As good as the Jacksonville Jaguars were last season, they could not beat the Tennessee Titans
The Jacksonville Jaguars face off this Sunday against division rival Tennessee Titans. Like most Jaguars fans, I hate the Titans with a passion. Painstaking are the memories of the Jaguars 1999 season in which they went 14-2 but lost to the Titans three times, including in the AFC Championship that year (9-year-old me cried).
And, while the Jaguars were really good last season, they lost to the Titans twice.
Through two games this season, the Titans haven’t been good. On the offensive side of the ball, the Titans rank 25th in total offense and are rank 22nd in points per game. Defensively, the Titans are giving up the 24th most yards and the 16th most points in the entire league.
So, while it would be easy for the Jaguars to chalk this match-up as a win, the Jags must not get complacent against a Titans team that always plays the Jags tough. To do that, the Jaguars must learn from their losses to the Titans last year and not repeat the same mistakes.
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September 17, 2017 Titans 37-16
The final score in this matchup doesn’t quite tell the whole story as the score midway through the third quarter was only 9-3 Titans. Other indications that this game was closer than the box-score were the facts that the Titans only had one more first down than the Jags (21 to 20) and the time of possession differed only by little more than a minute and a half (30:46 to 29:14).
The problem was twofold: (1) the Jaguars turned the ball over 3 times, and (2) the Titans ran all over the Jaguars.
This game saw Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles not only fumble the ball but also throw two interceptions. However, the two picks both came off tipped balls from Jaguars receivers and both balls absolutely should have been caught. In other words, these weren’t bad throws by Bortles.
Regarding the Titans rushing attack, Jacksonville allowed the Titans to run for 179 yards. Specifically, Titans running back Derrick Henry ran for 92 yards and a score on 14 carries (6.6-yard average). Any football team in the NFL is going to have a tough time winning if they give that amount of yards up on the ground.
Thankfully, the Titans have been mediocre thus far this season running the ball. Henry is only averaging 2.9 yards per carry and new running back addition Dion Lewis is averaging 3.9 yards per carrying. It also worth mentioning that the Jaguars improved significantly in the second half of the season last year with the addition of run-stuffing defensive tackle Marcell Dareus.
December 31, 2017 Titans 15-10
This game really irked me and here’s why. It was the last game of season. The Jaguars had already clinched the AFC South for a playoff berth and the Titans needed to win against the Jags to get into the playoffs. Jacksonville didn’t need to play their starters which most would have considered smart in order to rest these players for the Playoffs. However, the Jaguars played their starters and I was okay with that.
Jacksonville had gotten embarrassed earlier in the season by the Titans and wanted to get revenge and additionally, they wanted to keep the Titans out of the postseason. I don’t think this angle was covered enough by the local media but to me, it was flat out embarrassing to lose that game considering the above That being said, at least we got the last laugh, as Malik Jackson made clear.
There’s no question that Jacksonville’s defense did its part in this game by limiting the Titans to 15 points for a total of 232 yards. The problem again lied in the turnover battle where Jacksonville gave the ball up four times. Blake Bortles threw two interceptions. But unlike the previous matchup, these picks were just plain bad throws.
This game also saw wide receivers Keelan Cole and Jaydon Mickens both fumble the ball. Ask any coach in the NFL and they will tell you how difficult it is to win football games turning the ball over that much.
Jaguars Will Not Let History Repeat Itself
As demonstrated last week versus the New England Patriots, Jacksonville proved they can beat a good team. However, Jacksonville must handle their business against the Titans. Great teams shouldn’t lose to bad ones.
If Jacksonville can limit their turnovers and their defense can stop the run, there is no way either quarterbacks Marcus Mariota (who is questionable with an elbow injury) or backup Lame Gabbert beat the Jaguars through the air.
This is for 9-year-old me. Jaguars win 34-13.