Jaguars vs. Titans: 3 keys to victory in winner-takes-all game in Week 18

Fans of the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field (Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images)
Fans of the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field (Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images) /
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Head coach Doug Pederson knows what’s at stake when the Jacksonville Jaguars play the Tennessee Titans in Week 18. He’s also aware he can’t let his players get too worked up ahead of the “winner-takes-all-matchup”.

“That’s exactly what it is, it’s a playoff game”, Pederson told the local media Wednesday. “And when you keep going with a football team, it’s about how we handle the week because the emotions are going to run high.

“And you just gotta pace yourself throughout the course of the week and turn it loose Saturday night. But I think the guys have really good job the last couple of days handling all that”, Pederson said.

The Jags can still earn a playoff berth if they lose to Tennesee but they would need immense help. That’s why they’re better off taking care of business at home. With that in mind, here are three keys to victory in this winner-takes-all bout.

3. The Jaguars must stop Titans RB Derrick Henry for 4 quarters

Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry (22) and Jacksonville Jaguars LB Foyesade Oluokun (23) at Nissan Stadium /

Running back Derrick Henry has always had success running against Jacksonville and he’s arguably the Titans’ best bet to win in Week 18. This is why stopping him must be the defense’s top priority.

In their first matchup of the season, Henry logged 96 yards on 11 carries in just the first quarter. Based on how dominant he was, it seemed like he would have no trouble crossing the 200-yard mark. But then, something happened and the Jaguars took King Henry’s crown in the second quarter, holding him to a paltry two rushing yards.

In Tennessee’s defense, they were trailing by 13 points in the third quarter, so they had to abandon the run in order to have a chance to tie the game. However, that doesn’t make it any less impressive that the Jaguars were able to neutralize Henry. Their chances of winning Saturday will increase considerably if they do it again.