NFL: Tennessee Titans-Training Camp
Jul 26, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; during training camp at Saint Thomas Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
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Titans are fraudulent contenders in AFC

It’s hard to say a team with an 8-5 record isn’t good, but that’s exactly where we are with the Tennessee Titans. Tennessee lost a brutal 12-7 affair against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday afternoon at University of Phoenix Stadium. It looked familiar.

Marcus Mariota couldn’t do anything to rally the troops. The defense played well but couldn’t force the big mistakes, even with Blaine Gabbert at the helm for the Cardinals. Still, Tennessee was able to sack Gabbert eight times and didn’t allow a touchdown, but it wasn’t enough.

All of this has to make you believe the Titans aren’t doing much in the AFC playoffs. Heck, there is still a chance they don’t reach the postseason, with the schedule including contests against the Los Angeles Rams, Jacksonville Jaguars and San Francisco 49ers. It sounds wild, but considering how bad Mariota has been and how inconsistent the Titans have looked, it has to be considered a possibility.

Even if the Titans go 9-7, which is certainly a possibility, they would be in real trouble. There is a chance that the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers could achieve the same record. With the Baltimore Ravens aiming to run the table, questions are absolutely mounting.

Tennessee has to figure out how to help Mariota, something it spent much of the offseason trying to do. The Titans went out and drafted wide receiver Corey Davis with the fifth-overall pick. However, Davis has both been hurt and ineffective. Eric Decker was also brought in via free agency, but that did little to help bolster what has been and what has become again an anemic attack.

At some point, handing the ball off to DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry isn’t going to be enough. Mariota, the second-overall pick three years ago out of the University of Oregon, has to start throwing the ball down the field with some success. To this point, Mariota has tossed 10 touchdowns with 14 interceptions, all while being on pace for about 3,000 passing yards. The numbers would be average in 1960, and they are atrocious in current times.

Tennessee was supposed to be one of the teams taking the proverbial leap into contention, but that hasn’t happened. Instead, the Titans are 8-5 but looking more like a team that should be 5-8. Maybe they end up in the playoffs and while that would be progress, the product on the field looks nothing like a group taking actual steps toward contention.


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