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  1. What wins in this league is "special." KC advanced to the Super Bowl yesterday because they have a special QB and a special offense in general. When you find special, wherever it emerges, QB, RB, skill positions, defense, coaching staff, wherever you hold onto it and try to build around it. Henry was quite special this season, even historic. Tannehill was special too, though not in the playoffs. The defense was special for a split second too when it mattered most but then it evaporated. We can't know how long Henry will STAY special. Bruising RBs don't typically last long in the NFL. But he's certainly special right now and probably at least for next year. The dude almost single-handedly got us to The Show. He's such an outlier that there's a chance he could be special for a number of seasons. We'd be fools to not capitalize on it. Special doesn't come easy or often in this league.
  2. Congrats to the Chiefs, they played great and deserve to advance. I feel like we had a lousy game in many ways but I think most of that was the Chiefs individual efforts and coaching. So proud of our Titans. What a great season. Killed a dynasty. Slayed the #1 in true payback dominant fashion. Gave the AFC Champs everything they could handle. Well done, boys.
  3. Aren't you worried you get another punt blocked this game. Seems to be happening a lot lately? For my part I'm worried about Hardman. With the cold I think he gets a number of chances. Perhaps one too many.
  4. If minimizing those two wins makes you feel better go ahead. The Titans have looked like the best team in football these past two weeks to me. A team that won't give you any short fields and will drain you of any momentum that you manage to get with long soul crushing run-heavy drives. A team that doesn't make many mistakes and makes you pay for each one your team makes. If that team shows up again today, then the Chiefs are toast. I've never seen anything like it. I'm hoping it's not a mirage or two-game aberration. It's not something we're used to here in Titans-land.
  5. If the same Titans team that beat the Patriots and Ravens shows up, the Chiefs are in trouble.
  6. With the frigid weather and some wind, plus both defenses improved from their last match-up, I think it'll be a surprisingly low scoring game, say 10-13 at the start of the 4Q. But then it turns into a shootout with the last possession determining the winner. I think the defense makes a critical 4th down stop late and the Titans hold on for a thrilling 24-23 win and a trip to the Super Bowl. Of course I'd rather that Henry and the defense just dominate again and Tannehill has another easy day at the office. Let's do that instead.
  7. Let's face it, being a fan of this franchise has not been easy. My early rooting years go back to the Earl Campbell days. Those Luv Ya Blue Oilers were so good back then and had a legit chance, but Pittsburgh always stood in our way. In the 1978 season, our first AFC Championship Game we got the worst weather possible. We were a team built on a dominating running game, built for post-season bad weather runs, but the Three Rivers field was a sheet of ice. Earl never got going and we were trounced. The following year we made it back to the AFCC and Three Rivers again. We were banging it out with them when Renfro caught a touchdown that would have tied the score... but was inexplicably ruled no catch by the referees. It wasn't even a hard call. It's hard enough to win on the road against a great opponent; it's impossible when you don't get credit for what you actually do. That one was tough to swallow. The Oilers, as such, in spite of having some really good teams with Warren Moon, would never get back to the AFCC. The Run n' Shoot teams were decidedly not built for the playoffs. We would constantly choke away leads and fall short with comebacks. Eventually things got so bad the team was forced out of Houston. As an out of state fan I followed them to Tennessee where I hoped they would attract a rabid following and start making some noise again. It took a bit to settle in but once they had a home in the Coliseum, they went on a magical run. First they paid the Bills back for the playoff choke (and BTW the refs had a big hand in that playoff debacle as well) with the MCM. Then they beat the Jags for the third straight time, once again on the road in the AFCC. The Jags only had a better seed than us that year because literally nobody else could beat them. We went 13-3, they went 14-2 with us hanging both losses on them. I mean are you kidding me? Talk about getting no help. The thing I remember most about that AFCC game is Mason's kick return (after a safety). We were handling them again but the game was close. We needed somebody to do something special and DMase came through -- gave us a two score lead lead that we would not relinquish. That was another team built around a punishing runner, Eddie George and stout defense. Of course we fell to the Rams in the Super Bowl (basically due to a lucky bomb that Warner threw up for grabs just before he got annihilated by Kearse that was misplayed by a secondary decimated by injuries). The rest of the 2000's saw some dominant Titans teams that just couldn't get over the hump. The hump was usually named Ravens. When we finally did have a team that rose to the top and had an inside track to hosting an AFCC or two the Ravens were there to spoil the party, getting dominated but somehow still beating us due to bad luck, bad kicking, bad game plans -- unethical cheating through intentional injuries. Fisherball was built to win close games. It worked many times, but it left you vulnerable to bad things happening. They always seemed to happen against the Ravens. We made it back to the AFCC a few years later and played a potent Raiders team, once