The have never won a Super Bowl, memorably coming up one yard short of tying the St. Louis Rams at the end of Super Bowl XXXIV on Jan. 30, 2000 in Atlanta. The Rams prevailed 23-16. To date, it is the most recent NFL championship where both teams were seeking their first Super Bowl title. Could the Titans finally win it all this year? Maybe. They are +2000 on the NFL odds.
Analysis NFL | Could the Titans finally win the Super Bowl?
Tennessee entered its Week 12 game at New England holding down the top seed in the AFC, but the Titans were dominated in a 36-13 loss. Ryan Tannehill struggled in completing 11-of-21 passes for 93 yards, one touchdown and an interception, adding five carries for 24 additional yards. Tannehill could get nothing going as a passer with nearly the Titans’ entire skill corps on injured reserve.
Ahead of that game, the Titans placed top wideout A.J. Brown (chest) on injured reserve. The team’s other top receiver, Julio Jones, is also on IR. With the Titans on bye this week, Brown is first eligible to return in Week 16.
The Titans (8-4) managed to pick up 270 rushing yards against the Pats but were killed by turnovers. Tennessee’s running backs accounted for three turnovers, with Dontrell Hilliard, D’Onta Foreman and Khari Blasingame each losing fumbles to dilute a day in which both Foreman (109 yards) and Hilliard (131 yards) went over the 100-yard rushing plateau.
By contrast, Derrick Henry, who was leading the NFL in rushing when he was lost for the season because of an injury, only lost two fumbles in 597 carries since the start of last season. Tennessee has now given the ball to the opposing team nine times over the past two weeks. The past two games are the first time the Titans have turned the ball over at least four times in back-to-back weeks since 2015.
“(We) just have to play clean football,” Tannehill said. “We’re marching the ball, marching the ball. I felt like every time we touched it, we were doing good things. We kind of shot ourselves in the foot a couple times by putting it on the ground. So just have to be able to clean those things up.”
Titans cornerback Jackrabbit Jenkins is just the latest player on the team who is dealing with an injury that could sideline him for at least a game. Jenkins is dealing with a foot/ankle sprain suffered in Week 12 that “likely causes him to miss some time,” although it isn’t clear exactly how much. Tennessee is already very short-handed at the position with fellow corners Caleb Farley and Chris Jackson both on IR. Backup corner Greg Mabin has also missed the last four games.
Tennessee has had 86 different players take the field at some point this season, the most in NFL history. On top of the players already on injured Reserve, like Jones, Brown, Henry and Bud Dupree, the Titans were without four other starters on Sunday in Teair Tart, Nate Davis, Rashaan Evans and David Long. Thus, the bye is coming at a great time.
“We’ve got to get healthy mentally and physically,” coach Mike Vrabel said. “And get back to playing football how we know how to play it, taking care of the football, playing complementary, knowing the details. A lot of things to improve.”
In the big picture, the Titans remain in a good spot with five games left in the regular season. As a result of Indy’s loss to the Buccaneers, the Titans remain in firm control of the AFC South over the Colts (6-6), with a two-game lead, and the tiebreaker. Really, betting on the Titans to win Super Bowl 56 is dependent on whether Henry can make it back for the playoffs. They can’t win it without him.
Tennessee’s remaining schedule is: Week 14 vs. Jacksonville, Week 15 at Pittsburgh, Week 16 vs. San Francisco, Week 17 vs. Miami and Week 18 at Houston. That should mean no worse than an 11-6 record. They will win the AFC South but not get the conference’s top seed.