NASHVILLE – Moments after his Tennessee Titans strangled the Kansas City Chiefs 27-3 on Sunday, a nervous Mike Vrabel answered questions from members of the media, looking more like a man whose team had lost two straight games than ‘to one whose team had just posted a big game in a row. victories.
The intention, apparently, was to make sure neither he nor his players got carried away after impressive wins over the teams that faced each other in last season’s AFC Championship (Buffalo and Kansas City) six days away. ‘interval.
There are 10 other regular season games, after all.
“I’m just trying to stay focused and know that every week will be a new challenge,” Vrabel said on Monday. “I guess that’s where my mind goes, just the next game and what it’s going to be. How are we going to prepare? What will the practice look like?
Despite their best efforts, Vrabel can’t help but focus on the Titans’ achievements a bit more as they knocked out both AFC 2020 Championship entrants at Nissan Stadium.
Tennessee’s chances of qualifying for the playoffs – and then making some noise – take notable steps in the right direction, just weeks after a loss to the modest New York Jets. A victory on Sunday at Indianapolis would improve the long-term forecast even further, as it would give the Titans a three-game lead in the AFC South and a decisive advantage over the Colts.
It also can’t hurt that the Titans – who will face the Colts, Rams and Saints in their next three games – have the easiest third schedule remaining for the remainder of the season, according to ESPN NFL tipster. Mike Clay as well as Pro Football Focus.
Here’s a sample of how their image has changed in recent weeks:
• When the Titans lost to the Jets, their chances of winning the Super Bowl hit their lowest point of the year. Back-to-back wins over Jacksonville, Buffalo and Kansas City have steadily pushed the line forward, and to date Tennessee have +1,400 to win it all, according to SI Sportsbook. Only eight teams have better odds. On a related note, the Titans are now +700 in the silver line to win the AFC Championship. Only Buffalo, Baltimore and Kansas City are considered better bets – and, as previously reported, Tennessee beat two of those three.
• Football Outsiders currently gives the Titans an 80.7 percent chance of reaching the playoffs, a number that jumped 7.1 percentage points after the win over Buffalo.
• The sports analysis site Fiftyhuit.com saw the Titans earn 38 points in the site’s rating formula after their last triumph. It was the third-highest jump in the league behind Cincinnati (who won in Baltimore) and Indianapolis (who won in San Francisco).
• In the eyes of The New York Times, the win over the Bills took Tennessee’s already strong playoff odds from 85% to 92%.
What could a win against the Colts on Sunday mean?
The odds of qualifying for the playoffs – after playing just eight games – would drop to 98%, according to the Times. But here’s another interesting number to follow. If the Titans beat Indianapolis, they would have a 33% chance of earning a week off in the playoffs. A loss to the Colts drops that probability of a week off to 14%.
And just in case you’re wondering if all those playoff percentages mean anything to the players – with the season not even halfway through – rest assured they’re more inclined to follow in Vrabel’s footsteps.
“We’re not going to get caught up by… beating two great teams and now we feel a little bit,” Titans safety Kevin Byard said. “We’re not even caught up in this. We will continue to run our business.