Only the Kansas City Chiefs have as many home wins this season as the Tennessee Titans.
Both teams sport a 7-2 record in their home stadiums, so it’s somewhat serendipitous that both are vying for the AFC’s No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
But if you ask anyone on the Titans roster, winning Sunday at NRG Stadium in Houston is about more than simply finishing as the best team in the conference; it’s about making the rest of the teams in the AFC try and beat the Titans where they're at their best: Nissan Stadium.
“Obviously, me personally being a veteran guy, my motivation is to get the first-round bye,” safety Kevin Byard said. “I want a bye week next week. That’s the motivation to go out here and play our best game so we can get that bye week and get some rest … and the AFC can come through Nashville.”
Beating the Titans at Nissan Stadium — especially this year — is more difficult than it sounds. Only two teams have left Nashville with wins this season — the Arizona Cardinals and the Houston Texans, Tennessee’s opponent on Sunday.
No longer is Nissan Stadium a place where opposing fans outnumber the home fans. Tennessee ranks sixth in the NFL in total fan attendance (617,103) and the Chiefs (73,227) and Los Angeles Chargers (70,240) are the only current AFC playoff teams with higher average attendance than the Titans’ 68,566 — the team’s highest average attendance since 2014.
That sort of home-field advantage is what many of the Titans players stated they feed off of.
“It’s been a lot of fun to see the engagement throughout the city,” quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. “The impact that the fans are making on Sundays, the defense is out there, and the stadium is rocking — that’s what you want, it’s what you love to have as a home-field advantage. Hopefully we can continue to make it fun for fans to come to games.”
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