A few thoughts on the Titans playoffs hype, the Bucs and Bills

Even if the Titans somehow make the playoffs, they aren’t a good enough team to win a postseason game.  It will be one and done again, just like it has been for their last two postseasons. I’m not getting caught up in any hype about the playoffs.

After Sunday’s win, the Titans are 6-5 and ninth in the AFC playoff race.  They should get to eight wins with victories over the Jags and Colts and might even get to nine wins if they can manage to win at Buffalo this week.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the win over the Bucs which put the team in it’s unexpected and fortunate position, I saw more problems Sunday that concerned me.

The Titans squandered great field position in the first half, scoring only three points after four trips inside Tampa Bay’s 38-yard line.  Their fifth and sixth journeys across midfield resulted in punts and the seventh trip added three more points.

The yield of only six points in seven trips was certainly inefficient.  For more on this, see Tom’s latest post on field position.

While the 190-yard rushing outburst from Chris Johnson was a welcome sight, I can’t give a whole lot of the credit to the o-line.  They’re still having difficulties getting to the second level, and it was CJ’s ability to make the Bucs linebackers miss which was more of a factor in his big game than his blockers were.

On the other side of the ball, the Titans had yet another day trying without much success to stop an opposing running back.  LeGarrette Blount joined Maurice Jones-Drew, Jonathan Dwyer, Arian Foster, Ben Tate, and Michael Turner as backs who have enjoyed good days against the Titans D.

The Titans still don’t have a good pass rush and unless they start using Akeem Ayers as an edge rusher again, they won’t have one this year.

That’s all my griping for now.  I just hope the Titans play better this week, and they’ll need to, when they go to Buffalo.

A few quick notes on the Bills:

Buffalo got off to an unexpected 5-2 start, before losing four in a row.  Last week they narrowly missed upsetting the Jets, falling 28-24.  The last three losses were on the road, so they should be glad to be playing at home this week, where they’re 4-1.

Best win: 34-31 vs Patriots
Worst loss: 44-7 at Dallas

Buffalo’s offense is good, starring QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and WR Stevie Johnson.  RB Fred Jackson was having a career year before his season ended with a leg injury.  Former first-round draft pick C.J. Spiller replaces him is now the starting RB for the Bills.  Despite the absence of stars on the line, the Bills o-line is a good one.  They’re good in pass protection, which doesn’t bode well for the Titans’ pass rush.

The 3-4 defense doesn’t really have any players that stand out.  FS Jairus Byrd is probably their best player.  Rookie NT Marcell Dareus, the third overall draft selection this year, could be a star in the making.  It looks like another long day for Eugene Amano.

This should be a close contest between two fairly evenly matched teams.  The Bills are 1½ point favorites.  Earlier in the week, there was some talk about snow, but the forecast now calls for rain with a temperature of 50°.  Tom will have more info on the Bills in his question and answer exchange with the Bills blog Buffalo Wins.

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