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NFL Playoff Picture: Why the Tennessee Titans Need a Miracle to Get in

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 24:  Matt Hasselbeck #8 of the Tennessee Titans rolls out against the Jacksonville Jaguars during play at LP Field on December 24, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans won 23-17.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Grant Halverson/Getty Images
Zach KruseSenior Analyst IDecember 30, 2011

Of the seven NFL teams fighting for the three remaining playoff spots, the Tennessee Titans might have the toughest road to sneak back into the postseason. 

In fact, the Titans might need another Music City Miracle to continue playing past Week 17 this season. Frank Wycheck to Kevin Dyson 2.0?

Let's run down the long scenarios in which the Titans crack the 2011 playoffs:

From there, any of the following scenarios give the Titans the final Wild Card spot in the AFC:

Confused yet?

To recap: The Titans not only need to beat the division champion on the road and have the Bengals lose a playoff-clinching game, but they need a ton of help after that to get in. 

The Bengals losing to the Ravens isn't completely inconceivable, especially considering Baltimore is vying for the AFC North championship and a first-round bye. 

You could make the argument that any of the three remaining check marks on the Titans' postseason wish list are reasonable, too. All three games—Jets-Dolphins, Raiders-Chargers and Broncos-Chiefs—are essentially toss ups. 

But in the end, I think getting to the final check mark is going to be the road block for Tennessee. The Texans, who beat the Titans earlier in the season, 41-7, are looking to get back on track after a late-season slide. The Titans will have their hands full, especially considering both Wade Phillips and Andre Johnson will be returning for Houston.

When you run down everything that needs to happen for the Titans to make the postseason, the odds are long. Chances are Tennessee's 2011 season ends on Sunday.

But I seem to remember that the odds were long, and the Titans' season was on the brink 11 years ago when Tennessee fell behind, 16-15, with 16 seconds left. We've certainly seen crazier things happen this time of year in the NFL.   

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