NASHVILLE – So, it's come to this – one win, and it's on to the Super Bowl for the Tennessee Titans.
It's almost hard to believe, huh?
But first, the Titans have to take care of business on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.
There's lots to discuss in this weekend's mailbag, so let's get this thing off the ground…
Tom Mackie from Gloucester, England
Question: I suppose I just wanted to make a point of highlighting the play of DaQuan Jones, who has quietly put together a really dominant season without much fanfare. I was wondering which player you would single out that your colleagues in the media still don't seem to notice?
Jim: Hey Tom. You picked a great one in DaQuan Jones. He does a lot of dirty work, and he does it well. I'll go with center Ben Jones. He's been an anchor inside and I think he deserves more credit than he gets.
Paul Franchina from Tooele, Utah
Question: Hey Jim. I have injury questions about Adam Humphries and Jayon Brown. Last week Brown was saying he was hoping to play I hope he can even though David Long and Wesley Woodyard have been good. Think he will? Is there any news on Adam Humphries since he has been out for about 2 months now? Thank you again for all your hard and wonderful work.
Jim: Hey Paul. It's looking pretty good on the injury front. Humphries and Brown both practiced all week, and while they're both listed as questionable, they were both in a good mood on Friday...
Brian Looper from Palm Harbor, Florida
Question: I have never written you before, but I love to read the mailbag! I have a conundrum, and I need your advice. I am a graphic designer at a sign shop in my area. I just had a customer place an order for a banner. Not an unusual request, but this banner is for a CHIEFS fan. He wants it to read: "Loud and Proud - Kansas City Chiefs". I want to say absolutely NO WAY... but my boss does not agree. What do I do? I can't afford to lose my job, but come on! Ok Jim, I've taken up enough of your time. Take care and can't wait to have the boys down here in Florida, it's a short drive to Miami!
Jim: Hey Brian. Oh man, you are in a tough spot. Not sure how you can say no, especially if your boss says you need to do it. As someone who knows typos are inevitable, how about you making a typo on the sign? Let it read: "Loud and Proud – Kansas City Chefs." Might make some chefs in K.C. happy at least 🤷♂️ …
Collin Bentley from Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Question: Howdy Jim, feels great to be this late into the season and we're still playing football doesn't it? I could get used to this... I got a couple questions for you: Last week against the Ravens, it seemed like Cruikshank got more playing time than usual, and I was wondering if you could answer what it is that he brought to the table against the Ravens offense and if we should we expect the same thing in Arrowhead this week? What do you think of Jayon's status/chances of playing? I hope he's healthy by Sunday, we could really use him against their passing attack and Kelce specifically. As far as coaching goes, does Vrabel do any individual work or extra work with the linebacker unit? With the way they've played and developed under him, somebody's doing something right, and I was wondering who to credit. Special shoutout to DaQuan Jones for how he's been playing! Thanks for taking the time and TitanUp! Lets take care of business in Kansas City, I get the feeling the players didn't come this far to only come this far, let's take a team trip to Miami shall we?
Jim: Hey Collin. You're right on Cruikshank. His snaps bumped up to 26, one fewer than Amani Hooker's 27. Part of the defensive game plan involved having more DBs on the field, and I thought he played well. I thought the entire secondary was exceptional, and they'll need to play well again on Sunday against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. As for Jayon, he practiced all week and the team hopes he'll be able to play. And your question about Vrabel – he bounces around to a lot of position groups, but definitely spends extra time with the LBs.
Arturo Rendòn Escudero from Poza Rica, Veracruz México
Question: ¿Por qué? Insisten muchos comentaristas tanto de USA y de MÉXICO, que Tannehill no es un buen QB por no tener números altos al igual que récords como lo han hecho otros QBs, siendo que no a sido necesario pasar el balón solo cuando se a requerido y cuando lo a hecho a sido de manera perfecta y no le dan el crédito que debe de ser ademas que tampoco mencionan que Titanes le a ganado a Kansas City de manera apretada pero dominante en la semana 10 y en los playoffs del 2017, vamos titanes y saludos!
Jim: Hola arturo Creo que la mayoría de los comentaristas entienden que el plan de juego de los Titanes ha sido correr el balón con Derrick Henry. Pero Tannehill ha hecho jugadas: lanzó dos pases de touchdown contra los Ravens y también corrió por uno. Estoy seguro de que muchas personas que acaban de ver a los Titans en los playoffs piensan que Tannehill ha sido solo un gerente de juego esta temporada, pero aquellos que han visto a los Titans esta temporada saben que ha jugado un papel importante en muchos juegos de lanzamiento. El fútbol. Y creo que necesitará lanzarlo más el domingo en Kansas City.
