Why are the Tennessee Titans So Disrespected?

NFL Jan 21, 2022

Despite being the AFC's top-seed, the Tennessee Titans are the sixth-ranked choice out of eight teams to win the Super Bowl.  By contrast, the NFC's top-seed Green Bay is the top pick.  So, why are the Titans getting no respect?

NO RESPECT

Here's a question:  What's the only playoff team to have beaten Kansas City, Buffalo, San Francisco, and the LA Rams?  Oh, and they were underdogs in all four of those games.

If you're reading this article, you already know the answer.  Tennessee was getting points in all four of those regular season games.  They covered the spread.  The Titans won all four games outright.

Now, here we are in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.  What do we see?  The same old Titans, still getting no respect.  Yeah, they're favoured by 3 points at home versus Cincinnati on Saturday, despite enjoying a first round bye.  But that's more of an insult and a show of public confidence.

THE ODDS

Of the eight remaining playoff teams, Tennessee has the third-worst odds to win the Super Bowl, currently at +850 according to Spreads.ca, behind the 49ers and Bengals (+1200).

Now get this:  The Titans have been described as "the worst No. 1 seed since 1983" by ESPN and Football Outsiders based on multiple advanced metrics.  This is despite a 12-5 regular season record and a second consecutive AFC South title.

ONE POSSIBLE EXPLANATION

It doesn't help the Titans don't have a superstar QB in the mold of Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, or Patrick Mahomes.  Journeyman Ryan Tannehill finished 16th in passing yards and passing touchdowns and 24th in yards-per-completion. The only playoff starters who finished worst in any of those categories were Philadelphia's Jalen Hurts, San Francisco's Jimmy Garoppolo and Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger.  No doubt, the Eagles and Steelers lost in part because of bad quarterback play, and no one trusts Garoppolo after his tough second half against the Cowboys during wild-card weekend.

HENRY'S RETURN COULD CHANGE THINGS

Derrick Henry will return this week.  He's likely to get 15-20 touches, but possibly more depending on how things go.  Let's agree when he's at 100 percent, Henry can be a game changer.  We will see if he's able to quickly adjust to the 3-month layoff due to injury.

The improved health of receivers A.J. Brown and Julio Jones could also help the Titans with consistency issues.  Let's remember how good this offense was last year when they were healthy, scoring the most points in franchise history.

indeed, the Titans' offensive woes were because of injuries to their three stars Henry, Brown and Jones. When Henry played, the Titans averaged 28.4 points per game, which ranks third this season with the Bills if they maintained it for 17 games. When Brown played, they averaged 27.1, still an impressive figure.

DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS

Tennessee's overlooked defense is another reason they're probably undervalued. The Titans finished the regular season with the sixth-best defense in the NFL (points allowed).  That's the average of the 94 No. 1 seeds since the year 1975.  So, this defense is right up there as good as most teams in this spot, historically speaking.

Doubting the Titans would be a mistake.  The Henry factor changes things -- even if he's 90 percent of what he was through the first seven weeks of the season.  The same goes for receivers Brown and Jones. Coupled with a solid defense, the Titans have a legitimate chance to at least prove to everyone they aren't as weak a top seed as some might think.

In fact, the Titans might even be the best value on the board, not only this weekend, but to win it all.

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