A season after coming within 45 minutes of reaching the Super Bowl, the Tennessee Titans return in 2020 with their eyes locked on the Lombardi Trophy
As the end of the 2019 season wound down the Tennessee Titans, in a most unlikely turn of events, found themselves leading the Kansas City Chiefs 17-7 in the second quarter of the AFC Championship Game. Then the wheels fell off.
The Titans went on to lose that game 35-24, and their run which started on Wild Card weekend with the defeat of Tom Brady’s New England Patriots at Foxborough, and then crushed the conference’s top-seeded Baltimore Ravens, before falling to Kansas City, was over.
Now, with long term contracts dolled out to their starting quarterback and starting running back, the Titans begin another run at the Super Bowl as the 2020 season begins.
Here are five reasons that Tennessee could get it done this time around.
5. Somehow, despite their 2019 run, the Titans remain an underdog
A season ago, the Titans improbable run happened on the heels of a relatively bad end to the regular season, which saw them lose in Weeks 15 and 16, before defeating their division’s champions, the Houston Texans, in a Week 17 game that meant nothing to the Houston. Despite that lackluster finish, the Titans were bound-and-determined to ride Derrick Henry through the playoffs, and it worked.
But, perhaps more than even Henry’s incredible postseason run, what really stood out was the edge with which Tennessee played when the games mattered most in January. What was evident was that the team, led by their fiery young head coach Mike Vrabel, embraced the underdog role and used it as motivation to punch their opponents square in the jaw from the opening kickoff. In securing a lead in the first quarter of each of their three postseason contests, the Titans took early control of games and then were able to ride a solid defense and their premier running back through the rest of the clock.
And entering 2020 – despite low turnover and critical upgrades – Tennessee finds itself firmly in the underdog role yet again. Many have predicted that Tennessee will not only fail to win their division (again), but that they’ll end up missing the playoffs all together just 12 months after nearly winning the conference title.
Tennesse, hungry for a Super Bowl birth and still bitter from their defeat at the hands of Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in the conference championship, can find even more fuel in being 2020 underdogs and use that motivation to propel them to take the next step in building Vrabel’s future Hall of Fame career by hoisting the Lombardi at season’s end.