Scooter Kelly from Ocala, Florida
Question: Hello Jim. My question regards Jonnu Smith's catch. What an incredible catch, just like AJ Brown's catch. Whose catch would you say was better? Thanks for the time.
Jim: Hey Scooter. Tough to go against the Jonnu catch. Did you see this from Next Gen Stats: Jonnu's touchdown catch vs the Ravens had a completion probability of just 24%, the 3rd most improbable catch in the Divisional Round and the most improbable TD for the Titans over the past 3 seasons. Smith had just 0.8 yards of separation from the DB. Pretty impressive, huh?
Derek Large from Padiham, England
Question: Became a Titans fan after my first NFL game in 2008. It was a Monday night game against the Colts (Peyton Manning et al) That night we had CJ2K, now we have the beast Derrick Henry. Wow what a player! In fact ALL the team and coaches deserve special praise for the way we are playing and beating excellent football teams. I actually thought we could win the Superbowl in the next 2 years, but now I know we can do it this year. Titan up to all fans and thanks for all your good work Jim.
Jim: Glad to have you on board Derek. I'll tell the Derrick Large (Henry) in the building you're rooting him on.
Todd Williams from Franklin, Tennessee
Question: Hi Jim! PSL Founder here who has missed only one home game ever. You may not want to give away your source, but I am curious how you know a few days in advance what color jersey and britches the Titans will wear. I've never seen any kind of website that has this information, at least for the Titans. Titan Up!!!
Jim: Hey Todd. Wish I could tell you, but snitches on britches get stitches…
Christopher Harris from College Station, Texas
Question: I've never been to Nashville for a home game, but it is definitely on my to do list after graduation!! Can you offer some color commentary of the feel in Nashville and fan support during this exciting time?
Jim: Hey Christopher. The city has been on fire. I've been on the road with the team, but I've seen the videos from watch parties and from fans tweeting out their game day experiences. I know the bars across the city have been packed with fans watching the games. #TakeEverything Billboards are up around town. A watch party has been scheduled for Lower Broadway for this Sunday. On the heels of the NFL Draft in Nashville, it's been a lot of fun to see it in my hometown.
Raymond Coons from Saugerties, New York
Question: Good day Jim, writing in again (3rd time) wanted to read Tuesday's mailbag before writing in again. I guess I was right last week about the Baltimore game. I knew on the first interception by Kevin Byard that the game was going to go our way. Missed throws by Lamar Jackson and capitalizing on them early just what I envisioned. We jumped out early. I knew that unlucky Thirteen in a row was a very hard task for the Ravens to achieve. Hats off to this Titans Team. They came in fearless with a great game plan and executed it perfectly in a very hostile environment. If you were to ask me week 7 after implanting Ryan as our starting QB would this team be in the mix at the end of the season? My answer in short would have been no. Hats off to this team they are a very special unit, well coached, unfazed, built of tough nature, and definitely heavyweight fighters. King Henry is a beast (as everyone should know by now) but the best part of this team and the run they are on is that the young players are stepping up and getting valuable experience. No Delanie, no Butler, no Jayon Brown, no Cam Wake, and no Adam Humphries. This is a testament as to how the next man up mentality is supposed to work. I believe this is a product of J Rob and Mike Vrabel's background and a new philosophy of the so-called PATRIOT WAY. Everyone on the team is playing for each other not for themselves. I hear the terms family, brotherhood, and tight knit group being used by the players and coaches. This team is going from good to great right before our eyes. They are a fearless bunch. They just keep their heads down and keep going to work. No matter what happens this week this team is well on its way . I see and feel nothing but pure optimism about the future. I am very proud to be a Titans Fan as always, even when things were not so good. Lets go Shock the world TITAN UP!!!!!! Lets go TITANS!
Jim: Thanks for weighing in Raymond.
Joe Garcia from Queretaro, Mexico
Question: Hey Jim, what a game vs the Ravens! It all seemed like a dream come true as we won in spectacular fashion. Being a Titans fan in Mexico isn't that common, but my family and girlfriend have always been with me supporting this great team. Saturday was the same as we attended the cinema to watch our team play against all odds and against the popular opinion, and Oh Boy! What a game!
