Tennessee received a lot of help on Sunday from AFC teams. The Chiefs beat the Ravens in the early games, and the Raiders and 49ers upset the Steelers and Broncos in the later set. The only game that hurt the Titans chances was Miami’s win over New England. Had the Dolphins not won on the last play of the game, the Titans may have had a perfect week. They currently have a 24% chance to make the playoffs. Now, Tennessee heads on the road to face the Giants in a tough test. If the Titans are able to win and a few of these games go the right way, they could control their own destiny by the end of the week.
Texans at Jets (Saturday)
Houston’s loss last week to Indianapolis puts the AFC South back into play for the Titans. If the Titans are able to win out, they still would have a chance to win the division. However, this will almost certainly have to start on Saturday. Houston’s schedule isn’t too grueling down the stretch, but they have to go 2-1 to clinch the division. If Houston wins Saturday, the Titans will almost certainly be left with only the last wild card spot, but the division race isn’t quite over. The Jets almost knocked off the Titans two weeks ago, fans should hope New York can get it done on Saturday.
Titans playoff chances with a Jets win: 27%
Titans playoff chances with a Texans win: 22%
Browns at Broncos (Saturday)
The Browns have turned it on the last few weeks and could upset the Broncos. Denver lost to San Francisco last week and fell a game back in the race for the last wild card spot. Therefore, the Titans now control their destiny over the Broncos in the race, so the Broncos do not need to lose again. However, the Titans would still have a chance if they drop one of their next two games. Then, they would need Denver to lose another one. The Browns are not technically eliminated from playoff contention, so they won’t be mailing it in. This game isn’t overly important for the Titans playoff chances, but a Cleveland win would help.
Titans playoff chances with a Browns win: 25%
Titans playoff chances with a Broncos win: 23%
Buccaneers at Ravens
The AFC North race has become more and more intriguing for the Titans. Due to both the Steelers and Ravens losing last week, the Titans only need one of them to lose another game if Tennessee wins out. Odds are this will not be the game that helps the Titans pass the Ravens. Baltimore will most likely win this game at home against a struggling Tampa Bay team. However, thanks to last week’s results, there is no urgency for either Baltimore or Pittsburgh to lose. Although, a Bucs win definitely would not hurt the Titans.
Titans playoff chances with a Buccaneers win: 26%
Titans playoff chances with a Ravens win: 22%
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Dolphins at Vikings
Miami has pulled out near miracles two weeks in a row to keep pace in the wild card race. However, this week their luck may run out. Minnesota is in the thick of the NFC playoff race and need this win at home. This may be the most important game of the week for the Titans. Miami’s schedule is soft the next two weeks, and Tennessee still needs another Dolphins loss in order to make the playoffs. Titans fans should be paying almost as much attention to this game as the Titans game against the Giants. If Minnesota does not win this week, Miami may be a tough team to surpass in the wild card race.
Titans playoff chances with a Vikings win: 27%
Titans playoff chances with a Dolphins win: 17%
Cowboys at Colts
This game does not matter too much to Tennessee. The Titans control their destiny over the Colts even if Tennessee loses one of their next two games. As long as the Titans beat Indianapolis in Week 17 and Tennessee doesn’t lose their next two games, they will have the edge over the Colts. However, it would be nice for the Colts to not have anything to play for in Week 17. A loss to the Cowboys would decimate the Colts chances to make the playoffs. Titans fans should be rooting for Dallas, but this game has little to no impact on Tennessee’s playoff chances.
Titans playoff chances with a Cowboys win: 25%
Titans playoff chances with a Colts win: 22%
Patriots at Steelers
The Steelers collapse in the last three weeks is a welcomed sight for the Titans. Pittsburgh has lost three straight games and now has to face the Patriots and Saints in back-to-back weeks. If the Steelers lose either of those two games, the Titans control their destiny over Pittsburgh. Tennessee can control their destiny for the sixth seed if they win in New York this week, the Dolphins lose, and the Steelers lose. Pittsburgh’s playoff chances don’t look good right now and the Titans could surpass them this week. It may hurt, but Titans fans should be rooting for New England this week.
Titans playoff chances with a Patriots win: 26%
Titans playoff chances with a Steelers win: 22%
What if it all goes right?
If the Titans win and every game above goes their way, Tennessee would hold a 60% chance to make the playoffs.
If the Titans lose and every game above goes their way, Tennessee would hold a 27% chance to make the playoffs
What if it all goes wrong?
If the Titans win and every game above goes wrong, Tennessee would hold a 33% chance to make the playoffs.
If the Titans lose and every game above goes wrong, Tennessee would hold a 4% chance to make the playoffs.
All playoff percentages come from the New York Times NFL Playoff Simulator: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/upshot/tennessee-titans-nfl-playoff-picture.html#&