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The Titans have assured themselves of a third straight winning season
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NASHVILLE http://www.indianapoliscoltsteamonline.c...eke-jersey , Tenn. (AP) — for the first time since moving to Tennessee, and the NFL’s longest current winning streak has them playing the final game of the regular season with a playoff berth on the line.They’ll find out Sunday night if that’s enough to sell-out their home stadium with Titans fans.Safety Kevin Byard believes they’ve done enough to convince fans to turn out.“You have a team that’s playing for a playoff spot, be one of the few teams that’s going to be in the postseason,” Byard said. “I think that’s every motivation that everybody in Nashville should be in Nissan Stadium. I think we’ve done a great job this year and previous years. This game is a playoff game, and I think it’s something we’re trying to make history right now.”The Titans (9-6) will host Indianapolis (9-6) in a win-and-in prime-time showdown on Sunday night; the loser is done for the season. The Titans and Colts will play for at worst the AFC’s second wild-card spot and the sixth overall seed with the AFC South title possible if Jacksonville beats Houston.Crazier still, losses by Houston http://www.jacksonvillejaguarsteamonline...lor-jersey , Baltimore and New England could leave Sunday night’s winner not only as a division champ but the No. 2 seed with a first-round bye.It’s almost unimaginable for the Titans after being 5-6 and fighting to get to .500 when December started. Now the Titans have won four straight to climb past teams like Cincinnati, Denver, Miami and now Pittsburgh. Only the Colts stand in their way now.“We all can recognize we’ve been in the playoffs now going on five weeks, we’ve been in the playoffs for the past four weeks,” coach Mike Vrabel said.The Titans will have to wait and see if Marcus Mariota is available after a stinger knocked the quarterbackout of their 25-16 victory over Washington on Saturday. That was the third game Mariota couldn’t finish this season and seventh of his four-year career.Vrabel said Mariota felt better Monday than the quarterback did after his last stinger Nov. 18 in a 38-10 loss in Indianapolis. Mariota didn’t miss a start, but the Titans did bring back quarterback Austin Davis who spent two weeks on the active roster in September.Mariota and the Titans are in a similar situation with an extra day to recover between games. Vrabel said they planned to test Mariota on Monday with individual drills while making sure through the rest of the week that the quarterback can do everything needed to play.But the Titans will be without four-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Jurrell Casey after they placed him on injured reserve Monday with a knee injury aggravated in the fourth quarter against the Redskins. Casey is the secondOne more win ensures a second straight playoff berth for the Titans for the first time 2007 and 2008. This franchise hasn’t won five straight since 2009 when the Titans reeled off five straight after starting the season 0-6. This also will be their first Sunday night game since Oct. 11 http://www.jacksonvillejaguarsteamonline...-ii-jersey , 2009, when they lost to the Colts 31-9.Safety Kenny Vaccaro has never played in the postseason. He broke his ankle as a rookie with New Orleans and tore an abductor muscle last year.“This is like my first playoff game, so I’m excited,” Vaccaro said. “We’ve been in the playoffs the last four weeks if you think about it. Not too long ago we were 5-6 just trying to get back to .500.” CINCINNATI (AP)AJ McCarron was getting his son ready to Trick-or-Treat as Ace Ventura when his agent called with shocking news: The Bengals were trading the quarterback to the Cleveland Browns. Then came another jolt: The trade fell through because paperwork wasn’t filed with the NFL office in time. McCarron was still processing the whirlwind events Wednesday, a day after a paperwork snafu meant he’d stay in Cincinnati as Andy Dalton’s backup. The AFC North rivals agreed to the trade shortly before the 4 p.m. deadline. The Bengals say they filed their paperwork on the deal, holding up their end of the bargain. ”All you have to do is notify the league office you’re making a deal and that’s an easy thing http://www.losangelesramsteamonline.com/...son-jersey , which we spoke to a person in there,” coach Marvin Lewis said Wednesday. McCarron doesn’t understand how the trade was botched. ”There’s no telling,” McCarron said. ”I’m lost like everybody else.” He’ll be on the Bengals sideline Sunday when Cincinnati (3-4) plays at Jacksonville (4-3). McCarron hasn’t played this season even though Dalton has been limited by a sprained left ankle for a couple of games. The Bengals’ agreement to trade him was an indication he’ll soon get a chance to vie for a starting job somewhere instead of remaining a backup in Cincinnati. The Bengals had been reluctant to trade the two-time national champion from Alabama, who is in the final year of his contract. McCarron proved his value after Dalton broke the thumb on his passing hand late in the 2015 season. McCarron started the last three games, leading the Bengals to the postseason, and had them in position to win a first-round playoff game against the Steelers before Vontaze Burfict’s hit to Antonio Brown’s head moved Pittsburgh in range for a winning field goal. McCarron was excited initially about the chance to be reunited in Cleveland with coach Hue Jackson http://www.minnesotavikingsteamonline.co...jr.-jersey , who was the offensive coordinator in Cincinnati. The Browns’ inability to complete the trade was the latest failure by a franchise that can’t find its footing. Cleveland hasn’t been able to settle on a quarterback or stick with a plan. The Browns are 0-8 after going 1-15 in Jackson’s first season. The Browns are on their bye week and declined comment on the trade snafu. McCarron missed most of his rookie season with a sore shoulder. The Bengals contend that leaves him a restricted free agent after this season. McCarron thinks he should be an unrestricted free agent. The dispute will be settled in the offseason. ”I’m not angry about anything,” McCarron said. ”I’m not upset. It feels good to be wanted by the team you’re on, by another team. I’m just enjoying it and when the offseason comes, however the contract dispute works out, we’ll go from there.” Dalton has taken a lot of hits behind a struggling offensive line. Third-string quarterback Jeff Driskel is recovering from a broken hand. Lewis is glad to keep McCarron, although he regrets how the quarterback was caught in the middle of a failed trade. ”I think it’s not a good situation http://www.newyorkgiantsteamonline.com/d...nce-jersey ,” Lewis said. ”AJ’s a valuable member of this team. I told him that yesterday after everything, and frankly I was relieved so I don’t have to go through the gymnastics of the next step.” McCarron described a chaotic scene at his home after getting a call from his agent about the trade agreement. McCarron’s family dressed as characters from Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. McCarron wore a Dan Marino shirt – the Dolphins are part of the movie – and his mother dressed in a dolphin costume. ”So you got all that going on and the trade,” McCarron said. ”My mom’s bouncing around the house in a dolphin suit. The dog’s going crazy. So it was interesting.” He was getting a lot of jokes from Bengals teammates over his close call with a trade. ”I’ve had a couple guys in here ask me to send some stuff and remind me to hit the send button,” McCarron said. ”That’s probably one of the best ones. I don’t know what’s going on.” DUNLAP HONORED Defensive end Carlos Dunlap was honored as AFC Defensive Player of the Week. He had a sack and returned a tipped pass for a touchdown that made the difference in a 24-23 win over the Colts. BULLOCK HURT Kicker Randy Bullock missed practice Wednesday with a back injury, as did defensive lineman Michael Johnson. Receivers Brandon LaFell (hamstring) and Tyler Boyd (knee) also didn’t practice. Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (shoulder) and offensive tackle Andre Smith (triceps) were limited. —
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