I truly believe this is one of the best games I've seen from this team. The execution was perfect on all three faces, discipline was sound and we didn't made any mistake. PERFECT GAME! I just want to express my emotion after an exciting thrilling game that showed everybody out there that we can take on anybody if we execute like with this on Saturday night. I'm excited for what's ahead for this team and I really think Ravens was the hardest team in the way to the Super Bowl. I'm not saying that KC is a piece of cake, but my opinion is the Chiefs are more of a one-dimensional team, who committed huge mistakes at the begging of their game yesterday and that isn't as good as stopping the run as the Ravens were the whole season. Let's not be afraid of the points Mahomes and Kelce put on the board, the Texans crumbled mentally and I believe our team is the toughest in that sense. Do you agree with this perspective? TITAN UP!
Jim: Hey Joe. Appreciate the enthusiasm. But nothing about this game on Sunday is going to be easy. I think it's the biggest challenge yet.
Jimmy Dee from Battle Ground, Washington
Question: Hi Jim. Mahomes is going to be a handful. To win the game against the Chiefs the Titans front-7 has to beat the Chief's OL to put pressure on Mr. Mahomes. The Titans DL has to sack him a lot. I was looking over the draft pedigree of the starting Chiefs OL and they have a 1st rounder, a 2nd rounder, a 6th rounder, a 7th rounder, and an undrafted free agent. The Chiefs have multiple weak links in their OL that the Titans defense can exploit. How do the Titans fare in cold weather? It looks like it's going to be cold and maybe snowy in Kansas. How well can Mahomes throw in cold weather?
Jim: Hey Jimmy Dee. Patrick Mahomes is a handful for everyone. He was impressive back in Week 10, too, when the Titans beat the Chiefs 35-32. It is supposed to be cold on Sunday – a high around 22 degrees it looks like. But it could be a lot worse. It was 1 degree at kickoff at Arrowhead Stadium, with a wind chill of minus-19, back with the Titans played at Kansas City in 2016. It was the coldest game in Kansas City since the franchise began keeping records in 1994. So, this should be a piece of cake. Heck, I might wear a tank.
Mitul Vashi from Naperville, Illinois
Question: Thank you for your insight with days leading to the game day for all the out of state fans like us. I am huge Titans fan from the year 1999 when I moved to Dyersburg, TN from India and now settle in Chicago area.
Your daily updates and Mailbag provide the connection as Titans fan living out of state of Tennessee. I cannot be more excited to go this weekend for AFC championship game and being my first Titans game and going to check off my bucket list to see Titans in AFC Championship and then win Super Bowl. Any suggestion if I can find Titans gear during AFC game in stadium else will try my luck at TitansLocker Room for 2-day shipping. Who do you think would be most important player beside King Henry for Titans to win? Titans-up!!
Jim: Hey Mitul. Glad you enjoy it, and thanks for reading. Best bet is the Titans Locker Room store for gear. As for most important player besides Henry, I'll go with Ryan Tannehill. I suspect the Titans are going to need to throw it around a little more on Sunday compared to the previous two weeks.
Mortimer Sneed from Chattanooga, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim, sure is a fun time to be a Titan.
After the Titans upset the world champion Patriots at their Foxboro home, in the week leading up to Titans-Ravens, all the commentators could talk about was the Cowboys and their new coach, and what might happen to poor Tom Brady. I guess Jerry Jones is going to have to fire or hire someone new because suddenly the Titans are the "it" team that everyone "really" suspected they were all along. Really? Where are all the "fans" now who wanted a "complete housecleaning" who said Vrabel was incompetent and we never should have replaced Mariota? Derrick Henry has been great, no doubt. But it is our offensive line's performance in the last several games that has made his greatness possible. Taylor Lewan has roadgraded opponents and had exactly one penalty for one false start in the last several games. Jack Conklin has handled business. Rodger Saffold has looked like the dominant guard we paid for when we traded for him from the Rams. Nate Davis could start for any team. Ben Jones has been the reliable anchor we need. C'mon guys, lay 'em out two more games! The defensive line has stepped up too. What a find Roberson has been! Where did he come from? I cannot forget that we drafted Adoree Jackson when we could have had TraDavious White. The last couple of games he has made that look like a great decision. Way to go Titans! Way to go, entire organization! How sweet to take one from Baltimore, our old nemesis, and on their home field! As all the bachelorette party girls on the pedaling streetcar bars in Nashville say, "WooHoo!"
