NASHVILLE – For starters, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.
And, welcome to another edition of the Titans mailbag.
After OTAs, minicamps, training camp, the preseason, and 16 weeks of the regular season, it's come down to this – a win-and-in game vs. the Houston Texans on Sunday.
The Titans need to take care of business.
Let's talk about it…
Lee Hillis from New Albany, Indiana
Question: Hey Jim. Do we stand a chance if we lose to Houston to make the playoffs?
Jim: Hey Lee. I've hit on this several places on the website this week, but it's worth hitting again.
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.
Michael Newsome from Drexel, North Carolina
Question: Hey Jim. I've been a Titans fan since the day they came to Nashville, and my question may date me a little bit. But I really miss an old tradition that we used to do at one time and wonder if it will ever come back. I used to own PSLs and drive 8 hours from NC to Nashville for every game (had to let them go when I got married and bought a house), and my favorite part of the in-stadium experience was on important downs when we turned into the world's largest karaoke bar when Johnny Cash's Folsom Prison Blues would echo throughout the stadium as the entire crowd would sing along. I think it was part of the "Pain Train" theme to get the crowd loud on important defensive snaps, but I'd love to see this brought back as just one of the fun Titans traditions that the crowd really enjoyed back in the day.
Jim: Hey Michael. You'll be happy to hear Folsom Prison Blues still plays at the end of the third quarter/start of the fourth quarter at Nissan Stadium, and it's still a hit. It's also the time when my 82-year-old father, who has had season tickets on the press box side since 1999, turns around and waves to me during the game. It's our signal, so it's an extra special tradition to me.
Matthias Schuster from Dansville, New York
Question: Jim. Another week another roller coaster. When I saw the news that Derrick wasn't playing, I had a flashback to week 17 last year when Marcus had to sit for the finale. I have been critical of this team not living up to potential but i must give credit where credit is due. Vrabel had this team ready to go. No, we didn't win but we played tough football until the last whistle. We have a shot at it next week, if Derrick comes back strong/healthy, Jrob and the business decision to sit him, looks like a genius move. All we can ask for as fans is to be in the hunt week 17. Let's get the job done for the boys! I am still worried about our inability to create touchbacks on our kickoffs. are we trying to pin them deep by not kicking it out of the end zone or is it more a lack of execution on the kickers part? Happy holidays to you and yours!
Jim: Hey Matthias. The decision to sit Derrick was a completely different situation compared to what happened last year with Marcus in Week 17. And the Titans hope it will pay off with a healthier, fresher running back in Houston. And you're right about Sunday - I thought the Titans showed a lot of spunk even in defeat, with one of their best players watching from the sideline. As for the kickoffs, there's no doubt coaches would prefer touchbacks on most occasions. So the kicking needs to improve, along with the kick coverage.
Scott Taylor from Dayton, Ohio
Question: 1st I want to wish you & the TITANS org a very MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR. 2nd how is K. Raymond after that very questionable hit? I don't care what the couch coaches & couch players say it's hard enough to catch a ball running full out but it's even harder when you take a serious hit to the head. had that not happened I believe the TITANS would've caught up with the Saints. I am proud of the way that the TITANS stood toe to toe and blow for blow with 1 of the best teams in the N.F.L not to mention 1 of the best Q.B in the league.
The TITANS have a good chance of getting into the playoffs and once in the playoffs we stand a good chance of advancing. Well Jim, again happy holidays and greatly appreciate all that you do to keep us TITANS fans up to date on all TITANS news. (P.s) I hope you don't get to much hate mail even with the lost we still have a good chance of making the Playoffs.
Jim: Hey Scott. Kalif is in concussion protocol, and he'll be monitored throughout the week. The fact the team brought back receiver/return man Darius Jennings tells me Kalif is very iffy.
