Tennessee Titans Keep Playoff Hopes Alive with 23-17 Win Over Jacksonville Jaguars: Local Fan’s Take

The Tennessee Titans had an unimpressive performance against an inferior opponent for the second consecutive week. Fortunately, the Jacksonville Jaguars couldn't overcome 29 players who are on injured reserve, many of whom are from the defensive backfield.

The Titans kept their slim playoff hopes alive with a 23-17 victory over the Jaguars on December 24, 2011. The Titans have an opportunity to clinch a wild-card berth with a victory over the Houston Texans in the regular-season finale; they just need a lot of help on top of that.

The Jaguars had no answer for Jared Cook. Cook had eight receptions for 169 yards. His day was highlighted with a 55-yard touchdown reception on a streak route down the middle of the field in the first quarter. Damian Williams also fared well with eight receptions for 83 yards. The Titans had receivers running through the secondary all day. They essentially abandoned the running game for the first three quarters.

Matt Hasselbeck had a pretty good game. Hasselbeck was 24-of-40 for 350 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He made some errant passes and threw an interception in the fourth quarter that kept the game close throughout. I don't think that performance will silence fans who want to see Jake Locker, especially when one considers the shape of the Jaguars' secondary with all their injuries.

At 9-6, the Cincinnati Bengals are currently the AFC's No. 6 seed heading into their regular-season finale with the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens are still trying to hold off the Pittsburgh Steelers for the AFC North title. The Bengals would hold the two-way tiebreaker over the Titans because of the Bengals' 24-17 victory over the Titans in Week 9.

The Oakland Raiders, Denver Broncos, New York Jets and Titans are all 8-7. The Raiders and Broncos are leading the AFC West. While the Titans can't win a two-way tiebreaker with the Bengals, there are numerous ways in which they can win a playoff tiebreaker with multiple teams at 9-7.

Instead of breaking down every possible scenario, I'll just redirect you to the 2011 ESPN NFL Playoff Machine and you can simulate whatever scenario you'd like when figuring how the Titans can make the postseason.

Even if the Ravens and Steelers lose, the Texans are locked into the No. 3 seed. Therefore, they might play conservatively in the regular-season finale. That would also mean that the only possible playoff opponent for the Titans in the wild-card round would be the Texans.

GRADES:

Pass Offense: C+

Run Offense: D

Pass Defense: B

Run Defense: C

Special Teams: A

Joshua Huffman graduated from Middle Tennessee State University as a marketing major in 2009. He's been a Middle Tennessee resident from 1986-1988 and 2001-present. He lived in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Wisconsin from 1988-2001 and for approximately eight months in 2009-2010 while completing a 20-game volunteer position with the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers. His favorite sports organizations include the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Cubs, and Nashville Predators. He also follows the Tennessee Titans, his favorite AFC team.

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Updated Saturday, Dec 24, 2011