Jim: Or, as Tajae Sharpe would say, "Woot! Woot!'
Wes Rubsion from Moberly, Missouri
Question: Hey Jim. Love your mailbag! I live in Missouri right between KC and St. Louis. Boy has it been hard over the years dealing with local fans here! Have been a diehard Titans fan since the Houston move when I was a kid, watching them lose the super bowl after a magical season to the Rams was tough. The last few years have been the same with all the local KC fans! I even had a vendor come into work yesterday decked in KC gear over top his suit and tie just because he heard I was a Titans fan ahead of our meeting! I would love nothing more than this Titans team to march in to KC and shut the locals up! This season feels so much like the Super bowl season from before. The Patriots called this their revenge tour but this is truly one for us! Beating the Pats, and Ravens in the same playoffs just doesn't feel real! Sorry for the long rant but here is my question: 2 days ago Hitchens mentioned going low on Henry. Is this something that puts official's on notice to make sure they aren't dirty hits? I remember the Baltimore game like it was yesterday when they hurt CJ2K on purpose in that game. Maybe its just history that brings up that concern but it feels like a legit issue heading into this game? It just feels like KC will have no answer for Henry and they know it!
Jim: Hey Wes. Hang in there. You've had the upper hand in this series, with the Titans winning four straight games over the Chiefs, including the playoff win in 2017 and the win back in Week 10 of this year. I'm sure they're ready to let you have it. Here's hoping you can keep bragging rights. I will say there seems to be a magical feel to this season. As for the Chiefs hitting Derrick Henry low, there's nothing illegal with that for tacklers, but it's easier said than done, of course. What happened with C.J. vs the Ravens was different – they twisted his ankle under the pile. I didn't get the sense from the comments out of Kansas City that they were looking to take any cheap shots, just that they knew they needed to tackle him low. It's a plan that hasn't worked so well for other defenses…
Todd Zurenda from Herndon, Virginia
Question: Thank you Jim for keeping us out of state Titan fans informed. I am a long-time reader, first time writer. I moved to Millington ,TN in 1998 and quickly became a lifelong Titan fan watching Eddie George and Steve McNair. Those games against the Ravens when they were in our division were some slugfests. I have since moved to Virginia and started a family, raising my daughters to be Titan Fans. This past Saturday I made the drive to Baltimore to take my eight-year-old daughter Lily to her very first game and boy I am glad I did [except for the curse words she learned from the Raven fans :). Thank you, Titans, for giving my daughter and me a memory we will cherish for the rest of our lives. I am very proud of this entire organization. From having an owner in Amy that my daughter can look up to as a role model, a coaching staff that can make the tough decisions and the group of men on the front line that all believe in each other. We are not done yet Titan Nation. Lets Titan Up and 'Take Everything'!
Jim: Great story Todd. Thanks for sharing.
Vince Lopes from Tuscon, Arizona
Question: Hey Jim. Been a fan about as long as I've been a Titans fan which goes back to your newspaper days. I've been following this team through mainly thick and some thin. Going to Super Bowl XXXIV is an incredible feat and still has not been topped. But we know how that ended and that's the past. This is the now and this is fresh. I've never been more excited as a Titans fan than I am now. These playoffs have been nothing but amazing! Pretty historic so far and it makes it even better being a true fan. And as fan, who has been harder on this team than I have any right to be, I'm more of believer than ever. If a Titans team is going to win a Super Bowl, why not this one? Kansas City is saying the same thing after putting up fireworks. These playoffs just keep getting better and better.
Jim: I'm with ya, Vince. More work to do, though!
Michael Bailey from Kernersville, North Carolina
Question: Not really a question, but as the NFL likes to continuously gives us cycles of history, I'd like to see us continue this trend that we've already started.
1. Titans vs Ravens playoff history (they've knocked us out of the 1 seed twice, we just knocked them out of the same position...also, the road team has now won EVERY time, I believe).
2. The last 6th seed to win the Super Bowl has to go through the defending Super Bowl winner (Steelers) to get there (we took out the Patriots this year).
3. When the draft was in Philadelphia, they ended up replacing their quarterback with their back up and won the Super Bowl that year.....Draft was in Nashville this year...Tannehill (Back up) replaced Mariota...one game away...
I'm so Ready! TITAN UP!!!!!!!!!!
Jim: Oh man, good stuff Michael.
Have a great AFC Championship Game weekend everyone!