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All Good Things Must Come to an End

November 23, 2008

We all saw this day coming.

It was always a matter of when, rather than if. 

Throughout the Patriots’ magical season last year, it was always “Can they go undefeated?” For the 2008 Tennessee Titans, however, everyone expected them to lose. No one honestly thought this Kerry Collins-led bunch could rattle off 16 straight wins, let alone 19.

If Tom Brady and the Patriots could only manage 18 straight wins, there’s no way – we all thought – that this Titans team could go undefeated through 19 games.

Well, suffice to say, everyone was right. After amazing critics and fans alike with a 10-0 start, Chris Johnson & Co., finally succumbed at the hands of Brett Favre and the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets.

The score: 34-13. It was a game in which nothing went right and everything that could go wrong did go wrong. It also was a game that saw Jets backup running back Leon Washington scamper for 82 yards on eight carries and a pair of touchdowns, including one from 61 yards out and a four-yard run that put the game out of reach.

So what does this game mean for Tennessee? And what does it mean for the NFL?

For starters, the Titans proved just how difficult it is to go undefeated and the Jets proved that they are a force to be reckoned with in the AFC.

They may have barely scraped by for the past few weeks, but the Tennessee Titans started the 2008 season 10-0. That’s 10 more wins than the Detroit Lions has in the same period and one more than the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants.

How hard is it to start the season 10-0? Prior to this year, the Titans had never even come close, with the 10-0 start setting a new franchise record by five games. What’s more, is that the Titans are now one of only 10 teams in NFL history to start the season 10-0.

So, although the dream of a perfect season ended and the 1972 Miami Dolphins will be popping champagne this week, the 2008 Tennessee Titans have joined an elite group of NFL teams in history.

For the New York Jets, a dominant victory over the Titans following an overtime victory over the Patriots proves that they are, in fact, the class of the AFC East. With their record sitting at 8-3, the Jets control their own destiny in the East and have a legitimate shot at a first-round bye in the playoffs.

In fact, by beating Tennessee, the Jets earned the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Titans, and could earn home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs should the Jets manage to make up the current two-game deficit in the race for the top seed in the AFC playoffs.

Moreover, Favre had one of his best games as a Jet on Sunday. Favre completed 25 of 34 passes for 224 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while throwing only one interception against the league’s ninth-ranked passing defense.

Though Favre’s stats don’t dazzle, he managed the game well enough to allow Thomas Jones to rush for 96 yards and Washington to find the end zone twice. Favre looked comfortable throughout the game against Tennessee and didn’t try to force things against the Titans’ tough secondary

With this game in the books, one can’t help but look ahead to a possible rematch in Tennessee for the AFC Championship. Certainly, the Titans will learn from this game and use it as motivation for the rest of the season.

The Jets, on the other hand, must feel as confident as they have all season after knocking off the NFL’s last remaining unbeaten team and solidifying their position as a playoff contender.

Unfortunately, we won’t have the pleasure of watching an 11-0 Tennessee team face off against a 0-11 Detroit team on Turkey Day. Regardless, the Titans remain among the NFL’s elite teams this season and the Jets couldn’t be happier about their current situation.

Yet, if either of these two AFC contenders takes the conference title in January, they’ll be in for a tough matchup if the NFL’s best team – the New York Giants – manages to find its way back to the Super Bowl for a second consecutive season.

Here’s to looking forward to a great finish to the 2008 NFL season. It’s certainly something to be thankful for.

 

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