After yet another gut-wrenching loss in Week 13, one can certainly assume that the Tennessee Titans will be staying put or moving down in at least the majority of the NFL power rankings of experts going into Week 14.
When it comes to USA TODAY’s Nate Davis, he has the Titans moving down three spots from No. 19 to No. 22. Here’s what he had to say about Tennessee following the team’s latest loss:
22. Titans (19): If you saw Sunday’s game, their first loss in Nashville this season, little surprise that special teams coordinator Craig Aukerman got sacked Monday.
While Tennessee’s special teams had arguably its worst showing in franchise history on Sunday, the issues were nothing new in the Aukerman era. In fact, firing him was something this team should’ve done years ago.
Nevertheless, the firing of Aukerman won’t save the Titans’ season, although it is a step in the right direction for the future.
Now, our power rankings round-up for Week 14.
Jarrett Bailey, Touchdown Wire: 28 (+1)
How in the name of Dolly Parton do you have two punts blocked in the same game? To add insult to injury, that’s been the most exciting thing the Titans have done all year.
Barry Werner, The List Wire: 24 (-1)
Mike Vrabel said he was going for the score to win the game in OT when caught by CBS cameras. He wound up having to kick a field goal and got kicked by the Colts in the extra session.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: 27 (no change)
Losing for the first time at home pretty much ends any playoff hopes they had. They just didn’t get it done on defense against the Colts and now face a dynamic Miami offense.
NFL Nation, ESPN: 25 (+1)
Pleasant surprise: WR Chris Moore
The Titans desperately needed someone to step up opposite DeAndre Hopkins after second-year wideout Treylon Burks missed six games. Moore signed a modest one-year, $1.3 million deal to join the Titans and has developed into their best deep threat. The eight-year veteran is averaging a career-high 22.5 yards per catch this season. Titans quarterbacks Ryan Tannehill and Will Levis like the way Moore attacks the football. “He’s got great speed and athleticism to use that on the outside,” Tannehill said in August. Moore has also doubled as an occasional gunner on the punt team.
Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: 27 (-2)
The Titans’ reliable and stellar punting game let them down most before Ryan Stonehouse went down in a strong all-arounds effort vs. the Colts. Now they need to readjust for Will Levis with Derrick Henry battling more injury attrition.
Frank Schwab, Yahoo Sports: 27 (no change)
The Titans had to try hard to lose Sunday’s game. They outplayed the Colts. Special teams fiascos were the only reason Indianapolis made it to overtime. In OT, a huge penalty negated a Titans sack and then Tennessee gave up a 55-yard pass to set up the Colts’ game-winning score. Bad teams find ways to lose, and the 2023 Titans are a bad team.
Dalton Miller, Pro Football Network: 27 (no change)
The Titans should have won this game. Their special teams fell apart, and it directly cost them the game. A blocked punt turned into an Indianapolis Colts touchdown, and another blocked punt led to a Ryan Stonehouse injury.
Stonehouse, who is also the field-goal attempt holder, was replaced by Ryan Tannehill. The Titans tied the game at 25 late in the fourth quarter, but Nick Folk missed the PAT with Tannehill holding.
The Titans’ punting unit lost them the game.
Josh Schrock, NBC Sports: 29 (-2)
The Titans lost four key players Sunday against the Colts and missed an extra point that would have given them the lead with 5:25 to play. They lost in overtime. Woof.
Bleacher Report: 25 (no change)
It’s not that often that three special teams miscues are the difference between victory and defeat. But that’s what happened to the reeling Tennessee Titans Sunday.
Against the Colts, the Titans had a pair of punts blocked—one of which resulted in punter Ryan Stonehouse getting hurt. With Stonehouse sidelined, Ryan Tannehill was forced to function as the holder on a missed extra point that could have ended the game in regulation.
While speaking to reporters after another loss, head coach Mike Vrabel sang a familiar refrain—the Titans just need to play better.
“We have to be better,” Vrabel said. “It starts with me, making sure that everything that we do is sound, and there’s a level of execution. And then obviously be able to identify whether we’ve got scheme issues, or we have to move some guys around, or make some minor adjustments. And that’s the case in all three phases.”
Things are even worse for a Titans team that has now dropped six of eight after a 2-2 start. Running back Derrick Henry was evaluated for a concussion after leaving the game in the fourth quarter. And with Henry closing in on his 30th birthday and about to hit free agency, his time with the franchise may be coming to an end.
Eric Edholm, NFL.com: 26 (no change)
Though the Titans are 4-8, Sunday’s loss was pretty momentous, given that it was their first home L of the season, several Tennessee players were hurt during the game and the special teams coordinator lost his job the following day. Injuries to three relatively irreplaceable standouts (DT Jeffery Simmons, RB Derrick Henry and P Ryan Stonehouse) during the game turned a possible win into an overtime defeat. While Henry and Simmons may have avoided serious injury, the Titans’ fate appears sealed; even if they were to rip off five straight wins to close the season, they wouldn’t be guaranteed a playoff spot. Questions now linger about the futures of Henry, Mike Vrabel and others in Tennessee. There’s also still the matter of determining Will Levis’ upside heading into the offseason, which will be crucial for this suddenly reeling franchise.