The Tennessee Titans have missed enough two-foot gimme putts in the past that they know not to take the Cleveland Browns lightly.
Even at 0-6, the Titans know that can’t afford to come out flat and risk losing Sunday on the road. A loss in Cleveland would certainly deflate much of the momentum gained from Monday night’s victory over Indianapolis that snapped an 11-game losing streak to the Colts and ran their season record to 4-3.
With a bye coming up after the Browns’ game, the Titans can build a two-game win streak and be over .500 heading into their off week. But they have been known to struggle against struggling teams before. Just two weeks ago, Tennessee lost in Miami to a Dolphins’ team that was on the ropes.
“I would say we shouldn’t take them lightly, because they are hungry, and they’re probably thinking this is a game they can win,” tight end Delanie Walker said. “We’ve got to go in there and respect that. They’re going to be hungry, and we’re going to have to be hungrier.”
Titans coach Mike Mularkey reminded that the Browns played the Titans to a 28-26 game at Nissan Stadium last year. The Titans went on to finish 9-7, but on that day barely escaped against the Cody Kessler-led Browns, who would go on to a 1-15 season.
“We played them last year at about the same time, a very similar time, they were winless at home,” Mularkey said. “It was a close game, a very, very close game. Winless in this league, undefeated in this league, it’s a week-to-week league. You see it every week, there’s surprises. I said it on Monday night, it’s tough to win in this league. The records are out the window when we play each other, regardless of who it is.”
The Browns are seemingly in disarray again with their perpetual issues at quarterback – Deshone Kizer is set to re-enter the starting lineup this week. There is also talk of disagreements between the coaching staff and management.
Still, the Titans don’t want to take that bait. The specter of potentially losing to a winless team is there, but the focus has to be on taking care of business internally with preparation so that doesn’t happen on Sunday.
“You try to make it about internally about us as much as possible, as opposed to about the Browns,” tackle Taylor Lewan said. “The thing about the NFL is that you can win and lose every single week. It doesn’t matter. That’s what we talked about on Monday. You can’t write this kind of stuff. If a team goes 0-5 or 0-6, it doesn’t matter. It’s about the next week and what could happen. The biggest thing is focusing on ourselves.”