The Titans were able to stay alive in the wild card race with a comeback win over the Jets, but still are a long shot to sneak into the playoffs. Currently the Titans hold a 15% chance to make the playoffs. A win on Thursday over Jacksonville would increase those odds to 24%. The Titans need to take care of their own business, but will also need some help in order to get that sixth seed. In Week 14, there are a few key matchups that could help Tennessee’s chances.
Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs
The Ravens are the most legitimate threat to the Titans playoff chances and this game is one they have to lose. The Chiefs are the best team in the AFC and should beat Baltimore on the road. If Kansas City wins, the Ravens will fall back to the pack with six losses. Since Baltimore has the tiebreaker with Tennessee, the Ravens losing this week is crucial for the Titans to make the playoffs.
Titans’ Playoff Odds with a Chiefs Win: 18%
Titans’ Playoff Odds with a Ravens Win: 13%
New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins
Miami knocked off the Patriots at home last season. The Dolphins will need that again to stay alive in the playoff race. It seems like the sixth seed will go to a team with no more than six losses. Therefore, a loss against New England would most likely eliminate them from the race. Miami holds the tiebreaker over Tennessee because of their win in Week 1, so getting the Dolphins out of the race would help.
Titans’ Playoff Odds with a Patriots Win: 17%
Titans’ Playoff Odds with a Dolphins Win: 14%
Denver Broncos at San Francisco 49ers
The Broncos have stormed back into the playoff race, but still sit tied with the Titans, Colts, and Dolphins. They hold the easiest schedule in the league over the next four weeks and seem likely to challenge the Titans and Ravens for the second wild card spot. This would be a great time for the 49ers to find their third win of the season. Denver needs to lose one more game, but odds are this one won’t be it.
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Titans’ Playoff Odds with a 49ers Win: 17%
Titans’ Playoff Odds with a Broncos Win: 15%
Pittsburgh Steelers at Oakland Raiders
The Steelers have found their way back into the wild card race after back-to-back losses. The Ravens sit half a game back and the Steelers still have games against the Patriots and Saints. Two losses in their final four games would give the Titans a chance to pass them in the wild card race if the Ravens win the NFC North. The Raiders have been bad this year, but the Steelers almost lost to Jacksonville three weeks ago. Titans fans should hope Pittsburgh doesn’t show up on the road.
Titans’ Playoff Odds with a Raiders Win: 19%
Titans’ Playoff Odds with a Steelers Win: 15%
Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans
This game does not affect the Titans’ chances all that much due to the Titans playing the Colts in Week 17. Tennessee is effectively out of the division race, so it would probably help to take Indianapolis out of the wild card race with a loss. The odds say that a Texans win would hurt the Titans’ chances. However, with the Colts currently tied with the Titans, Indianapolis losing would be the better option.
Titans’ Playoff Odds with a Colts Win: 17%
Titans’ Playoff Odds with a Texans win: 16%
None of these games matter if the Titans lose on Thursday. However, this week is crucial if they want to move closer to a second consecutive playoff berth. If Tennessee wins Thursday, take Sunday to become fans of these teams to improve the Titans’ chances.
All odds come from the New York Times’ Playoff Simulator [https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/upshot/tennessee-titans-nfl-playoff-picture.html#&]