And in a top-heavy conference, the Titans are in the driver’s seat with Super Wild Card Weekend in the rearview mirror as the Cincinnati Bengals prepare to make their way south with momentum on their side after defeating the Las Vegas Raiders. But before the Titans earned their bye week by dominating the AFC South division and beating the brakes off the conference’s elite, there was some soul searching along the way.
If it wasn’t for a 36-yard game-winning field goal by Randy Bullock in overtime against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2, Tennessee would’ve been staring down at an 0-2 start heading into a critical division matchup against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 3.
Nevertheless, Mike Vrabel’s team pushed through adversity behind their workhorse running back Derrick Henry, who ran for 937 yards and 10 touchdowns in just eight games before going down with a broken foot.
Without Henry, the Titans’ offense had its growing pains as they learned to evolve and win without their All-Pro running back. Defense became the team’s calling card down the stretch, winning four of their final five games and allowing just 11.3 points/game in those four wins.
Wild Card round results
- No. 1 Seed in the AFC – First-Round bye
2021 NFL Draft picks
- Round 1: No. 22 – Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
- Round 2: No. 53 – Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State
- Round 3: No. 92 (from GB) – Monty Rice, LB, Georgia
- Round 3: No. 100 – Elijah Molden, CB, Washington
- Round 4: No. 109 – Dez Fitzpatrick, WR, Louisville
- Round 4: No. 135 (from GB) – Rashad Weaver, DE, Pittsburgh
- Round 6: No. 205 – Racey McMath, WR, LSU
- Round 6: No. 215 – Brady Breeze, S, Oregon
Key personnel: Coaches and players
- Head coach: Mike Vrabel
- Quarterback: Ryan Tannehill
- Wide receiver: A.J. Brown
- Running back: Derrick Henry (click here for latest updates on Henry’s health status)
- Defensive end: Jeffery Simmons
- Safety: Kevin Byard
Titans regular season results
- Overall record: 12-5
- Key wins/biggest win of the season: 27-3 victory against Kansas City Chiefs in Week 7
Titans recent playoff history
- Second consecutive AFC South title… Lost to the Baltimore Ravens in the Wild Card Round in the 2020 season
What are the Tennessee Titans’ chances this postseason?
The Titans learned how to win without their best player during the regular season, and now they’ll only grow stronger with Henry back in action ahead of the Divisional Round.
Tennessee’s 4-3 record against playoff teams included a couple of Super Bowl-caliber wins, and some head-scratching losses.
Titans Record vs. playoff teams: 4-3.
- 34-31 vs. Buffalo Bills in Week 6
- 27-3 vs. Kansas City Chiefs in Week 7
- 28-16 vs. Las Angeles Rams in Week 9
- 20-17 vs. San Francisco 49ers in Week 16
- 38-13 vs. Arizona Cardinals in Week 1
- 36-13 vs. New England Patriots in Week 12
- 19-13 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 15
The Cardinals’ Week 1 beatdown of the Titans stunned not just fans in Tennessee, but also the NFL. It felt like Arizona’s coming out party and as the Cardinals continued to dominate over the first half of the season, the loss seemed like a distant memory.
But it didn’t take long for Tennessee to find its groove.
Within a four-week span, the Titans took down the Bills, Chiefs and Rams, outscoring their opposition 89-56.
Losses to the Patriots in Week 12 and the Steelers in Week 15 put the AFC South division within reach for the Colts, who infamously fell apart down the stretch to miss the playoffs entirely, but the Titans still find themselves in a position to control their own destiny to play in Super Bowl LVI next month at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.
Standing in their way, however, is a Bengals team coming off a playoff win with a quarterback in Joe Burrow who looks to be the next coming of Joe Montana. But if Ryan Tannehill can continue his career renaissance in Music City and take down Burrow’s Bengals, the AFC will be truly be theirs for the taking as they host the AFC Championship Game as the conference’s top seed.