As the No. 1 seed in the AFC, with a regular-season record of 12-5, winning the AFC South for a second straight year, the Tennessee Titans don't seem to be getting the respect that they deserve.
When running back Derrick Henry went down in Week 8 with a broken foot injury, it seemed like everyone wrote off the Titans. Everyone but themselves.
Tennesse currently have the third highest odds out of the four AFC teams to win the AFC. The Chiefs are the favorites at +150 followed by the Bills at +200. The Titans' odds are currently at +275.
In Dan Hanzus' (NFL.com writer) latest playoff-team power rankings, the Titans sit fifth out of the eight teams that remain in the playoffs, even behind the Bengals, who they are favored by to beat this weekend by 3.5 points.
Tennessee played seven games against playoff teams this season and finished with a 4-3 record. The four teams that they beat are still in the playoffs: the Bills, the Chiefs, the Rams and the 49ers. The three playoff teams that they lost to are all out: the Steelers, the Patriots and the Cardinals. It's safe to say that Tennessee is a team that plays to its competition.
Why are the Tennessee Titans being overlooked?
When you look at.the stats, Tennessee aren't a very convincing No. 1 seed. They gave up the second-most receptions and receiving yards to wide-receivers this season, and the fifth-most touchdown receptions.
When you're facing a pass-heavy offense like the Bengals, led by Joe Burrow, those numbers won't give you much, if any, confidence against the Bengals. It doesn't help that they're also led by Ryan Tannehill, a quarterback who finished 16th in passing yards and passing touchdowns and 24th in yards-per-completion.
Tennessee finished with the 15th-ranked scoring offense this season, which is well below the No. 1 seed overall average of 5.11, as well as the 4.33 average ranking for the 51 top seeds who reached the Super Bowl.
The return of Derrick Henry should help Tennessee
Ahead of their Saturday showdown with the Bengals, Tennessee are expected to get bell-cow running back Derrick Henry back in the lineup. With Henry in the lineup, team averaged 39.4 carries, 164.5 rushing yards and 9.6 rushing first downs through eight games. Without Henry in the lineup, the team is averaging 30.6 carries, 122 rushing yards and 6.8 rushing first downs.
Henry led the league in rushing yards (937) before suffering a foot injury in Week 8. Henry even posed a real threat to potentially break the single-season rushing yard record before he got hurt. His return will definitely boost the Titans' odds at winning and advancing to the Super Bowl.