again on the road. We were a hot team and solid all around. It was a 3 point game into the 4Q but then the Raiders dominated that quarter and won going away. Nobody made a play late. Which brings us to the present day and our fifth AFCC, once again on the road. We are 1-3 so far. We have never hosted one... always on the road. Always coming in as battle-tested underdogs. Always run-heavy teams with standout defenses and game manager QBs. Three of the 4 were against (at the time) division rivals -- massive arch-enemies. We were annihilated in the first, a victim of weather that neutralized our main weapon. We gave them all they could handle in the second but were screwed by incompetent refs. We triumphed in the third! When we needed a play one of our most dynamic play-makers made one and tipped the scales in our direction. We went toe to toe with a dangerous offense in the fourth but ultimately could not stop them when it mattered most. So which game will the fifth be like? Again we enter with a bruising RB, the second coming of Earl, impossible to tackle when he gets a head of steam. As a subplot bonus, King Henry was no king until our previous generation's bruising back took him under his wing and explained what it would take. Since that Eddie Kung Fu grasshopper moment Henry has been the best RB in the league... maybe ever? It's unreal. And is Tannehill really a game manager QB? The two playoff box scores would indicate yes, but we know that's deceiving. He's been quite efficient when called upon. The shocking thing is that we didn't really need him to do much in the first two games. Yes, because of Henry, but also because of the DEFENSE. As mind-blowing as the running game has been, the performance of the defense is what I did not see coming. Frankly they seemed kind of mediocre for much of the year. Lots of good players but as a unit just not elite. Until the playoffs. I was impressed with what they did against the Patriots, but I didn't understand what was happening until the Ravens game. The Patriots were a wounded animal offensively and I kind of thought Brady was washed up. Brady played better than I expected but so did our defense. That goal line stand changed the game completely and was a sign of things to come. Holding the dynastic Patriots to 13 in their own home was something to be very proud of. But holding the record-setting Ravens to 12 in their own home in a game in which their offense was playing catch-up the whole time is somewhat miraculous. The Charm City Miracle? I had a hard time believing what I was seeing. Pees devised a brilliant game plan but even so it would have been ineffective if the players hadn't been able to execute it. Up and down the roster though the players came through with big plays. Casey with a strip sack. The whole secondary batting away balls. Great tackling (usually). Great discipline (except for the Evans blitz whiff, but worth a try once or twice). FOUR fourth down stops. Our short yardage defense is elite. This was a revelation. Not only do we have the best running game, not only do we have a ruthlessly efficient QB that we haven't even really needed much but now we also have a dominating defense with the coaches winning the game plan battle and players playing their best games of the season? This may be the perfect storm on defense. Evans has become a supersonic guided missile. Simmons is verging on beast mode. Casey is a freed up wild animal. Honor bends like Gumby. Adoree has come back from injury like a wet blanket. This new guy Brock is the real deal -- a few times a game I think to myself nice play Brock. Vaccaro is flying through the air powered by fan love, Byard is a big-play waiting to happen. Logan Ryan is invaluable. DaQuan is a brick wall. Roberson contributing. Long knifing through gaps. Old man Woodyard fresh as a daisy ready tackling everything near him. Jayon come back we need you! They will certainly have their hands full with this KC attack. However, unless the last two games were some sort of fluky mirage, we'll have a good game plan to slow them down and we'll have players making plays to stop drives and hopefully get turnovers. So there's a few ways we can win this game. Plan A : Do what we did in the first two games. Ride a running attack to a lead and play a field position game, limiting their offense to 3's and 0's as much as we can. That we play the weakest rushing defense so far in the playoffs gives me great hope that we can go on long drives and keep Mahomes on the bench getting cold, literally and figuratively. If KC's offense turns out to be too good for us, then Plan B : Open up the throttle on offense. Instead of 70/30 running, go 50/50 or 40/60. Tannehill would have to play well under heavy pressure. He will. Plan C : KC's defense plays their best game and their offense does its usual. We trail late but it's within reach. Tannehill will need to lead a one or two score comeback. He can do it. He hasn't had to yet in the playoffs, so it's a mystery to all of us whether he can or not. I have one request for the coaches if this comes to pass. Please please please do not take Henry off the field unless he needs a breather. Use him in the short passing game and continue to mix in runs. I think we get much easier to defend when he's not out there. You can almost see the sigh of relief from the defenders as they realize they can just drop back into coverage and tee off on the pass rush. If the offensive coaches can figure out how to make that work (what's wrong with hitting Henry streaking across the middle 4 yards from the LOS? I wouldn't want to tackle that freight train) then I think we're unstoppable even in catch-up mode. Here's to a great game and no injuries. KC fans you have a heck of a team, a generational QB, and your own tortuous history. I'm sure whatever happens on Sunday it'll be epic.
