The Tennessee Titans are in Jacksonville to take on the Jaguars tonight and the Jags have something to prove. They’re already 0-2 on the season, with one loss in the AFC South, and they’re not looking much better than they did last year.
However, they have a few tricks up their sleeves and are determined to start to make a difference. The Titans could also give them a little bit of help, especially if they continue to make some of the same clumsy mistakes they made in their 19-17 loss against the Indianapolis Colts last week.
A key to the Jags’ offense has routinely been running back Leonard Fournette. However, he can’t carry the team alone. He showed this last week when, despite being in the game for 96 percent of the time, the Jags still lost to the Houston Texans. He was also in for over 86 percent of the team’s loss at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs a week earlier. John DeFilippo, the team’s new offensive coordinator, might be ready to mix things up a bit in order to try and tilt the scales in the Jags’ favor.
Quarterback Gardner Minshew has to bring his A-game if the offense is going to reach the end zone. He’s a good short-distance passer, but isn’t always the best when it comes to throwing under pressure. This could be due to his inexperience (he’s only 23), but it’s time to step up and become more consistent. His performance in the first quarter will determine the pace of the Jags’ offense for the rest of the game.
The Titans are definitely ready to turn up the heat, especially on defense. The 1-1 team lost at the hands of the Indianapolis Colts, 19-17, and they’re going to be looking for a bounce-back. This will be their second road game and they want it to be their second win of the season. The defense performed well against the Cleveland Browns, holding them to just one for ten on third downs in a game that analysts had predicted to end much closer. The 43-13 blowout proved that the defense had their heads in the game the entire time and tonight won’t be any different. The Titans loss last week was an offensive fumble, as the defense held the Colts to just 4.4 yards a play and forced two turnovers.
On the offensive side of the ball, Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota has easily fallen into a rhythm, connecting often with tight end Delanie Walker. Walker already has nine receptions and 94 yards, together with two touchdowns, on the season. If he hadn’t been absent most of last season due to injury, his career 36 touchdowns would have been much higher.
The Titans and the Jaguars have meet four times out of five seasons on a Thursday night prior to today’s game. They missed 2017 when the NFL decided it would be a boring game, even though both teams went on to make it into the playoffs. Looking back at the history books, they are dead even on their wins. The Jags took the victory in 2014 and 2015, but the Titans scored the win in 2015 and 2017. Not that such limited statistics are a good gauge, but that would mean that the Jags are due to win tonight’s game.
However, this doesn’t look very likely. In addition to the fact that the Titans seem to have a slightly more organized team on both offense and defense, the Jags have not been able to develop a rhythm that is consistent enough to secure the victory. The defense seems to lose stamina in the fourth quarter, and this is going to prove costly against the well-developed Titans.