Throughout the early portion of an NFL season, we’re bound to start asking important questions that pertain to a team’s final standing when the regular season ends.
Who wins MVP? Who’s the defensive player of the year award? Which teams is set to run through their respective conferences? Which team could surprise some and make a run in one of the most popular, gut wrenching, nausea inducing postseason tournaments in all of sports?
Those type of questions right?
Even though we’re usually only six, seven, maybe even eight weeks in, we ask these questions to establish a topic of discussion right? Because who wants sit and grind through highlights and mediocre headlines when we can take a topic that shouldn’t even be brought up in October, and run through it seamlessly?
As you can tell, these sort of topics can cause my brain to rattle and give me a wrecking headache.
However, despite my obvious negative feeling towards these sort of questions being asked so early in a season, I’m prepared to contradict myself here and dip into the pool that slam others for jumping right into.
The question at hand? It relates to the Tennessee Titans and whether they deserve to be mentioned among the cream of the crop in the AFC, a conference that been proven to be unforgiving and good at producing some of the game’s most notable teams year by year.
So about those Titans…are they worthy of being propelled into the same plane at the Baltimore Ravens? The Buffalo Bills? The Los Angeles Chargers? Even the Cincinnati Bengals, a team that couldn’t even keep their prized possession healthy, have come out of nowhere and propelled themselves towards a top spot in the competitive AFC North division.
Let’s lay down some facts first.
We’re still in week seven currently. Some teams are still trying to figure out who they are, what they do well, what they lack, and what they can improve in the near future known as this season.
Buffalo knows who they are, a balanced team that can rely on their young, star quarterback in Josh Allen to deliver during multiple high pressure situations. Baltimore is still running through their schedule despite injuries taking a brutal toll on their roster this season. Los Angeles is a young team full of talent that’s hungry to take the next step and return to the postseason after a two year drought. Cincinnati is also a young football team, but they possess far more holes roster wise in comparison to Los Angeles.
It’s a fluid situation once you take a step back and look at it right?
Then you have the Titans, a team with talent up and down the roster, but issues of their own that have prevented them from truly staying consistent week to week.
Derrick Henry has become a workhorse back the league hasn’t seen in quite some time, A.J. Brown and Julio Jones have shown how dangerous of a duo they could be in limited action on the field together, and Ryan Tannehill has found his stride after a rollercoaster first few games of the season. Defensively there’s still some problems to be worked through, but the talent in the front seven can’t be ignored, mostly because that area has been the Titans’ most proven on defense since the team’s bludgeoning in week one against the Arizona Cardinals.
If you really inspect the entire makeup of this squad, and their recent performances against teams you’d call tough AFC opponents in Buffalo and Kansas City, then could you confidently say this team is ready to be mentioned among the elitist of the elite in the AFC?
Well, it’s honestly a tough question to answer.
The Titans’ performances over the past week have shown that the they’re are more than capable of not only being competitive with the nobles of their conference, but beating them in multiple ways as well. From Jeffery Simmons capping off a thrilling win on Monday night against the Bills, to the team crushing the Chiefs while running out a makeshift secondary you’d only see during injury catastrophes, Mike Vrabel’s team has found ways to take care of business by whatever means necessary.
But their inconsistency on both sides of the ball, their black mark of a loss against a previously winless New York Jets team, their tendency to drop the ball and stop functioning as a division winning football team, these red flags can’t be ignored either.
That’s why when you ponder the thought of the Titans being in the running as one of the top two, maybe even three teams in the conference, it’s hard to get past those past blemishes and flush them down altogether.
When you boil it down, it’s easy to take these last two wins and use them as solid proof for the Titans’ case to be mentioned among the top teams in the conference. I understand that, but I say to that is see if this team can keep their composure during the last three games of their brutal schedule gauntlet and then make a definitive decision.
If they wobble through and come out of it beaten, bruised, battered, and confused, then I think you should know what your answer will be.
However, if they rumble through it albeit the lack of any backbreaking mistakes, then the green light may be in your favor.
Until then though, I say hold your horses and ride the hypothetical wave until things shake out.