Snap Judgments: Titans face stiff test; Cottrell's firing isn't shocking
Now that the Titans have beaten all three of their divisional opponents at home, opening a commanding four-game lead in the AFC South, it's only natural to start wondering how far 7-0 Tennessee can extend its undefeated season.
A check of the schedule shows Tennessee has just four of its remaining nine games against winning teams, but one of its toughest challenges will come this week, when Green Bay (4-3) visits LP Field in Nashville. In a quirk of scheduling, both the Packers and the Titans are coming off impressive home wins over the Colts: Green Bay beat Indy 34-14 in Week 7, then enjoyed a bye last weekend. The Titans beat the Colts 31-21 Monday night, pushing their league-best regular-season winning streak to 10 games -- tying the second-best streak in franchise history.
The Packers are 2-1 on the road this season and they might be catching the Titans coming off the emotional high of having beaten their top divisional rival at home. Tennessee has been a model of consistency this season, but the Packers pose a threat for a number of reasons:
And coming off the bye, Rodgers is approaching healthy once again after suffering a dislocated throwing shoulder in a Week 4 loss at Tampa Bay. He had his best day of practice since the injury on Thursday, and his dissection of the Colts two weeks ago (21 completions to eight receivers) increased the growing feeling around the league that he brings a steady, surprisingly veteran element to the Packers passing game. Rodgers leads the NFL in third-down passing with a 120.3 rating, and nine of his 12 scoring throws have come on third down.
"I'm impressed with Rodgers, I really am,'' said ex-Baltimore head coach
As well as the Titans run the ball, you have to think that sooner or later their lack of a true No. 1 receiving option will cost them in a game. They likely won't have a wide receiver with more than 60 receptions for the fourth year in a row. Starters
Having nearly ended their division race after just eight weeks, the Titans face a new challenge: Playing the role of the hunted rather than the hunter. How will they cope with the second-half spotlight that inevitable falls on the NFL's last remaining undefeated team, with exponentially more attention and expectation coming their way with every victory? We're about to find out, because dead ahead is their toughest three-game stretch of the season: Green Bay, at Chicago, and at Jacksonville.
"The Colts are not the team to beat any more,'' Titans veteran linebacker
Bulluck is right about that. It's the unblemished Titans who now wear the bull's-eye. And starting with Green Bay this week, the rest of the NFL will begin taking aim.
• When the 49ers start their Week 10 game at Arizona with
Kansas City and Seattle are the only teams to have three starting quarterback thus far, and it's no coincidence that the Chiefs and Seahawks are a combined 3-11 in 2008. In a few cases, playing a second quarterback has worked out just fine: Tennessee is 6-0 with Collins starting, New England is 4-2 with
• I know this is crazy, but the 2-5 Rams could still win the NFC West. Since
Makes you think that NFL teams might start firing more coaches early in the season, in order to give their team as much time as possible to climb back into their division race.
I loved Singletary calling out underachieving 49ers tight end
• Sorry, but I don't find the Chargers' dismissal of defensive coordinator
• They lost at home to the Browns last week, but don't count the 3-4 Jaguars out of the AFC wild-card race just yet, even though there are seven teams with better records than Jacksonville.
If the Jaguars take care of the Bengals and Lions, they'll be 5-4 and staring at consecutive home games against Tennessee and Minnesota. Jacksonville always plays the Titans tough -- it lost 17-10 in Nashville in Week 1 -- and the Vikings are just 1-3 on the road this season.
And here's another coaching name who someday may take a similar route to the front office and a more personnel-related role: Denver's
• Here's hoping both Tennessee and Detroit continue heading in their distinctly opposite directions, because if they do, there could be an 11-0 versus 0-11 showdown looming at Ford Field on Thanksgiving Day. Both the Titans and Lions need four more -- wins in Tennessee's case, losses in Detroit's -- to make it a reality.
We got so close to an even more dramatic clash of the undefeated and the winless last year when New England and Miami looked like they were destined to meet at 14-0 and 0-14 in Week 16 in Foxboro. But the Dolphins ruined things by winning at home in overtime against Baltimore the week before.