The 17-game gauntlet each team in the NFL has endured is one week away from coming to a close. The NFL Playoffs patiently await seven teams from each conference and after the longest regular season in NFL history, it truly can be described as a war of attrition. With many teams shorthanded from casualties suffered during the course of the regular season, it is the Tennessee Titans who have been able to get healthier as the year has gone on.

Health is wealth in the NFL. Not always do the best teams win late in the season. Oftentimes the teams that find success are the ones that have been able to avoid major injuries to key contributors throughout the rocky road that is the regular season. Having all hands on deck in January is not a luxury many teams can afford.

The Tennessee Titans have been a curious case study this season. Having used 88 different players on the active roster thus far, the Titans lay claim to a record that no professional team wants to have hanging in their trophy case — the most injured team in NFL history.

Losing players such as Derrick Henry, A.J. Brown, Julio Jones, Bud Dupree, Taylor Lewan, and Kristian Fulton for weeks at a time is enough for any team to throw in the towel and limp through the finish line.

Not the Tennessee Titans.

Braden Gall of 440 Sports joined A to Z Sports Nashville’s Titan Up Podcast this week with hosts Austin Huff and Jack Gentry to touch on just how important getting healthy at the right time is for the Titans.

“The team is really pretty good; the culture in the locker room is outstanding. Robinson and Vrabel are brilliant,” said Gall. “But being the healthiest you’ve been all season in the month of January is the most important part of what’s happening right now, in my opinion.”

On Wednesday afternoon, the Titans fanbase received the news it had been waiting to hear for over nine weeks: Derrick Henry has returned to practice. After suffering a Jones Fracture against the Indianapolis Colts in Week Eight, many talking heads declared the Titans dead. There was no way the team built on its physical ground-and-pound rushing attack could keep their heads above water, right?

Wrong.

The Titans enter Week 18 with a date in Houston against the division rival Texans. While ESPN’s Dianna Russini has reported that Henry is a long shot to play Sunday, the Titans are a win away from securing the No. 1 seed in the AFC for the first time since 2008. If they can secure a win on Sunday without him, it will give King Henry two more weeks of rest before returning in front of what will undoubtedly be a sold out and raucous crowd in Nissan Stadium.

 

Featured image courtesy of Trevor Ruszkowski – USA TODAY Sports