Titans Vs. Jaguars: Like Ships Passing in The Night

Dave StanleyCorrespondent IOctober 31, 2009

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 11:  Tennessee Titans fans wear bags on their heads during the 31-9 loss to the Indianapolis Colts at LP Field on October 11, 2009 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

In a sense, the Tennessee Titans will be looking in a mirror come Sunday.  

A mirror of their former selves.  

The Jacksonville Jaguars are a gritty, hard-nosed football team that plays a full sixty minutes of football.  

A team that, despite its historic loitering in the purgatory of mediocrity, is on the rise.  

Not long ago, all of the above could have very well described the Titans.  Not so much, anymore.  

A few weeks ago, the Jaguars not only beat Tennessee, they embarrassed them.  The Houston Texans' flirtations with success notwithstanding, it was a changing of the guard of sorts.  

Nowadays, it's Jacksonville that has taken the quasi-dubious mantle of Indianapolis' kid brother in the division.  

All things considered, the Jaguars are playing for the obvious reasons this week.  

Playoff seeding and the division are all on the line.  The Colts look tough, but there's still plenty of football yet to be played.  

The Titans, on the other hand, have a slightly more complicated situation.  At what point is this disaster of a season written off?  

At what point do they eschew all conventional wisdom and experiment, in the name of next year?   

"One game at a time" is a tired and trite cliché.  Mathematically, Tennessee still has an infinitesimally small shot at the playoffs.  

But anyone with a shred of sanity who's seen them all but roll over this year knows the unlikelihood of such an event happening.  

Yes, these Titans will be playing for pride; against the Jaguars and beyond.  But other than that, how does a player find motivation?

Further thickening the plot is the fact that many of the aging veterans on the squad are nearing the end of their contracts.  Much has been made of the Vince Young storylines, but the prospect of Keith Bulluck and Nick Harper departing quite possibly bears more significance.

Win, lose, or draw, this is probably the last we'll see of this particular lineup of Titans. One always hears about the narrow window of opportunity, and frankly, last year was essentially it for Tennessee.  

Make no mistake, they will be back in contention eventually.  The way the NFL is set up all but guarantees it.  

But chances are, there will be new faces next year as a rebuilding effort commences.  

So, enjoy the farewell tour.  Savor every game.  

And scratch your head at every loss.  

These Titans don't get better, they don't get worse, but they sure stay interesting.