The Tennessee Titans got their doors blown off by the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 13 en route to an embarrassing 35-10 loss at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday afternoon. As a result, the Titans are moving backwards in the NFL power rankings of different experts.
We begin, as always, with USA TODAY’s Nate Davis, who is moving the Titans down five spots from No. 11 to No. 16. Here’s what he had to say:
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16. Titans (11): Little surprise that the “A.J. Brown Bowl” would spotlight AFC South leaders’ offensive deficiencies. Big surprise that Tennessee wasn’t even remotely competitive at Philadelphia.
As if a blowout loss couldn’t get any worse, former Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown had a big part in it with eight catches for 119 yards and two touchdowns.
The loss also dropped the Titans’ record against winning teams to 1-4, which doesn’t instill much confidence that this team can make a deep playoff run after inevitably winning the worst division in football.
Now, let’s see what other experts had to say:
Robert Zeglinski and Christian D’Andrea, For The Win:
We knew about the Titans’ first fatal flaw — a limited passing game in the hands of Ryan Tannehill. We were less aware of a Tennessee defense — particularly on the back end — run absolutely roughshod on by A.J. Brown and the Eagles. The Titans’ calling card is physicality, a brutal power running game, and tough, disciplined defense. We saw none of that in Philadelphia. It’ll have to return very soon if the Titans are to make more of this season than “Default AFC South Champion.”
Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News:
The Titans cannot win any shootouts when a team goes ahead of them with the downfield passing game. They are build to run the ball with Derrick Henry and play grinding, physical situational defense. They are winning the AFC South again, but they are limping into the playoffs in their current state.
Frank Schwab, Yahoo Sports:
OK, now that’s four straight bad games for Derrick Henry. His per-carry averages the past four games: 2.8, 3.1, 2.2. 2.7. You can’t see that and not have some concern that Henry is hitting a wall as he approaches his 29th birthday. It’s fairly amazing, given his career workload going back to Alabama, that it hadn’t happened long before.
Josh Schrock, NBC Sports:
11. Tennessee Titans (7-5): The Titans getting pantsed by the Eagles highlighted the difference between an average team with good coaching and a Super Bowl contender.
Dan Hanzus, NFL.com:
It’s been a humbling two weeks for the Titans, who went from everyone’s darling after a prime-time win over the Packers to a reeling contender with troubling question marks following consecutive losses to the Bengals and Eagles. Tennessee was never competitive on Sunday, hopeless to stop Jalen Hurts and Philly’s rolling offense, while Ryan Tannehill and a slumping Derrick Henry sputtered in drive after drive. Perhaps most concerning is the way the Titans have been beaten in the past two Sundays — profiling as the less physical side in both contests. It’s the antithesis of what Mike Vrabel’s teams have been about for years. Said the coach: “I think we’re at a crossroads in how we want to continue down this season.”
Turron Davenport, ESPN:
Week 13 ranking: 9
We’re No. 1 in… gross punt yards per game.
The Titans are No. 1 in gross punt yards per game at 294.4. Rookie punter Ryan Stonehouse has been a bright spot on special teams for Tennessee. Stonehouse is averaging 53.5 gross yards per punt and has downed opponents inside the 20 a total of 24 times. The rookie has surpassed 400 punting yards three times this season.
Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk:
14. Titans (7-5; No. 13): A year after being the top seed, they’re on track to face the top wild-card team in the opening round.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports:
That was a beat-down in Philadelphia against the Eagles. They did nothing right. Teams have limited Derrick Henry the past two weeks, which isn’t a good thing.
BR NFL Staff:
The Tennessee Titans have aspirations of not only making the playoffs but doing damage once they get there. Of avenging last year’s quick exit after they earned the AFC’s No. 1 seed. And the Titans are going to be the AFC South champions for the third straight season and make the postseason for the fourth consecutive year and fifth time in six seasons.
But the team that was blown out in Philadelphia on Sunday didn’t look like any kind of threat to do damage in the postseason. Veteran safety Kevin Byard told reporters that it wasn’t a good look for a team that fashions itself a contender.
“If we want to be a playoff team, we have to decide what we are going to do,” Byard said. “What are we going to be? Leaders, coaches, everybody in this organization, we have to get this thing straight right now. We don’t have any time to lose. What are we going to do right now?”
This isn’t a new development, though. Tennessee has beaten up pretenders and lost to contenders. The Titans have played five teams that would qualify for the playoffs if the season ended today.
Tennessee has lost every time.
Conor Orr, Sports Illustrated:
The Treylon Burks injury was gutting for the Titans, as they were just starting to see some real downhill momentum with their rookie wide receiver. This was a tough game for them stylistically, without any movement from Derrick Henry and no second-level threat to push the defense back. That said, the Titans are still going to Titan. They’ll be back.
Austin Gayle, The Ringer:
The Titans offense came to a grinding halt against Philadelphia after Treylon Burks suffered a concussion on a first-quarter touchdown reception. Burks, a rookie first-round pick, is one of few offensive weapons the Titans can rely on when opposing defenses effectively limit Derrick Henry, as the Eagles did on Sunday, and the Titans only had one drive go for over 25 yards after Burks left the game. Still, a bigger concern coming out of Sunday’s loss was a pass defense that was helpless to stop Jalen Hurts, A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith. The only team Tennessee’s beat with a winning record this season is the Commanders, and while the Titans are still a lock to make the playoffs given the ineptitude of the AFC South, right now there is a gap between them and the true AFC contenders.
Bo Wulf, The Athletic:
Figure out a Plan B. The Titans have one of the league’s most established identities, but Sunday’s drubbing at the hands of the Eagles was an example — like the blowout loss to Buffalo earlier in the year — of how quickly things can snowball once they get behind. Granted they were without defensive end Denico Autry and lost both wide receiver Treylon Burks and linebacker David Long during the game, but Tennessee’s bully ball fell flat once it got punched back. With the division all but wrapped up, the Titans’ sights are on what will work come playoff time.
Jeremy Cluff, Arizona Republic:
Lost to Eagles, 35-10, to fall to 7-5. The Titans have dropped two straight, but comfortably lead the AFC South. The rest of the division has won nine games combined.
The blowout loss to the Eagles was yet another example of why the Titans will never win the Super Bowl with Ryan Tannehill as their starter. They’ll always be competitive because they’re coached so well, and they can run the ball and play good defense most of the time, but when things go south with Derrick Henry, Tannehill can’t beat good defenses.
Dalton Miller, Pro Football Network:
Every bad decision Jon Robinson has made over the past few seasons manifested itself today in the Eagles’ 35-10 massacre of the Titans.
A.J. Brown got his revenge and more against his former team, catching eight passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns. The Titans’ choice to ignore the tackle position was on full display as well. Ryan Tannehill was under siege all game, and their lack of receiver depth was center stage as it always seems to be.
Meanwhile, Tennessee’s usually strong defense struggled, particularly at cornerback. The Eagles did most of their damage through the air, which is the exact opposite of their performance from a week ago.
Ryan Dunleavy, New York Post:
Treylon Burks — drafted with the pick acquired from the Eagles for A.J. Brown — caught a touchdown pass, but Ryan Tannehill (141 passing yards and six sacks) and Derrick Henry (11 carries for 30 yards) couldn’t get anything going. In losing a second straight, the Titans’ last six possessions ended with five punts and a turnover on downs.