Troy Rogers from Hendersonville, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim, Two things. 1-Are the referees just blind? The no-call defenseless player on Raymond is inexcusable for player safety. Total B.S. But on a lighter note I've been watching the Titans Cheerleaders for 20 years now and the squad this year has been a total upgrade from years past. Having the guys out there with more acrobatics was more entertaining than the dancers before and kudos to the talented male dancer out there with the girls. He adds a new element to the show. So GO TITANS Sunday for a win and in at Houston.
Jim: Hey Troy. No doubt they missed that one. It was a hit on a defenseless player, and it should've been flagged. As for the cheerleaders, I'm sure they appreciate your feedback. Thanks for taking the time.
Patrick Champlin from Nashville, Tennessee
Question: Why wasn't that targeting??? Near the end of the game, defenseless receiver, shoulder to the side of the head, knocked him out! Come on man!
Jim: Scott and I are with ya, Patrick, and so is Mike Vrabel and probably the rest of Titan Nation.
Jimmy Dee from Battle Ground, Washington
Question: Hi Jim, The New York Times is only giving the Steelers a 34% chance to make the playoffs and they're giving the Titans a 64% chance to make the playoffs. It's my understanding that the Titans have to beat the Texans in Texas next week or the Titans are out. The Steelers just need the Titan to lose to the Texans and in that case the Steelers are likely in. So it seems to me like the Steelers have the better chance to go to the playoffs. The Times might be factoring in that the Steelers have less chance to beat the Ravens than the Titans have of beating the Texans but are they factoring in that the Texans say they're playing their starters against the Titans while the Ravens will likely sit their starters when they play the Steelers. Do you know what the NYTs odds are based on?
Jim: Hey Jimmy Dee. Not sure how the NYT comes up with their odds. I do know the Titans have a 100 percent chance of making the playoffs if they win, and that's all that matters.
Daniel McFall from Centennial, Colorado
Question: Not a question but would like to recognize how coaches and management are making roster changes as necessary to try and make this team as competitive as possible. I truly believe that the team is on the right path and regardless of how this year turns out, we will see improvement next year. Always a Titan fan no matter where I'm at.
Jim: The roster gets tinkered with all year, and in-season, as you've noticed. And a lot of in-season call-ups have made an impact, most recently OLB Derick Roberson, who had two sacks on Sunday.
Vickie Roberts from Trenton, Kentucky
Question: Merry Christmas Jim! I have a quick question regarding Sunday's game against the Saints. What was the explanation why it was not ruled a safety when Drew Brees was tackled in the end zone? Seeing the play live then on replays on the Jumbotron it clearly looked as if Brees was down in the end zone.
Jim: Hey Vickie. It was close. I actually thought the officials got this one right. It looked like the contact started with Brees when he was just barely out of the end zone, and that's why he was ruled down at the 1/2 -yard line.
Michael McLane from Macomb, Michigan
Question: Hey Jim. I emailed you last year around this time and I look forward to your comments each week. I would have to compare this season to a stair master workout; lots of ups and downs, but at the end your glad you did the workout and with the last week of the season win and we are in. Last year I flew down for the last game against the Colts and unfortunately we know how that turned out. This year I am flying down for the Texans game where my brother lives and is an avid Texans fan. In fact, I will be sitting with all Texans fans, but I will be wearing my Adoree' Jackson jersey and cheering us to victory. I have a good feeling about this game and think I will get the bragging rights this time. I do want to add how impressed I am with our organization. I have been attending several games a year since 2007 and have made some great friends who I see at their tailgate each time I come down. I have lots of good memories from this year, but one that stands out was seeing pictures of our owner visiting each tailgate before the game. That to me is a symbol of how invested this team is. I want to wish happy holidays to the entire organization and our fan base and I am grateful to be a Titans fan. Now let's beat the Texans- TitanUP.
Jim: Hey Michael. Thanks for taking the time, and the well wishes. Here's hoping you have a great time on Sunday. I'm sure there will be a lot of Titans fans at the game. Hopefully there will be another guy there in a No.25 jersey, too.
Merry Christmas everyone!