They have the league's fifth-ranked defense, a physical, swarming unit that just won a football game despite four offensive turnovers and a smorgasbord of rancid special teams gaffes (a fumbled punt return, a punter stuffed before he could get off a kick, a 49-yard fake punt through its coverage team and a pair of long kickoff returns allowed).
They're relentless, well-coached and starved for attention, and even Peyton Manning would just as soon not see them again this season.
Now here's the scariest thing about the Tennessee Titans, aka the Tennessee Tyrants: Their most prolific playmaker from last season isn't on the field, and it's not out of the question that he'll return for the stretch drive.
When embattled cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution last weekend that he thinks he "did enough" to convince NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to reduce his season-long suspension to 10 games, it probably didn't help his chances of returning to the team this season. And even if Goodell were to relent, it's highly possible that Titans coach Jeff Fisher might decide not to take Pac back, given that he caught the trouble-prone player in a flat-out lie shortly before his suspension.
But hey, the reigning Total Nonstop Action tag-team wrestling champion can dream, can't he?
"I saw Pac last Friday night, and he's getting excited because there's a possibility, I guess, he might be able to come back after 10 games," Titans linebacker Keith Bulluck said Sunday. "He definitely seems different than he has in the past – more relaxed, more calm, more laid-back, not needing to be in the middle of every situation. I know he's watching us, the way guys are stepping up, and it has to be killing him that he can't be a part of this right now."
Will Pacman be allowed to join the party, and if so, will the Titans make a run at the Big Two in the AFC? I can't answer those questions yet, but I can ask 32 more, from top to bottom after five weeks' worth of evidence:
2. Indianapolis Colts: Where the hell do they get these guys, and is the supply endless?
3. Dallas Cowboys: Has a six-pack (of turnovers) ever gotten any quarterback so drunk (with happiness)?
5. Pittsburgh Steelers: Did 2006 happen, or is this team merely picking up where it left off at the end of '05?
6. Jacksonville Jaguars: Are they really this good, or is Kansas City's offense merely that bad?
9. Seattle Seahawks: Did the officials screw them this time, too?
11. Baltimore Ravens: If this is the 11th best team in pro football, how bad is pro football?
12. Chicago Bears: Has there been a more macho, meaningful comeback since MNF became Sunday Night Football?
15. New York Giants: Is it just me, or does Tom Coughlin seem to be doing one hell of a coaching job in 2007?
18. Cincinnati Bengals: Coming off a bye, are they a bad showing in Kansas City away from going bye-bye?
19. San Diego Chargers: Can these guys get sky high at sea level, too?
21. Carolina Panthers: Is there any doubt that this Carr is going to crash?
22. Detroit Lions: Has a 3-2 team ever been more atrocious?
24. Philadelphia Eagles: If Andy Reid still has that coaching fire, wouldn't now be a very good time to ask his team for a match?
26. San Francisco 49ers: And you thought Mike Nolan's preferred sideline attire was conservative?
27. Buffalo Bills: Are they cursed?
31. St. Louis Rams: After Randy McMichael dropped that third-down pass late in the first half, forcing the team to settle for a field goal, did the temperamental tight end throw a sideline tantrum at himself?
32. Miami Dolphins: If this team is still winless after it faces the Giants at Wembley Stadium on Oct. 28, will it be relegated?
- Tennessee Titans