The Tennesee Titans are currently the #1 seed in the AFC and are in firm control of their playoff fate. With just one game remaining against the Houston Texans, the mathematics for Tennesee is quite simple. If Tennesee wins on Sunday, they’ll hold the top seed and receive a first-round bye. A feat that no one could’ve possibly seen happening due to Tennesse’s injury luck. But thanks to Titans head coach Mike Vrabel, the team held it together, played complementary football, and have established themselves as contenders.

There’s a lot of candidates deserving of NFL Coach of the Year. From Matt LaFleur to Bill Belichick, to Kliff Kingsbury or Sean McVay, there are plenty of names in the hat. Even coaches like Brian Flores and Nick Sirianni have their own arguments for the award. But Mike Vrabel’s 2021 resume is a cut above the rest. The Titans won’t win the most games in the regular season, but taking into account everything this team has had to overcome, there’s no one else more deserving than Mike Vrabel.

Mike Vrabel’s 2021-2022 Resume

Not only have the Titans suffered the most injuries in the league, but they lost the heart and soul of their team, Derrick Henry. Since their week eight victory over the Indianapolis Colts, the Titans have been without the services of the 2020 rushing leader due to a broken ankle. In their games without Derrick Henry, however, the Titans are 5-3, and Mike Vrabel deserves a lot of that credit. The Titans running game is still formidable, their defense is ranked in the top 10, and even in their ugly games, they still usually come out on top.

Mike Vrabel’s Tennesee Titans have beaten some of the league’s best this season. Tennesee swept the Colts, beat the Chiefs, Rams, Saints, Bills, and the hot 49ers and Dolphins. They’ve won by shoot-out and with suffocating defense. Keep in mind, they’ve done this while having a total of 52 players on their injury report throughout the season. The Baltimore Ravens are the second closest with 45, and their record is 8-8 as compared to Tennesee’s 11-5.

The Titans don’t play the flashiest of football, but they’re damn sure effective. Their offense, defense, and special teams are all among the best-coached units in football. With that being said, the last time they faced the Texans, Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill had his worst game this season, throwing four interceptions in the loss. A performance that Mike Vrabel surely hopes does not repeat itself this Sunday. If the Titans take care of business against their division rival, they’ll be the #1 seed at 12-5, have a first-round bye, and Derrick Henry will receive an extra week of rest and preparation.

The Titans X-Factor

On Wednesday morning, the Titans announced via Twitter that Derrick Henry was designated to return from IR.

When Derrick Henry broke his ankle, most assumed he was out for the season. But, thanks to his rehab and the wonders of modern-day medicine, Derrick Henry is already back on the practice field. Prior to his injury, Derrick Henry was, once again, running away with the rushing record. Even having played in 8-16 games, Derrick Henry is eighth in rushing yards with one game to go. Letting you know just how dominant he truly is compared to the rest of the competition.

If the Titans can seal the deal against the Houston Texans, it’ll go a long way in helping their chances at making the Super Bowl. Derrick Henry will get another week off to prepare, condition, and get his ankle even healthier. Even if he isn’t at 100%, his presence alone impacts what defenses do, freeing up the Titan’s passing game. Tennesee’s backup running backs aren’t scrubs either. Assuming Henry is on some form of a snap count, D’Onta Foreman is more than capable of being a quality #2 back.

For the Titans to maximize their Super Bowl chances, they must beat Houston, and get Derrick Henry back. And in doing so, Mike Vrabel will surely walk away with his first NFL Coach of the Year award.

Follow me on Twitter @KENDRlCKS and 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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