Tennessee Titans: Better Chance of Wild Card or Division Title?

Chad MintonCorrespondent IDecember 6, 2011

ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 04:  Matt Hasselbeck #8 of the Tennessee Titans looks to hand off against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on December 4, 2011 in Orchard Park, New York.Tennessee won 23-17.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

The Tennessee Titans kept their playoff hopes from being virtually destroyed by defeating the reeling Buffalo Bills, but they still need a ton of help to get a playoff berth in Mike Munchak's first season as head coach.

With the late-season struggles of both the Cincinnati Bengals and the New York Jets, the Titans now have a chance at the wild card as well as chasing down the Houston Texans for the AFC South title.

The real question is what is the more likely path the Titans could end up taking to the playoffs?

If not for some heroics by third-string quarterback T.J. Yates, the AFC South title would seem like the more likely scenario in getting into the playoffs. Unfortunately for the Titans, the Texans keep finding ways to win despite all their injuries.

Now, it's possible Andre Johnson could miss even more time with another hamstring injury, and that would certainly decrease the chances of Yates pulling off another improbable win.

The Texans actually play the Bengals this upcoming week, so if the Titans handle their business they're going to gain a game on somebody they're battling with for a playoff spot.

It will be challenging for the Titans to overtake the Bengals for the wild card because they lost to the Bengals earlier in the season.

Unless the Titans get their second major upset of the season by defeating the New Orleans Saints this weekend, the Titans will at the very best finish 10-6 with a season split over the Texans.

If the Titans were to beat the Texans, it would come down to the NFL's multiple tiebreaker procedures to determine who would win the AFC South.

The first tiebreaker after head-to-head is record within the division, and the Texans clearly have the advantage in this regard as they are 4-0 in the division and at worst will finish 4-2.

For the Texans to finish with that division record, they would not only have to lose to the Titans in the season finale, but they would also have to lose to the winless Colts.

On top of that unlikely occurrence, the Titans would have to win the rest of their division games to even tie the Texans and take it to the next tiebreaker.

With all of that said, the Titans stand the best chance at winning one of the two wild-card spots.

Even though the win over the Bills increased the playoff hopes of the Titans, those aspirations are still remain on life support simply because they're relying on two other teams to help them get in.

Relying on other teams to help you is never a good path to the postseason.

The Bengals may have a tough remaining schedule, but the Jets have a favorable one as they don't have a single team left on their schedule with an above-.500 record.

You also can't forget about the Raiders and the Broncos, who continue to play well.

What's ironic about this whole thing is that the Titans have finally started to look like a consistently solid team with Chris Johnson playing up to his full potential, but it may be too late for it to matter.

Crazier things have happened in the NFL when it comes to teams making a last-second run to the playoffs. Just look at the 2010 Green Bay Packers if you need proof.

One thing can be certain and that is if the Titans do make a miraculous run to the playoffs, they'll be one of the hottest teams in the NFL going in.

For the Titans the playoffs have already begun, and it starts with the Saints this week at LP Field.