Could it be redemption season for the Tennessee Titans? Titans fans and bettors would sure like to hope so.
That dream came another step closer to reality last week when they successfully defended their AFC South title and locked in the No. 1 AFC seed. Titans playoff betting odds saw similar improvement thanks to that success.
This week, they take a well-deserved breather as they prepare to welcome an unknown opponent to Nissan Stadium in the second round of playoffs.
Tennessee Titans welcome first home playoff in 18 years
Eighteen years have passed since the late Steve McNair led the Titans to a 34-31 divisional win against the Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime. The game took place Jan. 11, 2003.
Now, that doesn’t seem all that long ago, but let’s put that into perspective. A baby born the same year that Tennessee last won a home playoff game can now vote.
It’s been that long since the Titans have won a playoff game on home soil.
Tennessee’s next shot came (and quickly died) in 2009 when the Baltimore Ravens won in Nashville to claim the division. They welcomed the Ravens back in 2021 and suffered yet another playoff loss in Nashville.
Since then, they’ve been eagerly awaiting another re-do. And thanks to last week’s win, the chance has come again.
Titans survive sluggish second-half to top Texans
During the Week 18 regular season finale against Houston, Tennessee quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw three touchdown passes to three different receivers in the first half. This put the Titans up 21-0 before the third quarter.
But the Texans roared back, scoring 21 unanswered points as the Titans failed to convert time and time again. Tennessee finally scored again in the fourth quarter on a three-yard Tannehill pass to Julio Jones.
Houston’s Danny Amendola caught a second touchdown pass to pull the Texans within three points with only 4:04 to go. But Tennessee managed to hang onto the ball and the lead.
This nail-biting victory secured a second consecutive AFC South crown for the Titans. And thanks to a previous Week 7 win over the Chiefs, they’ve also claimed the No. 1 seed and its accompanying spoils.
Wild weekend sets up Wild Card Round
Anyone watching Week 18’s Titans-Texans contest or any of the other regular-season finales had to wonder: Are we sure this isn’t scripted? The Jaguars trounced the Colts, 26-11, in a stunner. The Detroit Lions became the happiest havers of just three wins after beating Green Bay.
Pittsburgh snuck into the postseason after outlasting the Ravens in overtime and meeting about a billion other contingencies. Their 16-13 win was just one of three games that went into overtime, setting up this weekend’s Wild Card round.
The Las Vegas Raiders will visit the Cincinnati Bengals to open the weekend at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
New England visits Buffalo for an 8:15 p.m. meeting on Saturday.
The first Sunday matchup features Philadelphia at Tampa Bay at 1 p.m.
San Francisco meets Dallas for a 4:30 p.m. kickoff.
The one Titans nation will watch closely: Pittsburgh at Kansas City for an 8:15 p.m. kickoff on Sunday night.
It seems a no-brainer that the Chiefs will down the Steelers. But then again, nobody expected Pittsburgh to sneak in at all. Kansas City opened as 12.5 favorites over Pittsburgh. The Titans beat the Chiefs, 27-3, in Week 7, but lost to the Steelers late in the season.
Monday Night Football will feature the Arizona Cardinals at the L.A. Rams to close out the wild weekend.
Tennessee returns home for playoff introduction
The NFL’s Wild Card round kicks off Saturday, but the Titans won’t take the field until the second round. With Tennessee’s top AFC seed came the privilege of a first-round bye as well as the advantage of a home-field faceoff for their first matchup.
The date of this playoff game has yet to be announced, nor has the name of their opponent. But at least we know the location will be Nissan Stadium.
Fans will have to wait until the end of this week’s Sunday Night Football matchup to see whether the Titans will host the Kansas City Chiefs or Pittsburgh Steelers.
Along with the looming question of who Tennessee’s opponent might be, Titans fans are also eagerly wondering whether star running back Derrick Henry will make his long-awaited return to the field.
Although he hasn’t been activated yet, King Henry has reportedly returned to practice and is being assessed for play. The Titans placed him on injured reserve Nov. 1 after he suffered a Jones fracture on Halloween.
Titans have top 5 odds of winning Super Bowl LVI
Oddsmakers have the NFC’s No. 1 seed, the Green Bay Packers, situated as favorites to hoist the coveted Vince Lombardi trophy. Kansas City is a solid second, while the Bucs, Bills and Titans round out the top five.
If the Titans win their next matchup, they can expect to face either the Bills, Patriots, Bengals or Raiders in the Divisional Round.