This Saturday the Tennessee Titans head south for much warmer weather for an AFC South divisional match up against the Jacksonville Jaguars in a special Christmas Eve edition of football. The Titans are coming off an incredible win at Arrowhead Stadium against the Kansas City Chiefs in a game that was played in bone-chilling frigid temperatures. One degree to be exact.
At this time, the kick off temperature in Jacksonville is looking to be in the 75 degree range, which will be most welcomed by the Titans.
While not technically in first place, the Titans are currently in the driver’s seat for the AFC South crown. They control their own destiny one game at a time. The Titans could get some big help from the Cincinnati Bengals this week when they face the Houston Texans, who are currently in control of the division. The Texans sent a huge message to QB Brock Osweiler, also known as the $72 million mistake, by benching him in favor of the 135th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, Tom Savage.
"“In this locker room, we don’t doubt,” tight end Delanie Walker"
If the Titans take care of business in Jacksonville and Tom Savage manages to get his first career win against the Bengals this week, the Titans and Texans match up in Week 17 turns into an impromptu playoff game.
Rewinding back to the Titans previous match up with the Jaguars in Week 8, the Titans made them look like my former high school’s football team – and that’s not a compliment. The Titans dominated every facet of that game and the Titans need to do it again. Football analysts around the league are starting to give the Titans credit. The Titans are playing old school smash-mouth football, let me rephrase that, exotic smash-mouth football in a pass happy league and are finding success.
The Titans are built for playoff football. Quarterback Marcus Mariota has shown incredible growth and maturity in his sophomore season, the defense is attacking, the offensive line is one of the best in the league, and the scary running back tandem of DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry is brutalizing defenses.
I suspect that the Titans will continue to give Henry more touches to ensure that Murray can be as healthy as possible for a potential playoff push. Henry was tremendously underutilized in the first half of the season, but is seeing his reps and touches increase almost weekly as we come down the stretch.
The Jaguars are licking their wounds after collapsing against the Texans in Week 16, which ultimately sealed Gus Bradley’s fate as the Head Coach. Interim HC Doug Marrone will be stepping in and could spark a little fire under the Jaguars just like when Titans’ HC Mike Mularkey took over for Ken Whisenhunt during last season. The Jaguars are viewed as pushovers, but they generally play the Titans tough, as expected in a division rivalry.
In a game that has playoff implications and a team that is on cloud nine after Sunday’s spectacular win, I’m going with the Titans with a final score of 31-20.