Zach Lyons is a NFL Senior Contributor for Broadway Sports. He is also Co-Host of the wildly popular, award winning, and world renowned podcast, “A Football & Other F Words”, new episodes released every Wednesday wherever you get your podcasts.. He’s also a co-host for Nashville’s first ever football only show with a global reach, “A Football Show”. “A Football Show” airs LIVE every Monday and Thursday at 1p CST. Subscribe and turn on notifications here.
The Tennessee Titans unfortunately got flexed into primetime as their regular season, winner-take-all for the AFC South, is scheduled for 7:15p CST on Saturday. They will face their divisional rival the Jaguars for the chance to get into the playoffs.
However, the big discussion has been whether fans should want to root for the Titans to win, or for the Titans to lose. I have my personal opinion, but lets take a look at the possible Pros and Cons of both a Titan win, and a Titans loss.
The Titans Win
Pros: With a six game losing streak already in the books, there is no team in the NFL that could use a win more than the Titans. For the players, it’s not just about the playoffs or division title, but they need the win for their emotional and mental states at this point. It’s been a long time since I have seen players and coaches be this beatdown mentally. Players like Kevin Byard, and Derrick Henry who are the longest tenured active Titans players, probably need and want this the most.
The other pro for them winning is that it prevents the Jaguars from winning the division and having a winning record. The Jaguars are an divisional rival and longtime foe, and there would be very few things satisfying than seeing all the Jacksonville hype get doused by a Josh Dobbs led team, and their fans thinking “that should’ve been us!” for an entire offseason.
We don’t talk about it enough, but Mike Vrabel has garnered the recognition and reputation of an elite coach, not just among the media, but also among thee players. Pending free agents know who make the playoffs and if Vrabel somehow pulls a miracle and gets this team into the playoffs, free agents will take notice of that.
And finally, of course, they’re in the hunt for a Super Bowl. They’d be 1 of 14 teams with a chance to win the Super Bowl. Sure, Josh Dobbs Super Bowl MVP is totally going to happen with an offensive line made up of a bunch scrubs, but it could happen!
Cons: First and foremost, the biggest con is draft position. Currently, if they were to enter the playoffs, and lose in the wild card round, the best they could get would be pick 20. Which, by the way, is more like pick 19 because the Dolphins have forfeited their first round pick this year. Picking 20 is best can scenario if the Titans were to make it. What if they win the wild card round?
The two likely opponents are the Chargers and Ravens for the Titans. With a Raven loss to the Steelers, that means they fall from the fifth spot in the playoffs to the sixth, so the Chargers sit pretty firmly as your likely opponent. The Titans did play the Chargers really close this season, but now the Titans are without Ryan Tannehill and the Chargers now have Joey Bosa back in the fold.
If the Titans were to beat the Chargers they would move down to the 25th spot. They would then go on to face one of the Bills, Chiefs, or Bengals on their home turf, and obviously lose. Having this draft position not only in the first round, but every round they draft, makes it harder for the Titans no matter if they’re in a rebuild or retool, to stock up on quality young players that they desperately need.
This is a con that may or may not be a con for you depending on where you land with Tannehill, but if they win, and then go on to lose a close game, whether thats in the first or second round, Vrabel can point to his QB, and say well if Tannehill was here and we had a decent OL we could’ve gone to the AFCCG. Which means run it back. Like I said a con depending on your Tannehill stance.
They could also lose to a Chargers team that I on a current hot streak, and jut be one and done, and once again lose at home in the playoffs, and lose their fifth straight at home on the season. A terrible product on display for a fan base that wanted them to be playing in the playoffs would be an awful look.
The Titans Lose
Pros: The Titans would have a high chance of having either Pick 10, or best case pick nine, worst case, pick eleven in the NFL Draft. That’s a massive coup for a team that is still choosing it own path: Rebuild or Retool. The draft is a very top heavy draft for the first round, meaning that the drop from the high ceiling prospects to the middling ceiling prospects is a deep and quick decline.
So the higher your pick is the better your plays will be in this particular draft. Not only for just the first round, but every round. Every round you’re getting one of the top 10-11 players for that area of the draft. Not only that, the higher pick allows you a ton of flexibility. Whether that is too move up, move back, or draft the best player available for a position of need. *cough cough Paris Johnson cough cough*
This is a major pro, because if Vrabel and the new General Manager think this team is closer than people realize, the players being drafted can help make thee retooling a reality. If the is a rebuild, you’re drafting, what should be, high end young players that will be cornerstones of the rebuild, and also speed up that process.
This pro, like the con before, is dependent on your Tannehill thought process, but a loss could mean they move on from Tannehill this offseason, because they’re going full on rebuild. That may be a pro for you, and something that should be considered, that if you think this team, as it sits, has hit his ceiling a rebuild may be best.
A minor pro, is that we can finally move on, as a Titans society, to the offseason. This Eason has been a train wreck and has been emotionally and mentally draining not only for the players and staff, but also the fans and media members. The Titans also get to shift focus to their search for General Manager, and be able to make a decision sooner, rather than later on the process.
Cons: This con section is going to have a lot of “possibilities”, so I need to make my stance clear: I, personally, don’t think Mike Vrabel should or would get fired this off-season. I think it would be a massive mistake if he was fired for the even game losing streak.
However, you have to allow for the possibility that Amy Adam-Strunk does not or will not feel the same. She does have the “Adams Gene”, but also he has proven twice now she is willing to make decisions off the cuff. After all, she said she loved Mike Mularkey. Fired. She said she loved Jon Robinson, and signed him to an extension. Fired.
So who can say that while she says she loves Mike Vrabel, that he, 100% won’t be fired. Now, I’d bet money that Vrabel won’t be fired, but I also would bet money Robinson would’ve gotten another year as general manager to try and fix this roster. After all, he signed a 5-year extension in the same year he was fired.
However, as the losses continue to mount, and Robinson’s firing provided nothing in terms of spark or lighting a fire, is she left searching for answers in the press box. What if Vrabel forces her in a direction for General Manager she doesn’t wanna go, what if he refuses to fire Downing. Those combined with a seven game losing streak, could mean he’s not on as solid ground a we all think.
Like I said, AAS would be an idiot if she fired Vrabel, but sometimes people in power make idiotic moves.
The other con is a lack of momentum going into the offseason for the players. Where is the hope? Is there hope in the unknown for the locker room? A lot of questions and little to no answers surround the locker room, and the staff. Could the loss lead to a full on rebuild where players who have been here a long time are seen leaving the team on such a sad note for their Titans’ career?
All I know, win or lose, I am ready for this season to be over.