NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans returned from the bye week on Monday, and coach Mike Mularkey pointed something out to his football team.
Eight weeks into the season, the Titans are tied atop the AFC South with the Jaguars – both teams are 4-3. The Texans (3-4) and Colts (2-6) are behind them.
With nine games remaining, the Titans control their own destiny. What's ahead – starting with Sunday's game vs the Ravens at Nissan Stadium – is all that matters.
"I just tell them that where we are at this point of the season, really (we) can't worry about what's happening elsewhere," Mularkey said. "No game (Sunday) affected where we are today and no game next week will affect where we are tomorrow or next week.
"It's what we do, it's all in our hands. It has nothing to do with anybody else. We've got to take care of our own selves and not rely on other people. That's important that they understand that, where we're at right now halfway through."
The Titans will need to make improvements, of course.
For starters, the Titans are going to have to make strides in the red zone, where the team is 31st in the NFL. The Titans have scored a TD just 41.2% of the time. The Titans also need to step it up on 3rd down, an area they're currently 27th in the NFL.
Getting receiver Corey Davis back, and a healthier Marcus Mariota, should help.
"Personally, I don't think we've scratched the surface," receiver Rishard Matthews said.
Mularkey said the Titans coaches did an "in-depth study" during the bye week on areas to improve on both sides of the ball.
"Really all three phases," Mularkey said, "(and we) found some things out, some we kind of had an idea, some we didn't. I think it'll help us in the second half."
"Obviously, we've got to get better down (in the red zone), there's no question about it. We saw some things down there that we need to get better at."
Defensively, the Titans have talked about wanting more sacks – the team has 11 so far this season, despite an increase in pressures from a year ago.
But tackling is also a big point of emphasis.
"What do we need to do?," linebacker Brian Orakpo said. "I think (defensive coordinator Dick) LeBeau said it: Tackle better. We have been doing a good job, but I think we can get better. We've had a lot of yards after contact I think we can clean up, finish up our plays on the quarterback, and finish up our sacks. … We just have to keep rolling and be more consistent week in and week out."
With nine games remaining, the Titans feel like they're in a good spot.
Now, it's time to generate momentum.
"I think they know where we are," Mularkey said. "I think they understand what we have to do. It's in our control what we do. Would we like to have a better record at this point? It is what it is. I think we've got a good group in that locker room that understand where we're at and we're going to try and keep it where we're at."
TitansOnline.com looks back at the all-time series against the Baltimore Ravens. (Photos, Donn Jones, AP)