NASHVILLE – Titans coach Mike Vrabel held a press conference on Monday at Saint Thomas Sports Park, one day after the team's 38-28 loss to the New Orleans Saints.
The Titans return to action on Sunday when they face the Texans in Houston.
Here's a look at some of the hot topics from today's presser …
Win and In
A Titans win on Sunday against the Texans would clinch a Wild Card spot in the playoffs.
"The focus and the mentality is that now, we are playing playoff games," Vrabel said. "When you win in the playoffs you (play) another game, and you lose, and your season is over. So that is the mindset that we have to take and the approach we have to take."
Here's a look at all the playoff scenarios for the Titans heading into Sunday's game at Houston, per the NFL and Elias.
Tennessee is in with:
1) A win over the Houston Texans.
2) A Tennessee tie plus a Pittsburgh loss or tie.
3) A Pittsburgh loss plus an Indianapolis loss or tie.
The Texans … Again
The Titans and Texans just played one another on December 15 – the Texans won that game, 24-21.
Now, they'll meet again for the second meeting in 14 days.
What kind of a challenge does it present from a preparation standpoint?
"They are going to do what they have done," Vrabel said of the Texans. "I think that is where we are at at this point in the season is everybody is going to have some things off their base stuff but at this point in the season you try and find the things you do well and continue to do them, and you add a little bit of wrinkles and make sure you are technically sound, you are fundamentally sound and that you find a way to continue to play with great effort and finish while not being at 100 percent, which is what most teams in the NFL are right now."
Vrabel said the Titans are preparing to face the Texans no matter who plays quarterback, or any position on Sunday.
During a conference call later on Monday, Texans coach Bill O'Brien said his team will be "playing to win" against the Titans despite having the AFC South, and a playoff spot, locked up.
Speaking of injuries, Vrabel said receivers Corey Davis and Kalif Raymond are in the concussion protocol as a result of injuries from Sunday.
"We take that seriously," Vrabel said, "and whatever the doctors say is what they'll do. They'll work their way through it, and we'll try and keep you updated the best that we can."
Asked about the hit that sidelined Raymond late in the game, Vrabel reiterated: "I saw a defenseless receiver get hit in the head or neck area. It's what I saw the first time and the third time and the fifth time."
Vrabel said the team hopes to get linebacker Daren Bates (shoulder) back this week.
Vrabel was not asked about the status of running back Derrick Henry, cornerback Adoree' Jackson, receiver Adam Humphries and defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons, who were all inactive on Sunday because of injuries.
The Titans have struggled on kickoff coverage this season – the team is ranked 21st in the NFL.
On Sunday, Saints return man Deonte Harris average 37.5 yards on four returns, including a 47-yard return. While new Titans kicker Greg Joseph struggled to produce touchbacks, the coverage teams failed to keep the Saints pinned back.
"We have to cover kickoffs better," Vrabel said. "You are talking to a guy from 1997 until about 2005 or '06 covered kickoffs. So, wherever the ball is kicked, we have to cover it better."
The Titans will practice on Christmas Eve, and then again on Thursday and Friday of this week leading up to Sunday's game.
Christmas won't be a holiday for coaches, who will be at Saint Thomas Sports Park preparing for the Texans during the day.
The Titans travel to Houston on Saturday.
"The NFL is like crime, it knows know holidays," Vrabel said. "You have to be able to work through a schedule and understand the time with family is critical and important, but also our job and what we have to do is equally important. So we are going to try and structure a schedule that allows us to get work in and prepare and also allows (players) to be with their families."
The Tennessee Titans take on the New Orleans Saints in Week 16 of the 2019 season at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donald Page)