Tennessee Titans eye winning record

(Photo: WKRN)
(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – After being eliminated from the NFL playoff race Saturday night, the Tennessee Titans still insist they have plenty to play for the last game of the season against Houston Sunday at Nissan Stadium.

The turnaround for a team that finished the last two seasons with five combined victories has been dramatic, and head coach Mike Mularkey says it can continue Sunday.

“There are a lot of things that are important in this football for this football team,” he said.

At 8-7, the Titans can finish with a winning record for the first time since 2011. They are also 4-3 at Nissan Stadium and can finish with a record at home.

Maybe most meaningful though is who the game is against AFC South Houston. The Titans have not defeated the Texans since the final game of the 2013 season, and Mularkey says their struggles within the division (1-4) are why they are not playing in the post season.

The head coach said, “This game was going to be a big game regardless. We’re sitting here where we are in many respects for not being able to win the games we need to win in the division.”

Pro Bowl tackle Taylor Lewan is in his third NFL season and can play on a winning team for the first time.

He told media, “You play this game to have a winning record, you play this game to go to the playoffs. Obviously we can’t do one of those, so why not do the other?”

Had the Titans defeated the 3-12 Jacksonville Jaguars on Christmas Eve, they would be playing for the AFC South title Sunday, where their ability to embrace a new goal might be critical in their chances against a Houston Texans (9-6) team that has already won the AFC South for the second year in a row.