Royal Oak Tribune

Titans try to focus only on Detroit, not playoff math

- By Teresa M. Walker

NASHVILLE, TENN. » Tennessee has gone 12 long seasons since last winning the AFC South, and the current Titans are in no mood to be distracted with this big goal so close at hand.

They could clinch at least this franchise’s third playoff berth in four years Sunday by beating the Detroit Lions. But they’ll still need outside help under a trio of scenarios involving losses by Baltimore, Las Vegas, Miami and Cleveland.

First things first. The Titans (94) know they must focus on trying to beat the Lions (5-8) because their spot atop the AFC South is only due to having the divisional tiebreaker over Indianapol­is.

“When you start looking

around and worrying about things that are out of your control or things that don’t really matter to this team, you’re wasting time, you’re wasting your energy, and you’re not focused on the things that you need to focus (on),” Titans quarterbac­k Ryan Tannehill said.

The Titans are coming off a perfunctor­y 31-10 win over Jacksonvil­le, and this will be their final home game of the season if they don’t take care of business with three games remaining.

“Hopefully nobody talks about anything past this week,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said.

The Lions haven’t been eliminated from playoff contention just yet. They’re 10th in the NFC with home games against Tampa Bay and Minnesota still left. Interim coach Darrell Bevell is 1-1 since the Lions fired coach Matt Patricia.

Bevell said people are watching the Lions to see if they keep competing or throw in the towel.

“If I have anything to say about it or these players do, we’re going to keep fighting,” Bevell said. “And 1% (playoff chance)? We’ll take it. I don’t even know if that’s right, but we’ll take it.”

Stafford status

Matthew Stafford was unable to finish Detroit’s 31-24 loss to Green Bay last week because of a rib injury. The Lions plan to wait as long as possible to determine if Stafford would be in or out against the Titans.

If Stafford can’t play, 34-year- old Chase Daniel would be in line for the sixth start of his career with second-year pro David Blough his backup. Daniel has one touchdown and one intercepti­on this season in relief with eight career TD passes and six intercepti­ons. Blough lost all five starts last year.

“Stafford is tough as nails, one of the toughest dudes I’ve ever been around, but Chase is ready,” Lions wide receiver and kick returner Jamal Agnew said. “Chase has been establishe­d in this league.”

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