Going into this season, records of 6-0 and 0-6 did not seem like too much of a stretch for the Tennessee Titans and Denver Broncos—except it was supposed to be the other way around.
The Titans, coming off of a league best 13-3 record were expected by most to not only return to the playoffs, but advance in them.
The Denver Broncos are coming off an offseason that had even more drama than Dallas faced when T.O was in town. I even read a piece by an ESPN analyst predicting the Broncos to finish 3-13!
Now that both teams have done complete 180's, we must reflect on how this could have happened and why we didn't see it coming. In retrospect, we shouldn't really be that surprised.
The Tennessee Titans lost their best player, defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth, as well as defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. Instead of taking advantage of free agency to fill in the gaps this past offseason, they seemed comfortable to rest on their laurels, and were confident that their success last season would carry over.
They also play in a very competitive division, which includes powerhouse Indianapolis, rising Houston, and enigmatic Jacksonville.
Many people forget that Broncos QB Kyle Orton had more victories as a starter with the Bears than Jay Cutler did in Denver—not to mention the fact that Orton led his team to the playoffs, something Cutler has yet to put on his resume.
And unlike the Titans, the Broncos play in one of the weakest divisions in the league. The Chiefs and Raiders have a combined three wins this season (one of those wins was when the two teams played each other), and the San Diego Chargers clearly are not the Super Bowl favorites we all thought they were.
As both teams began this season with their respective streaks, everyone thought given just a little more time, the Broncos would collapse and the Titans would break out. But after this past week's performances, it seems we can stop waiting and believe what we've seen so far.
After beating three mediocre teams in Cincy, Cleveland, and Oakland, the Broncos have now defeated Dallas, New England, and San Diego.
The Titans are coming off a 59-0 drubbing in New England. Sure, it was snowing, and sure the Patriots ran up the score (any other team would have rested their starters at halftime), but it became obvious the Titans just wanted to get out of there and didn't seem motivated to even play.
Over the hill quarterback Kerry Collins solidified his position as washed up by throwing for minus yardage. His performance will net him his second Nappy-Headed-Ho of the week award.
Longest active tenured coach Jeff Fisher has recently had not only his coaching but his judgment questioned. At a charity event, he showed up wearing the jersey of division rival Peyton Manning. The first thing he said after revealing it was, "I wanted to feel like a winner for once." Ouch.
There is no job security in the NFL, and Jeff Fisher's lack of results on the field and his current antics, which he has said he doesn't see as a big deal, might just cost him his job.
Meanwhile, Josh McDaniels now looks like a genius for his work and his once thought of insane decisions. His Coach of the Year Award is being shined right now.
If Fisher does lose his job, though, he probably won't have to wait too long to get another one. Imagine him on the sidelines in Washington or maybe even Dallas. Hmmm...