Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Titans beginning critical three-game homestand following bye week

At the beginning of the season, I believe most Tennessee Titans fans would have been content with a 3-2 start. With so many questions unanswered back in August, most people were hoping the team would just be competitive.

However, in hindsight, it is difficult not to look back at the first five games and not be a little disappointed. This is because the Titans really should have a 4-1 record. The lethargic 16-14 loss to Jacksonville in the opening game is frustrating. Since that game, the Jaguars have not won another game and stand at 1-5.

However, the Titans are in first place in the AFC South with a half-game lead over Houston. The Texans come to Nashville this week, and a win would give the team some cushion in the standings. Actually, the next three games could make or break the Titans season.

After the Houston game, there are two more home games, coming against Indianapolis and Cincinnati. The Colts are winless and are finding life without Peyton Manning to be a struggle. Cincinnati is 4-2, and the rookie tandem of quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Greene has been one of the surprises of the early season.

If Tennessee wins these three games, they would be 6-2 at the midway point of the season. If they lose one, the team would still be on pace to win 10 wins and have a good shot at the playoffs.

The big question is whether or not the team can continue their improved play. It is possible, but the Titans must get better production out of running back Chris Johnson. He only has one 100-yard game this season and is averaging around 50 yards a game. He will eventually break out, but it needs to happen soon.

Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (1,414 yards passing, nine touchdowns) has been excellent, and his passing has carried the offense through five games. However, circumstances show that this will not continue. After all, he is a 36-year-old quarterback with a history of back problems. At some point, the aches and pains of the season will catch up with him. All the more reason the running game must get revved up.

Additionally, the improvement of the defense must continue. Before the loss to Pittsburgh, the Titans had the number one defense in the league. The Titans lost to the Steelers 38-17. Were the problems in that game an indicator that the defense is coming back down to earth?

Lots of questions remain to be answered. Last year, the Titans began 5-3 before slumping to a final 6-10 record. This could still happen this year. But, right now, I am enjoying the winning.


Chris said...

Texans 41 Titans 7. It didn't surprise me that the Titans lost today, but the margin of defeat was. The question now is: Did we see the real Titans today? After a good start, Tennessee has suffered back-to-back blowout losses and have looked really bad. I know the Colts are winless, but next week is shaping up as a big game. After what we saw today, nothing is guaranteed.

Chris said...

Titans 27 Colts 10. A much-needed win against a lousy opponent. Coming off the Texans loss, it was tough to know what to expect. Let's hope the improvement continues.

Chris said...

Bengals 24 Titans 17. Tennessee let a big one get away. Losing two out of three on this homestand is a big blow to playoff hopes.