NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Two years ago, on the field at Foxboro in a divisional playoff loss to the Patriots, Jack Conklin tore his ACL and his career began a downward spiral.

Only in the second half of this season has he returned to anything close to the form of his 2016 rookie All-Pro year.ConklinSaints

“I’ve moved past that,” he said. “It’s one of those freak things that happens sometimes, it really has nothing to do with that field. Obviously, I remember, but you’ve just got to let it go. You start thinking about stuff like that, that’s when injuries tend to happen. It feels like it’s been a long time, not two years ago.

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Scout's Take: Some assistant coaches deserve major props as Titans head to playoffs

NASHVILLE, Tenn.  -- Across the league, very few Week 17 games had a meaningful outcome.

One side of the Titans versus Texans had something to play for.


The Titans did a good job of staying focused and getting the job done with a win.

The biggest positive was the Titans came out of the game healthy and got their running game back.

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Phenomenal 10 games by Titans' offense produces playoff berth

HOUSTON – Late on Oct. 13, without having scored a point, they came home from Denver, 2-4 and terrible.

There was little cause for hope or belief in the 2019 Tennessee Titans at that point.

Even the most fervent believers inside the big offices, the GM upstairs and the head coach downstairs, working feverishly and well past even night-owl bedtimes had to have serious doubts.TannehillScoreboardHOU

Eleven weeks later, thanks to a 35-14 win over the resting Texans, the franchise has earned a second trip to the playoffs in three years, and done so in an improbable way.

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Scout's Take: How Titans should attack starters or backups in Houston

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- My thoughts heading into the Titans’ regular-season finale…

With a win-and-you’re-in game in Week 17, there is no reason for the Titans to not finish the season with a win.

The Texans have minimal reason to play their starters.TitansTexans

It is up to the Titans’ defense to make sure they pull them quick.

Texans head coach Bill O’Brien said “they are playing to win” against the Titans.

Now, what does he actually mean by that?

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Rob Moore on A.J. Brown: 'Some guys are finishers, that's what he is'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As he stands 73 yards away from a 1,000 season, there’s have been many impressive ingredients to A.J. Brown’s rookie season.

Perhaps the best among them is that it’s hard to think of an instance where he’s been caught from behind after he’s got into the open field.

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Greg Joseph expecting touchbacks, coverage unit expecting better work

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Coming off their worst kickoff games of the season, the Titans are looking to get back to limiting the return man in their crucial game Sunday in Houston.CruikshankSmith

Mike Vrabel said he’s less worried about the kick and more concerned about covering it well.

The Titans are 25th in average drive-start given up, which doesn’t sound good. Opponents typically begin drives at the 25.5, which doesn’t sound bad.

But the five kickers they’ve used this year have only delivered 33 touchbacks. Twenty-three individual kickers in the NFL this season have delivered more, with Bradley Pinion of Tampa Bay managing a league-best 85. (Photo: Core coverage players Dane Cruikshank and Tye Smith.)

The Titans have the fourth-worst touchback percentage in the NFL at .478, and the 45 kickoffs they’ve hit that have reached the end zone are the sixth-fewest in the league. Only the Jets, Lions, Jaguars, Browns and Bears have fewer, and it’s not hard to quickly see what all of those teams happen to have in common.

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Kenny Vaccaro: 'I think as a defense, regardless of what your offense is, you should play desperate'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Twice in the last two weeks as they’ve dropped a couple of crucial games, the Titans have pushed to get back in games only to see a defensive drop-off in response.

Spurred by Jonnu Smith’s 57-yard run on Dec. 15 against Houston, the Titans moved to a 5-yard Ryan Tannehill to A.J. Brown touchdown pass that leveled the score at 14-14.

But then the defense gave up a seven-play, 75-yard touchdown drive during which the Texans had to convert only one third down. Carlos Hyde beat three defenders into the left corner for a 10-yard score and the Texans regained control, never in real danger again.Brees

A week later against New Orleans, Tajae Sharpe caught an off-schedule Tannehill pass and bolted the rest of the way for a 36-yard third-quarter touchdown that closed the Saints lead down to 24-21.

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Scout's Take: Breaking down Titans' two big-play TDs, Saints' five sacks

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The goal Sunday was to compete and win versus a top NFL team. The Titans competed but couldn’t finish. The Saints started out sluggish and uninspired, but the offense found its rhythm and became a tough team to stop.

Two well-designed big scoring plays by the Titans offense started the game perfectly for a team that was without their best offensive player.SharpeCelebrateSaints

The first scoring play for the Titans was a simple three WR look, TE Jonnu Smith was aligned on the line of scrimmage to the right side of the formation. He ran a simple shallow crossing route behind the linebackers. Saints LB A.J. Klein got sucked in on the play-action.

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