The Miami Dolphins are a mess.
There were few positives in the team’s Week 4 loss in London to the New York Jets. Because of that, Miami canned its head coach Joe Philbin a day later.
But the Tennessee Titans aren’t exactly in much better shape right now. Ken Whisenhunt’s team enters Week 6 with three straight losses, two of which came in games that the Titans had no business losing.
Before the season started, Sunday’s clash at Nissan Stadium appeared to be the type of game that would feature two teams trending upward in their quest to return to NFL prominence.
Instead, here we are with two teams simply trying to salvage their seasons.
For the Dolphins, that task is going to be a bit tougher. Miami finds itself at the bottom of the surprisingly difficult AFC East, as the Jets, New England Patriots, and Buffalo Bills all sport winning records at this point in the season. And with a three-game road trip at New England, Buffalo, and Philadelphia coming up in late October, the Dolphins have reached the danger zone.
But oddly enough, the Titans still aren’t there yet. Even with a 1-3 record, Tennessee still has a chance.
You can thank the AFC South for that. It’s no surprise that the Indianapolis Colts are atop the division, but what is surprising is that the Titans sit in second place.
The Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans are both 1-4 on the season, so with one less loss, Marcus Mariota and company find themselves as the second best team in the division right now.
But we shouldn’t expect the Titans to stay there. Not if they continue to find ways to lose games in the fourth quarter. And perhaps more importantly, if they continue to lose games at home.
This will be the third of four straight home games for this team. The Titans have already squandered two of them. Losing a third with the undefeated Atlanta Falcons on tap next week would effectively end any hopes of a playoff spot.
We saw what the Titans are capable of in their Week 1 demolishing of the Tampa Bay Bucs. So for the season to spiral out of control just five weeks later would be beyond disappointing.
For Whisenhunt’s sake, the Titans can’t lose this game. They just can’t.
Miami is the type of team that Tennessee has to beat. The Dolphins come in sporting no confidence or momentum of any kind. They can’t run the ball. They can’t stop anyone else from running the ball. And most importantly, they can’t score points.
What else do the Titans need in their favor?
A win over Miami would save the season. At least for now. Sitting at 2-3 with a boost of energy heading into the Falcons game would be a lot different than going in 1-4 with the season seemingly over.
The pressure on Whisenhunt is mounting. It’s easy to understand why when his current overall record as the team’s head coach is 3-17. But if pressure is bad now, it’ll be even worse if the Dolphins walk out Nashville with a victory.
Rarely are Week 6 games considered a must-win. However, for the Titans, it’s as must-win as it gets
Throw all the excuses out the window on Sunday. It no longer matters how young, or how close, or how talented the Titans are. All that matters is winning.
If the Titans do that, all is well. If they don’t, we may have no choice but to address the elephant in the room:
Is this 2014 all over again?