Titans’ playoff scenarios: post-Week 13 update

Last week, I took a look at the Titans’ route to their two main postseason goals: winning the AFC South for the first time since 2002, and clinching home field advantage for the entire playoffs.  With the win over the Browns on Sunday, the Titans reached that first goal.  Now, it’s time to take an updated look at clinching home field advantage.


When I did last week’s outlook, there were four different teams that could have won home field advantage.  That quartet is now down to 2 teams-the Jets loss combined with the Titans win means that the Titans are guaranteed to finish with a better record than the Jets.  The Jets loss and Titans win also eliminated the Ravens from home field, despite their win on Sunday Night Football against the Redskins-the Ravens’ sole hope was a 3-way tiebreaker with the Jets and Titans, as they lose the individual tiebreaker to the Titans because of the Titans’ win at M&T Bank Stadium in October.

The only competition then is the Pittsburgh Steelers, who currently have a 10-3 mark.  It’s pretty simple.  If the Titans are 15-1 or 14-2, they win home field advantage.  If the Titans are the sole 13-3 team, they win home field advantage.  If the Steelers are also 13-3, though, they will win home field advantage, as to finish 13-3 they’ll have to have beaten the Titans in Nashville in two weeks.  If the Titans and Steelers both finish 12-4, the Steelers will have necessarily defeated the Titans, and will take home field advantage (they’ll also win a division tiebreaker against the Ravens at 12-4 based on conference record).  Basically, if the Titans have the same or a worse record than the Steelers, they’re the #2 seed.  If they have a better record, they’re the #1 seed.

The Titans are currently 2 games up on the Steelers.  To clinch HFA, they need a combination of 2 {Titans wins + Steeler losses}.  If that happens this coming weekend, the head-to-head showdown in Nashville is irrelevant for the Titans’ playoff seeding.  If not, a potential playoff preview has even greater significance.

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