the Titans have suffered throughout the season: Tight ends Delanie Walker and Jonnu Smith, cornerbacks Tye Smith and Logan Ryan, safety Johnathan Cyprien, offensive lineman Jack Conklin, and linebacker Brian Orakpo. The Titans also lost wide receiver Rishard Matthews and Mariota has been in out of the 2018 season. After those losses, the Titans are still 9-6 and have the possibility of becoming the number two seed in the AFC.

Yes, if you didn’t already know. The Titans, who as of today aren’t even in the playoffs, still have a chance to claim the number two seed and earn a first-round bye and here’s how:

Tennessee Titans (9-6) vs Indianapolis Colts (9-6), Sunday night 7:20 CT, NBC)

Tennessee clinches AFC South division title and first-round bye:

  • TEN wins + HOU loss + NE loss + BAL loss or tie.

Tennessee clinches AFC South division title with:

  • TEN win + HOU loss

Tennessee clinches a playoff berth with:

  • TEN win

It’s pretty simple, you win and you’re in. The Titans don’t need to worry about the scenarios of what may or may not happen.

Even though the Titans aren’t a playoff team, they’ve dealt with so much this season and to even have a chance shows the grit of this team. The Nashville fan base has waited too long to see their Titans succeed and make a far playoff push. This will not be the year but if the Titans can do this without having several of their key pieces. This could be a surprisingly sneaky team for years to come.

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Preston Bostain
Preston covers the Tennessee Titans and the AFC South for NGSC Sports. He also covers Nashville Predators hockey.
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