Titans wait to find out playoff opponent


QB Kerry Collins said he might go hunting this weekend, but likely will end up watching the AFC playoff games.
Titans players practiced Wednesday and Thursday at Baptist Sports Park. They'll go one more time on Friday before finding out who their opponent will be after the AFC Wild Card games this weekend.

Indianapolis (12-4) plays at San Diego (8-8) Saturday night (7 p.m.) on NBC, while Baltimore (11-5) travels to Miami to play the Dolphins (11-5) Sunday at noon on CBS. A Baltimore victory would send the Ravens to Nashville. Otherwise Tennessee would play the winner of the Colts/Chargers game.

As for their preferred opponent, Titans players won't say.

"I haven't decided. I may be sitting in a tree stand all day Saturday, so I may not be able to see any of the games," quarterback Kerry Collins said. "Obviously, we look at a game so much differently. We prepare for the games so much differently, but I have a feeling I'll probably be watching."

Collins said the team has enjoyed a good week of practice with the chance to work on things they normally wouldn't have time for.

"Because you don't know who you're playing, it gives you an opportunity to work on things that you want to work on going forward and to get better at the things you've been doing," he said. "I think everybody is trying to take advantage of that. Guys have understood the importance of having good practices this week."

Next week's game will mark the Titans' first home playoff game since the 2002 season when they defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in an AFC Divisional Playoff Game in Nashville.

The Titans locked up the AFC South in Week 14 with a victory over the Cleveland Browns, capturing their first division title since 2002 and the ninth in the 49-year history of the club. They gained the AFC's top seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a Week 16 victory over Pittsburgh.

Now they face the prospect of winning just two more games to make it to Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa, Fla.

"It's exciting that we're in the position we're in. We've worked hard to get here and it's important for all of us to take advantage of it, knowing that these opportunities don't come along every year," said Collins, who can become the first quarterback in NFL history with at least one postseason win with three different teams. "I've been in this situation before (Panthers and Giants) and obviously, the finality of it is very real. The speed gets ramped up a little bit and you have to be ready for your opponent's best shot."

It's an opportunity Titans players don't want to slip away.

Veteran linebacker Keith Bulluck, who witnessed the top-seeded Titans fall to Baltimore in an AFC Divisional Playoff Game at home in 2000, said everyone needs to approach this opportunity like it's their last.

"It could be, so that's why in all reality you have to approach it that way," he said. "Dan Marino went to the Super Bowl as a rookie and never got back, never even sniffed it again."

But Bulluck said this year's team is deeper and more mature than last year's squad that lost 17-6 in a Wild Card Game at San Diego.

"We have players in key positions contributing a little bit more. I think we have a lot of depth and overall we have a better team," Bulluck said. "By getting to that Wild Card game last year and just missing out the year before, guys who have been here know how hard it is to get there and how quickly it can be over. That's in the back of everybody's minds, but at the same time, we have a good core of veteran guys that have played in some pretty big football games in this league that should be able to keep everybody together."

Veteran safety Chris Hope is one of those players, having captured Super Bowl XL with the Pittsburgh Steelers three years ago.

"You have to realize that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. You have guys like Kevin Mawae, Junior Seau and other great football players that have never had the chance to win a Super Bowl or even play in it," Hope said. "Some teams never even make the playoffs, so you have to look at it from that perspective and go out every day and play like it's your last time playing, taking nothing for granted."

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