(Mandatory Image Credit: George Walker IV / Tennessean.com)
Written By: Joseph Yun
In the wake of the firing of long-tenured General Manager Jon Robinson, the Titans are set to host the rival Jaguars. Can they bounce back from a two-game losing streak in what amounts to a get-right game? The Jaguars are a highly competitive team this season under new coach Doug Pederson. A win for Tennessee would inch them closer to clinching yet another division title. A loss ruins the mood and drops them closer to the hapless Colts.
Jaguars’ key numbers + info
Note: All statistics courtesy of pro-football-reference.com
HC: Doug Pederson (45-46-1 career)
OC: Press Taylor
DC: Mike Caldwell
2022 Record: 4-8 (1-2 AFC South)
PPG Against: 22.7
Rush yards: 1,529
Rush yards allowed: 1,363
Avg. per rush attempt: 4.9
Avg per attempt allowed: 4.1
Pass completion rate: 65%
Pass completion allowed: 64%
Leading Rusher: Travis Etienne (148 attempts for 782 yards and four touchdowns)
Leading Receiver: Christian Kirk (62 receptions for 829 yards and seven touchdowns)
Leading Tackler: Foyesade Oluokun (128 tackles; five passes defended, ten tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries, one sack, one pass defense)
Key Additions: LB Travon Walker (rookie), LB Foyesade Oluokun, DL Folorunso Fatukasi, LB Devin Lloyd (rookie), CB Darious Williams, CB Montaric Brown (rookie), LB Arden Key, WR Christian Kirk, WR Zay Jones, TE Evan Engram, OL Brandon Scherff, C Luke Fortner (rookie), RB JaMychal Hasty, WR Calvin Ridley (trade)
Key Losses: C Brandon Linder (retired), RB James Robinson (trade), LB Chad Muma (R / injured), S Andre Cisco (injured), DT Malcolm Brown, RB Ryquell Armstead, WR Laviska Shenault (trade), CB Shaquill Griffin (IR), LB K’Lavon Chaisson (IR), OL Ben Bartch (IR)
Tennessee leads the all-time series by a margin of 34-21. Since the 2018 season when Mike Vrabel was named head coach, the Titans own a 7-1 record. In those seven victories, the average margin has been ten points, which includes last season’s shutout. In that time, Tennessee has scored 179 points to Jacksonville’s 108.
Keys to a Titans Victory
Restart El Tractorcito
- Derrick Henry has struggled to find his form as of late, not surpassing the 50-yard mark in the past three of four contests. Tennessee's lone offensive superstar must get going again to mask all the injuries and inconsistencies. Is it the poor offensive line hindering his play or the wear and tear of the position finally catching up to wunderkind? Whatever it is, he needs to find ownership of his hometown Jacksonville. He has historically dominated the Jaguars, running for over 103 yards and a touchdown on average in 11 career starts.
- Mike Vrabel’s innate ability to manage his way through yet another injury-riddled season will be severely tested again this week. Particularly on defense as multiple starters are out or battling injuries. Starters like Kristian Fulton, Denico Autry, and David Long, Jr are all out. Jeffery Simmons is battling an ankle injury, which has limited his effectiveness. Ryan Tannehill is battling through an ankle issue himself. Rookie receiver Treylon Burks has been declared out for this week after receiving a highly illegal hit by Eagles’ safety Omar Epps last weekend. The Titans’ depth will be strained like never before against a Jaguars squad looking to ruin their highly likely divisional coronation.
Find a passing game
- The Titans’ passing game is beyond horrid even with a fully healthy Tannehill. There is a staunchly hideous paucity of options due to roster mismanagement by the former general manager. It gets even worse without the services of Treylon Burks. Tennessee is all but admitting and begging opposing defenses to load up the box with upwards of nine men at this point. The talent level of the receiving options is so laughably bad that even the worst secondaries can shut them down with ease. Can someone please step up to fill in the gap? Tight ends Chig Okonkwo and Austin Hooper will need to play bigger roles. The lack of adequate cover was brutally and succinctly proved last Sunday, prompting the removal of the GM.
Keys to a Jaguars Victory
Establish. The. Pass
- The Jaguars’ passing attack has gotten back on track and here come the deeply wounded Titans' secondary missing key assets. Jacksonville has a host of weapons such as big-money signing Christian Kirk, veteran Marvin Jones, Jr, and tight end Evan Engram. The Titans will have to cobble together a cornerback group missing star Kristian Fulton and emerging rookie Tre Avery. Tennessee has given up gobs of yardage in the passing attack in the past two games against Cincinnati and Philadelphia. It will be a long day for the Titans’ secondary given the pedigree of the Jaguars’ weapons.
Let Todd Downing Cook
- Todd Downing is one of the most inconsistent play callers of the modern era. He has infuriated many in the Titans' atmosphere with his systemic failures. Even taking Tennessee’s lack of talent into account this year, his calls leave no room for error for an already injured and tired defense. The Jaguars would be wise to let Downing tire himself out until the second half when they can land the winning blow. The Titans are historically awful in the second half, scoring at a minimal rate.
Keep Trevor and Travis Right
- Trevor Lawrence hurt his foot last weekend but likely is on track to play Sunday. If the offensive line can keep him clean, the struggling Titans secondary could be easy pickings for the former first-overall selection. Travis Etienne is proving to be the dynamic weapon he was billed as in his second season. A dual-threat back that can do it all has to be salivating at the thought of facing an Autry-less Tennessee run defense.
Injury Report - Jaguars @ Titans
What are the Odds?
(note: all odds courtesy of vegasinsider.com)
BetMGM has the Titans being four-point favorites at -105, the money line at -210 for Tennessee, and the Jaguars at +170. over/under is set at 41.
Caesar’s has the Titans being 3.5 favorites at -110, the money line at -205 for Tennessee, and the Jaguars at +170. The over/under is set at 41.
WynnBet has the Titans being four-point favorites at -110, the money line at -205 for Tennessee, and the Jaguars at +170. The over/under is set at 40.5.
FanDuel has the Titans being 3.5 point favorites at -118, the money line being -200 for Tennessee, and the Jaguars being +168. over/under is set at 41.5