Written by: Joseph Yun
Eternal AFC South rivals meet Sunday afternoon to decide first place in the AFC South. Can Tennessee keep its great run of home game form against a talent decimated but game Jaguars squad?
This article and future weekly articles were written with the assistance of the Blitzalytics Prospect Encyclopedia, which you can buy a PDF or hard cover copy here. The Encyclopedia has many features such as prospects, top team stars, and other countless data points to impress the reader.
Note: all numbers courtesy of profootballreference.com
Key Numbers + Info (2020 season)
Record: 1-0 (1-0 AFC South)
Points scored: 27
Points allowed: 20
Avg. yards per rush: 4.0
Avg. yards per rush allowed: 4.0
Avg. rush yards per game: 91
avg. rush yards per game allowed: 88
Rushing TDs: 0 for, 1 against
Avg. pass yards per game: 150
Avg. pass yards per game allowed: 357
Passing TDs: 3 for, 1 against
Pass Completion Rate: 95%
Pass Completion Rate Against: 78%
Top rusher: James Robinson (16 carries for 62 yards and 0 TDs)
Top receiver: Keelan Cole (5 receptions for 47 yards and 1 TD)
Top tackler: Josh Jones (12 tackles)
Key Additions: LB Joe Schobert, CB CJ Henderson (rookie), RB Chris Thompson, TE Tyler Eifert, EDGE K”Lavon Chaisson (rookie), DL Timmy Jernigan, WR Laviska Shenault (rookie)
Key Losses: DE Rodney Gunter (retired / medical), EDGE Yannick Ngakoue, S Ronnie Harrison, CB A.J. Bouye, QB Nick Foles, RB Leonard Fournette, WR Marqise Lee, TE Nick O’Leary, LB Preston Brown
The Titans lead the all-time series 30-21
What Happened In The Last Game?
After a quiet 7-3 affair in the first half, the Titans exploded for 28 unanswered points in a span of fewer than 7 minutes of game time in the third quarter. Tennessee won the game 42-20 after a few garbage time points from the Jaguars.
Keys to a Titans Victory
- Get Derrick Henry Going - Henry predictably struggled against a wounded but stout Broncos defense, rushing for over 100 yards but it took 31 attempts to get there. In comes a Jacksonville team that is absolutely terrified of him. The Titans OL must regain its form in order to get the play-action passing game going and not become one-dimensional sitting ducks. Attack a secondary that doesn’t have Ronnie Harrison (traded to Cleveland).
- WIN THE PERIMETER - The Titans are reaching into the back end of their depth chart so soon due to key injuries, namely A.J. Brown, Malcolm Butler, and Adoree Jackson. Defensively, Jackson remains out, which forced a surprise start from rookie Chris Jackson (no relation, he played well). Butler will be a game-time decision with a no practice Friday designation. Brown was declared out with a bone bruise so the stretched thin receiver room gets even thinner. Corey Davis must repeat his Monday Night Football performance along with the tight end room. While the Jaguars are a mere shell of their former selves, they still have talent. They have two of the more promising pass rushers in the form of Josh Allen and rookie K’lavon Chaisson to wreak havoc. They have plenty of outside weapons to test the Titans secondary depth as well as with rookie Laviska Shenault (who was used like he was at Colorado i.e. everywhere) and speedster D.J. Chark. Can the wounded Titans secondary match up? Do the Jaguars even have to respect the Titans’ passing game and not load the box?
- Adjustments - The Titans finally adjusted to the Broncos repeatedly going after them with TE Noah Fant at halftime and he was largely ineffective in the second half. This coaching staff has a history of making the correct adjustments to win ugly no matter how it gets there. In order to beat a medically superior Jaguars team, they must do so again.
Keys to a Jaguars Victory
- Contain 98 and 99 - Jadaveon Clowney and Big Jeffery Simmons were dominant on Monday Night and they set the tone for the Titans defense. Simmons was simply monstrous during a key goal-line stand, snuffing out a crazy 4th down shuttle pass attempt while moving a good 5 yards laterally doing so. Clowney was impressive, flashing his skillset, and just blowing past Broncos lineman with ease multiple times. It’s clear what he means for the Titans. The Jaguars offensive line is a shade more talented than the Broncos so it will be a taller task. Both tackles must be hyper-aware of these two on top of a “questionable” Vic Beasley (if healthy and mentally right, he has the potential to repeat a shade of his 2016 season). Can the Jags OL unit do it?
- Uncomfortable Titans OL - The Titans’ offensive line has issues on the interior with Ben Jones and Nate Davis performing not up to par Monday night. While Timmy Jernigan isn’t what he used to be, he’s still talented with an able-bodied Abry Jones carrying the load. Can the Jaguars pass rush that lost star Yannick Ngakoue can do something? The Titans had an almighty scare when left tackle Taylor Lewan went down for a few plays on a noncontact injury so they will be on high alert.
What are the odds?
(all odds courtesy of vegasinsider.com)
The WestGate Superbook has the money line as Titans -360 favorites to the Jags’ +300 dogs. They have Tennessee as a 7.5 point favorite and the over/under at 44 even.
William Hill has the money line as Titans -360 favorites to the Jags +300 dogs. They have the Titans as 7.5 point favorites. O/U is 44 even.
Caesar’s has Tennessee as -355 favorites to the Jags +285 dogs. They also have the Titans as 7.5 point favorites with the O/U at 44.5.
JACKSONVILLE 24 Tennessee 20