For as long as I can remember, and probably long before that, coaches have talked about having to play hard in the fourth quarter.
With three quarters of the Titans season gone, it's now time for them to play hard in the fourth quarter. A wildcard berth is the reward in sight.
AFC Wildcard Race:
Jacksonville Jaguars 8-4
Cleveland Browns 7-5
Tennessee Titans 7-5
Buffalo Bills 6-6
Winning three of the last four games would leave the Titans with a 10-6 record, and it will probably take at least that to earn a wildcard spot.
The final four games on the schedule are:
vs San Diego (7-5)
at Kansas City (4-8)
vs New York Jets (3-9)
at Indianapolis (10-2)
The Chargers should be the toughest game of the four. Tennessee has not played well against them in the last several years and was blown out last year by an embarrassing 40-7 score which could have been worse.
The win against Houston last week gave some cause for hope after three straight losses and we'll know more about this team after the Chargers game. Drexel and I will both have our usual pregame analyses in the next several days.
The Chiefs and Jets games look winnable, with both teams having down years after winning the two AFC wildcard berths a year ago. The Jets have only one win against teams other than the hapless Miami Dolphins.
It will probably come down to the final game of the year, at Indianapolis. The last three games against the Colts have all been very close, but the next game with them may not be. Indy may very well rest their starters if the game is meaningless to their playoff seeding. Tony Dungy has done that before.
Playing a division rival in the last regular season game for a playoff berth seems like a fitting way to close the year out.