Mike Greenberg: Playoff Teams Would Rather Play Texans Than Titans

Liam McKeone

The AFC South has been full of surprises all year, but perhaps the most surprising storyline of them all has been the resurgence of Ryan Tannehill and the Tennessee Titans. They're 6-1 and firmly in the playoff picture after Tannehill took over as the starter for Marcus Mariota in Week 7. Overall, it's the best football team Tennessee has put on the field in quite some time.

Sitting at 8-5, the Titans are tied for the division lead with the Houston Texans. The AFC South title will be decided in the final weeks of December, as the two teams play each other twice in their last three games. The Get Up crew believes Tennessee poses a greater threat to any potential playoff opponent than the Texans do, after the latter lost by 14 to the lowly Denver Broncos following their big win against the Patriots on Sunday Night Football.

"I can't believe I'm saying this about a team that has Deshaun Watson, but I think most of the big boys would rather play the Texans than the Titans," Mike Greenberg said. Both Rex Ryan nad Pat McAfee heartily agreed.

The Texans are clearly the more talented team between Watson and his trio of dangerous wideouts who give all secondaries fits. But have the Titans been a better team over the latter half of this season?

While Tennessee has been excellent in their recent stretch of games, only their win over Kansas City would qualify as impressive. Otherwise, they beat up on the Jaguars, Raiders, Bucs, and Chargers, along with a solid but unspectacular win over the Colts that was helped along by another poor Adam Vinateri performance. The Texans have two big wins over the Chiefs and Patriots, but also lost to those same Colts and the aforementioned Broncos.

With all that in mind, it's much closer than you'd think on a surface level. Overall, it's probably easier to contain Tannehill and the Titans' run game than it is to contain the combination of Watson, DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller V, and Kenny Stills. But Tennessee's defense has been rock-solid, whereas Houston has been very hit-or-miss on that side of the ball all year.

Personally, I'd take facing Tannehill over Watson. But the fact that there's a legitimate argument to the contrary shows how far Tennessee has come this year.