Go ahead and pick against the Tennessee Titans. Count them out against the New England Patriots or call them the ugliest team left in the NFL playoffs.
A franchise only two years removed from the NFL’s worst record over a two-season stretch cares only about winning.
”Our guys kind of like that role Eagles Authentic Jerseys ,” Titans coach Mike Mularkey said of being underdogs. ”Again, this is not a flashy team. It’s not sexy. It’s just a blue collar, come to work, see what happens when you do and see … everybody compete for 60 minutes, see what the outcome is going to come. … Don’t worry about predictors. That’s their job. We have a job to do.”
The Titans (10-7) went 5-27 between 2014 and 2015, costing Ken Whisenhunt his job after 23 games. Mularkey took over, and he’s now 21-21 after a stunning comeback for a 22-21 win at Kansas City in the wild-card round.
Now they will visit New England (13-3) on Saturday night for Tennessee’s first divisional playoff game since January 2009 and their first divisional road game since losing to the Patriots 17-14 in January 2004. They’ve already been installed as 13-point underdogs, though being at least an 8-point underdog at Kansas City and trailing 21-3 at halftime didn’t stop the Titans.
Pro Bowl defensive lineman Jurrell Casey said the Titans’ confidence never wavered as they tied for the second-largest comeback by a road team in the playoffs.
”Everybody was hungry and had the want to,” Casey said. ”When you have that, and look around the sideline and see it in their eyes, there’s no reason to panic. That’s what we’ve been doing all year long, and we’ll continue to do that.”
Actually, the Titans have been doing that for the past couple seasons under Mularkey. The Titans now are 7-1 since the start of the 2016 season in games decided by three or fewer points – best in the NFL.
Tight end Delanie Walker said they are comfortable when trailing Steelers Authentic Jerseys , confident in their ability to rally.
”We fight to the end,” Walker said. ”We weren’t worried about it. We came in (at halftime) and we were like, `They haven’t done anything to stop us.’ We made some adjustments. We went back out there, moved the ball, scored some points and there you have it.”
Mularkey said being in close games is expected with how Tennessee attacks on offense with its run scheme. That’s what makes coordinator Dick LeBeau’s defense so crucial.
The Titans rallied against Kansas City with the defense holding the Chiefs to just 61 yards total offense and no points in the second half. On the other side, the offense held the ball for more than 19 minutes, scored on four straight possessions and Derrick Henry had 85 of his career-high 156 yards rushing in the fourth quarter.
Marcus Mariota also notched the ninth game-winning drive of his career and fifth since the start of the 2017 season in beating Kansas City.
Mularkey said the mental toughness required to pull out so many close games is critical, especially on the road.
”We did a lot of good things in that game to give us a chance to win,” Mularkey said. ”Unfortunately, we had to do it late, but we did a lot of good things as a team I think will carry over as we go forward.”
General manager Jon Robinson, who got his start in the NFL with 12 seasons in New England starting as a scout, has been busy rebuilding this roster over the past two years. Cornerback Logan Ryan 49ers Authentic Jerseys , who signed as a free agent last offseason after four seasons and two Super Bowl rings with the Patriots, said the Titans feature a bunch of players with nothing to lose.
”A bunch of guys who are underrated, undervalued, who came from different places, and who were trying to do something special. We believe that,” Ryan said.
Now the longshot Titans face their biggest test yet Saturday night in New England.
”We want more,” Walker said.
NEW YORK – There’s no better indicator of the different directions in which the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets are headed than the main topic of conversations following Saturday night’s game, when the Dodgers were excited by the return of their Hall of Fame-bound ace and the Mets were pondering if the pitcher with the second-worst ERA in team history would have to start in place of the pitcher with the worst ERA in team history.
The Dodgers will look to complete a sweep of the reeling Mets Sunday afternoon, when the two teams play the finale of a three-game series at Citi Field.
The Dodgers hit a game-breaking grand slam for the second straight game Saturday, when Matt Kemp’s pinch-hit blast off Robert Gsellman in the eighth inning provided insurance and then some in an 8-3 win. On Friday, Cody Bellinger snapped a scoreless tie with a sixth-inning grand slam off Zack Wheeler in a 5-2 victory.
The big news Saturday for the Dodgers (40-35), who have gone 24-9 since May 17, was the return of ace left-hander Clayton Kershaw Seahawks Authentic Jerseys , who missed the previous three-plus weeks due to a lower back strain. Kershaw allowed two runs in three innings in his first start since May 31.
Manager Dave Roberts said afterward he expected Kershaw to start again on Thursday or Friday.
“To not just have the mindset that I can keep going and know that at some point the plug is going to be pulled, that’s got to be tough for the psyche,” Roberts said of the famously competitive Kershaw. “But I think for me, for us, it’s just more of having him out there is such a plus and just a boost for all of our guys.”
If the Mets (31-43), who have lost five straight and are 20-41 since an 11-1 start, are going to get a badly needed boost Sunday, they’ll receive it from an unknown and unlikely source.
Manager Mickey Callaway said Saturday night that Jason Vargas, who was scheduled to start Sunday, will be placed on the disabled list with an injury he suffered while doing conditioning work earlier this week.
Callaway said the Mets have yet to decide who will start.
Right-hander Chris Flexen will be recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas to replace Vargas on the active roster and is a candidate to start.
Vargas is 2-6 with an 8.60 ERA in nine starts this season and has a 9.38 ERA in 11 career starts with the Mets, for whom he also pitched briefly in 2007. Vargas’ ERA is the highest for any Mets pitcher who has thrown at least 40 innings for the team.
The second-highest ERA in Mets history belongs to Flexen, who has an 11.57 ERA in two appearances this season and an 8.05 ERA in 16 games (nine starts) dating back to last season. Flexen last pitched Thursday, when he got the final out of the Mets’ 4-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies before being optioned to Las Vegas.
“We’re going to see when guys come in (and) play catch Buccaneers Authentic Jerseys ,” Callaway said. “Our bullpen’s obviously thrown some innings and we’re going to see how everybody’s feeling when they come in (Sunday) and make that decision then.”
Another possibility to draw the start or to pitch extended innings in relief is rookie Tim Peterson.
He last pitched Thursday, when he tossed 1 1/3 perfect innings against the Rockies and has a 1.17 ERA in five games. The only other Mets reliever to not pitch Friday or Saturday is closer Jeurys Familia.
Whomever pitches for the Mets will oppose Dodgers left-hander Rich Hill (1-2, 4.99 ERA), who is scheduled to make his second start since coming off the disabled list last Tuesday, when he pitched against the Chicago Cubs.
Hill, who missed a month with a blister on his left middle finger, didn’t factor into the decision after allowing three hits over six scoreless innings in Los Angeles’ 2-1, 10-inning loss.
Hill is 1-2 with an 8.00 ERA in six career games (four starts) against the Mets. Neither Flexen nor Peterson has ever faced the Dodgers.