Titans Already out of AFC South Race with Loss to Texans

Tyler Piccotti@@SYRTylerPContributor IIIOctober 1, 2012

HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: Running back Javon Ringer #21 of the Tennessee Titans is wrapped up by Danieal Manning #38 of the Houston Texans and Alan Ball #22 of the Texans at Reliant Arena at Reliant Park on September 30, 2012 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Titans have been nothing short of a disaster this season. Until yesterday's game against the Texans, Chris Johnson had rushed for fewer than fifty yards. The breakout season he was slated for has been an absolute bust. The offense as a whole had been inconsistent and unable to score touchdowns with regularity. Jake Locker showed signs of improvement against the Lions, but much of his success in that game was the result of good luck.

If the offense has been inconsistent, then the defense has been atrocious and gave up one hundred and thirteen points in three games. Tom Brady and Philip Rivers picked the secondary apart in their respective matchups. The Lions were able to erase a fourteen-point lead in less than two minutes. Basically, nothing positive could be said about the Titans on that side of the football.

Still, the Titans managed to win a game and entered their matchup with the Texans within only two games of the AFC South lead. After losing 38-14, however, it is time to declare them out of the AFC South race.

There are a few reasons why I believe the Titans are relegated to the wild-card battle. The first reason is Jake Locker's injured shoulder. After leaving during the first quarter, Locker did not return. There is speculation that the injury is quite serious. If this is the case, then his absence will be a crippling blow to this team. Matt Hasselbeck is not who he was years ago. In fact, he is not even the same guy from last season. There's a reason Locker was declared the starter in training camp. He is the better player right now and is harder to plan against. Hasselbeck cannot take off for thirty yards like Locker if the pocket collapses. In simple terms, Hasselbeck will handicap the already limited offense.

Reason number two is the defense. Right now, the Titans look as if they would be unable stop a pee-wee team from scoring on them. They have allowed opposing tight ends to burn them with regularity. The run defense has been shoddy as well. This team has given up one hundred and fifty-four points. That's all you need to know.

The final reason is their remaining schedule. The Vikings are no longer an easy opponent. The Steelers come rolling into Nashville after that with a high-powered offense. Also on the Titans' remaining schedule are the Bears, Packers and a second date with the Texans. If they do not drastically improve, the Titans will lose these games. I wouldn't even consider them a favorite against the Colts or Jaguars right now. If the team continues in its current state, it will be lucky to reach seven wins.

Houston looks like the best team in football right now. Their offense is one of the most balanced in football. The Texans will easily run away with the AFC South, much like they did last season. As for the Titans, they will need a "Music City Miracle" to make the playoffs at this rate.