You gotta love starting off your season by battling it out with your number one rival. The Titans are the only team that defeated Jaguars the year they made their true Superbowl run. The Jaguars lost to them twice in the regular season and then lost again in the AFC Championship game. The Titans went on to lose the Super Bowl by one yard. This season gave cause for Jeff Fisher to boil the blood of many when he said “playing at Jacksonville is like playing at home.” Screw you, buddy.
Last year we started off the season with a game against them. The weather was nasty humid in Jacksonville and the Jaguars just hadn’t got into the swing of the game yet. How could they? They just booted Byron Leftwich in favor of David Garrard. The defence didn’t look ready, either. The Titans ran down our throats and defeated the Jaguars 13-10. It gave cause for the media to talk about the Jaguars’ conditioning. Well, Jack Del Rio hopes that won’t be a problem this year. He kept his starters in games much longer this time around.
The Jaguars took vengeance against the Titans when they went to play them at home last year. Not only did the Jaguars defeat them, Fred Taylor got his 10,000th yard that game. Can they defeat them at home this year to start the season off on the right foot?
The Jaguars are playing with raised expectations after last year success but in order to meet those expectations they are going to have to battle it out with divisional foes. We face all three of them within the first four weeks. The Jaguars must start off strong in order to contend with the rest of the AFC South since it is an extremely competitive division. The Titans are the first ones. They must win this game.
Vic’s Ten Things
Here are 10 things the Jaguars have to do to beat the Titans in Sunday’s season-opener.
1. Stop the run—The Titans want to run the ball; must run the ball. Stop the Titans’ running game and you stop the Titans.
2. Achieve balance—The Jaguars have the quarterback now to keep the eighth man out of the box, and that should allow the Jaguars’ running game to be even more effective.
3. Make him be a passer—No scramble yards; Vince Young must be kept in the pocket and forced to make plays with his arm.
4. Win special teams—Jeff Fisher likes to spring a special teams surprise and he’s had an entire summer to prepare one. The Jaguars had a whole summer, too.
5. Focus—Distractions must be eliminated. This is the regular season. This is a division game in a season in which the expectation is for the Jaguars to win a division title. Embrace the importance of this game.
7. Show your worth—A lot of money has been invested in the Jaguars’ receiving corps. It’s time for it to pay dividends.
8. Quiet the crowd—A whole offseason of energy will be released across the country this weekend, which will make it very difficult for visiting teams. What do you do to defeat it? Control the ball and win time of possession. Long, sustained drives by the opposition are demoralizing for the home folks.
9. Make the heat your ally—That’s what the Titans did in Jacksonville last year and it was embarrassing for the Jaguars.
10. Win the turnover battle—Ok, let’s get this out of the way right now. Winning the turnover battle is always number one, but I don’t want to write that week after week after week, so let’s acknowledge right now the importance of winning the turnover battle and I won’t bore you with that coachspeak any more this season.
Jaguars: C Brad Meester (left, biceps), WR Jerry Porter (hamstring), and DT Derek Landri (quadriceps) are out. CB Scott Starks (pectoral) is questionable. TE Greg Estandia (knee), G Maurice Williams (knee) and WR Reggie Williams (hamstring) are probable.
Titans: DT Jason Jones (elbow) and RB Quinton Ganther (hamstring) are questionable. QB Vince Young (hamstring) is probable
Not on the injury report is Richard Collier who, after being shot in a Jacksonville neighborhood, is still recovering in a local hospital. He is still in intensive care but is recovering slowly.
The Jaguars have the best record on opening day in the NFL at 9-4. Obviously the data is skewed because of how long the Jaguars have been the league but hey, I’ll take it.
I am hoping for a defensive bloodbath. Vince Young is just not very good at that whole “throwing touchdowns and not interceptions” thing. Also, our run defense looked good in every game this preseason except the Dolphins game (the game where EVERYONE looked bad). Reggie Nelson is going to at least get one pick. However, the offensive might take a while to warm up, leading people to ask if David Garrard has faded back into mediocrity. The Jaguars are going to pull of a win after banding together like a team in support of Collier.