  8. Titans 35-31. Henry goes off AGAIN, but this time Tannehill joins him. The defense does just enough to keep it close enough for some 4Q heroics.
  9. Running QBs are very very hard to defend against, especially one as fast and elusive as Lamar and against a team with so many weapons. We see it year after year. The flip side and risk for teams that employ QBs that way is injury and typically giving up some quality as a pocket passer in terms of reading defenses, arm strength, whatever. But here we are in the Divisional Round and Lamar is still perfectly healthy, and though he does do much of his damage on plays he extends with his feet he's no slouch from the pocket either. Probably our best chance is just to play a very physical game, letting Lamar pass from a comfortable pocket, dropping lots of guys into coverage and going for turnovers on whichever player gets the ball beyond the LOS. Maybe that'll work to stop a few drives. More than likely though our offense will have to do equal and greater amounts of damage. We have the weapons to do that. I hope they do that. Basically nobody can have an off day. We'll need to win this one 35-31 with +2 turnovers, Henry over 150 and Tanny over 200. It's not impossible.
  10. They should play both Long and Woodyard and use the presence of either to bait the Ravens into a play we know is coming as they seek to exploit the weaknesses of either. Woodyard is in? Bracket Andrews. Long is in? Blitz the rollout.
  11. Your confidence in the Ravens offense is well justified. But you're underestimating our offense. We are no joke. Henry has a way of dominating and there have been games where Tannehill dominated too. Our defense has been up and down, but they certainly stepped up last night. So going into this game, to give you a peek into the mind of a Titans fan, I'm pretty sure Henry will be able to do his thing but I also know that won't be enough. And I'm wondering if we're going to turtle and hope for all the breaks or if we're going to let Tanny try to win the game and if so whether our receivers come to play. Meanwhile I have a sneaking suspicion that while our defense will be overwhelmed in general by all your weapons that they're going to make a few plays themselves. Maybe even enough to get a W. Some guys are due for a big game like Byard, Casey and Landry. There's also a part of me that's worried we'll come out flat and it'll be 24-0 at halftime, which will make me want to hurt my TV.
  12. I also want to say that win or lose this game is GOLD for us. Since we suddenly have one of the best offenses in the league I know optimism for next season is through the roof. As it should be, we will be contenders with a chance to win our division and get a bye for ourselves instead of having to play three perfect road games just to get to the show. This game on Saturday will show us exactly where we are and how to get to where we want to go. It will help us immeasurably for next season, win or lose, by providing valuable player and franchise experience. That said, GO WIN THE GAME!
  13. Ravens fans have every right to be confident. But there is a version of this Titans team that can go toe to toe with them and make them earn it. Tannehill and the game plan will have to be much more aggressive for that version to be there on Saturday night. I watched highlights of the Ravens versus the Pats and versus the Texans today. The Ravens do not have a dominant defense. It's feasible for us to win by going on long ball-control drives, trading scores with them and finding a way to get a couple of turnovers. This is not mission impossible, but it will require our A+ game from all the key players. Three wins from immortality (although I guess we have already achieved dynasty-buster immortality). Make it happen!
  14. The Ravens fans are 100% right that this game could be a blowout loss for the Titans. That's one way it could go. If the passing game fails to show up again then we could be in a big hole early and that could get ugly. But there's another way this could go. It could stay close enough that the 4th quarter matters. Maybe Tannehill bounces back to have a more normal game and the WRs get stuff done. Maybe Henry proves to be as much of a load for the Ravens as he did for the #1 defense Patriots. Maybe there's a fumble or two that keep the Ravens from separating. Maybe Lamar gets banged up on one of his runs and has to try to do more from the pocket. And then in the 4Q, locked in a 1 score game, the Ravens and their fans will be waiting to see if one the most explosive offenses over the last half of the season can get it done. That could be our offense, or your offense. Know this... if the game is close late and Henry starts ripping off 15 yard runs while AJ Brown piles on YAC, you should be very worried. Very very worried.
  15. Titans 16-0 : ) 2 TDs by Henry, 1/4 FGs, 1 missed XP. Pats under 300 yards total as the defense balls out in the rain.

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