The AFC South isn’t always the NFL’s best division, but it’s usually pretty competitive.
That’s what makes the Tennessee Titans’ current situation so unique.
If they manage to lose their final two games of the regular season, at Jacksonville on Sunday (noon, CBS) and against Houston on Dec. 29, they will be the first AFC South team since its formation in 2002 to go winless in the division.
Even if they win only one of the remaining contests they will be the first since Houston in 2002 and 2003 to go 1-5 in consecutive seasons. Those, of course, were the first two seasons of play for the Texans, who entered the league as an expansion franchise in 2002.
AFC SOUTH, WORST DIVISION RECORDS
1-5 – Tennessee Titans, 2012
1-5 – Houston Texans, 2007
1-5 – Tennessee Titans, 2004
1-5 – Houston Texans, 2003
1-5 – Houston Texans, 2002
1-5 – Jacksonville Jaguars, 2002
Indianapolis was 2-14 overall in 2011 but both victories were in the division, including one against the Titans. The same was true of Jacksonville in 2012.
Tennessee narrowly avoided the division’s first 0-6 last season when it started with five straight defeats and then beat Jacksonville 38-20 in the final week of the regular season. Thus far this season it is 0-4 with losses by as few as two points (29-27 to Jacksonville) and as many as eight (22-14 at Indianapolis).
It’s no secret that the best way to make the playoffs in the NFL is to win the division. The best way to win the division, of course, is to beat the other teams in that division.
With one win in its last 10 against AFC South opponents, the Titans certainly are headed in the wrong direction in that regard.
“There’s no excuse to not have a division win,” coach Mike Munchak said. “What we can accomplish these next two weeks is get two division wins. … It’s disappointing to have games where we’re right there. Jacksonville last time we lost by two points. [We] lost to Indy twice. We should have three division wins, but we don’t.
“We [have] to finish with two here. It does mean a lot for that reason.”