The Tennessee Titans enter Week 17 at 8-7, and while it is extremely unlikely that they will reach the postseason, there is still an outside shot that they make it.
The Titans have stumbled down the stretch, and while they won last week over the Jacksonville Jaguars to keep their postseason hopes alive, that win followed back-to-back losses.
To have any shot at the postseason, the Titans first have to win today over the Houston Texans. Then they will have to get a ton of help. There are three scenarios under which the Titans could reach the playoffs as a wild-card team. For each of them, we'll just go ahead and assume they beat the Texans for the sake of the discussion.
The Cincinnati Bengals (9-6) must lose to the Baltimore Ravens. Then the New York Jets (8-7) must beat the Miami Dolphins. On top of that, the Oakland Raiders (8-7) must either lose to or tie the San Diego Chargers. That would create a three-way tie between the Bengals, Titans and Jets at 9-7, and Tennessee would have the tie-breaker.
If the Jets don't win, the Bengals would own the tie-breaker over the Titans.
In this situation, the Bengals would lose, the Jets would win and the Denver Broncos (8-7) would have to lose to or tie the Kansas City Chiefs. That would, again, lead to a three-way tie for the final wild-card spot between the Bengals, Jets and Titans in which Tennessee would hold the tie-breaker.
The Bengals again must lose to the Ravens, but if the Jets lose to or tie the Dolphins, the Titans can still get in. In this case, the Raiders and Broncos would both have to win their games. That would again create a three-way tie for the final wild-card spot, this time between the Titans, Bengals and Raiders, and Tennessee would win the tie-breaker.
Got all of that? Good. Luckily, there won't be a test on the subject, but feel free to refer back to this throughout the day as the games go along.
It is a long-shot for the Titans, but there still is a faint glimmer of hope.