Merry Christmas to all.
Improbably and contrary to my expectations, the Titans now have 8 wins and have a chance to make the playoffs this season. For that to happen, two things absolutely have to happen:
A. Titans beat the Texans in Houston; AND
B. Bengals lose to the Ravens in Cincinnati.
If either of those things does not happen, the Titans cannot make the playoffs. The Texans are locked into the #3 seed, so we’ll see how much effort they expend on that game. The game against the Bengals means a great deal for the Ravens. If they win, they’ll be no worse than the #2 seed and could be the #1 seed if the Patriots lose. If the Ravens lose, they’ll be the #5 seed if the Steelers win.
In addition to the two things that have to happen, there are other things that have to happen:
C. The Raiders or Broncos lose or tie, and the Jets win.
The Raiders play the Chargers in Oakland. The Broncos play the Chiefs in Denver. If either team loses, the AFC West runner-up is not 9-7, so they’re behind the Titans and Bengals. The Jets, who are 8-7, play the Dolphins in Miami. A Jets win puts the Titans, Bengals, and Jets in a three-way tie, which the Titans win; OR
D. The Raiders and Broncos both win, and the Jets lose or tie.
If the Raiders and Broncos both win, the Broncos win the division. The Raiders would then be 9-7 and be in a three-way tie with the Bengals and Titans, which the Titans win. If the Jets are also 9-7, the Titans do not win the four-way tiebreaker and would be eliminated.
The Bengals, Raiders, and Broncos all play in Sunday’s second block of games, and while the Jets play early in the day, the Titans can make the playoffs no matter what happens in that Jets-Dolphins game. The Titans thus need to do what they didn’t do in 2006, take care of their own business, and hope the rest breaks out the right way, like it did in 2006.