It’s week 11 of the NFL season, and few teams have separated themselves from the rest of the league. The 2021 season has definitely been one of the stranger years in recent memory. Teams we thought would be good, such as the Chiefs, Bills, or Buccaneers, have been wildly inconsistent. Just as soon as a team wins a great game, they’ve suffered an awful loss. But looking across the league, there may not be a better team through 10 weeks than the Titans.

Many counted the Titans out after losing Derrick Henry in week eight against the Colts. Since losing Henry, however, they’re 2-0 with wins over the Rams and Saints. Their defense has come up with timely takeaways, Ryan Tannehill is making up for the shortcomings of his offensive line, receiving core and running game, and Mike Vrabel is coaching the hell out of his squad. The Titans might not have as many household names as other teams, but their resume is better than the rest. If it wasn’t for an awful loss to the Jets, the Titans would be on an eight-game win streak.

It was reasonable to count out the Titans simply due to their lengthy injury report. In this season alone, the Titans have placed over 20 players on IR. Their offensive line is among the worst in the league, they have one stud receiver due to Julio Jones’s inability to stay healthy, and their running game has completely tanked. But through it all, the Titans have shown the league that as long as you have an elite quarterback, a great head coach, and you play smart football, you’ll win.

Look Out For Tennessee

Through 10 games, Ryan Tannehill has a Pro Football Focus grade of 89.5, good enough for third in the league. Many tried to make the case that Tannehill was only good because of Derrick Henry and former Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith. While having Henry and Smith certainly didn’t hurt the team, it’s time to accept that the Tannehill we see now is not the same dude from Miami. Since coming to Tennesee, Ryan Tannehill has been one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and the Titans have been one of the best teams, period. The pairing of him and Mike Vrabel has been something to behold.

If we were handing out awards right now, Tannehill might not win the MVP, but Vrabel deserves coach of the year. Despite the injuries, penalties, and a week one beat down by the Cardinals, the Titans have established themselves as one of the most well-rounded teams in the NFL. They currently sit atop their division with a commanding 8-2 record, and they could run away with the AFC thanks to the easiest remaining schedule in 2021. Their toughest game will be at New England, but otherwise, barring health, they should be favored in the rest of their games.

The Titans have won by shootout, won with great defense, and won with outstanding complementary football. They’ve beaten some of the league’s best quarterbacks, defenses and have done it in a variety of ways. If you ask me, I’m predicting that the Titans finish with a record of 13-4 or better with the no.1 seed in the AFC. Their defense scares me at times, and I’m not sure how much longer they can ask Tannehill to carry their entire offense. But, I trust Mike Vrabel, I trust their culture, and based on how the rest of the AFC has played, why not the Titans?

The X-Factor

Before breaking his foot, Derrick Henry was on pace for over 2,000 yards rushing, again. With how well Tennesee was playing, Henry was an easy MVP candidate. Due to his broken foot, Henry’s out for the remainder of the 2021 regular season. However, there is room for optimism. Henry’s timetable combined with the freak-athlete he is could leave him room to come back for the playoffs.

If Tennessee can add even 75% of Derrick Henry, they can take a lot of pressure off Tannehill’s shoulders. However, if they can give Henry an extra week off due to obtaining the no.1 seed, the Titans might be Super Bowl favorites. Not just in the AFC, but in general.

Hit me up on Twitter @KENDRlCKS, and be sure check out more NFL related articles by the Belly Up Sports team

About Author

Kendrick Lindsay

Growing up in a single-parent household came with its perks and downsides. Perk, I became very close to my mother. The downside, she wasn't a sports watcher. It wasn't until I was 15 years old that I was introduced to the world of sports/sports media. That's when I truly fell in love with it all. And it wasn't the X's and O's that won me over, it was the deep-rooted stories of the business, the athletes, and the ever so changing nature of sports that intrigued me. As a recent college graduate and Communications major, I hope to put my imprint on the sports media world.

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