Fight for the AFC South
Tennessee and Jacksonville entered the season on two completely different paths.
The Titans, coming off of an AFC Championship berth, are looking to make a push for the Super Bowl while the Jags, coming off of a 6-10 season, shipped off many of their top-tier talent in an apparent tank season.
However, after Week 1, both teams are in a position to take sole position at the top of the AFC South.
Surprisingly, Jacksonville posted an impressive 27 points against an AFC South favorite Indianapolis Colts. Gardner Minshew’s highly efficient 19 of 20 passing day ranked among one of the best completion percentages in a game in NFL history.
After cutting Leonard Fournette and trading Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue, the Jaguars are now left with only Myles Jack from their surprising run to the AFC Championship game from three years ago. A team that had once looked promising with one of the most dangerous defenses in the league has completely retooled, looking to rebuild a roster behind a young EDGE in Josh Allen.
Meanwhile, the Titans looked like they hadn’t missed a beat in their Monday Night season opener against the Broncos. The Titans racked up 377 yards of offense while Tannehill attempted 43 pass attempts while Derrick Henry racked up another 100-yard game.
While the Titans still found efficiency on offense, the team struggled to score touchdowns, often settling for field goals.
Unfortunately for the Titans, it seems that the kicking woes from last season have carried over as Gostkowski missed an astonishing three field-goal attempts and an extra point kick before hitting the game-winner. While the special teams struggled mightily, almost handing away the game, the defense did not look much different from last season despite some key departures and change in the defensive coordinator.
Newly signed marquee free agent Jadeveon Clowney ended up with zero sacks in the game, though it was evident that he, Harold Landry and Jeffery Simmons were a factor all night long. While the Titans gave up more yards than they should have to a young Broncos team, the Titans goal-line defense was again on display with continual stops at the 1-yard line.
The Titans will look to find their flow and footing more against a very beatable Jaguars team. In last year’s matchups, the teams split the series. However, while the first game was a loss led by quarterback Marcus Mariota, the second game victory was with Ryan Tannehill under center.
The Jaguars will look to attack the right side of the offensive line with Josh Allen and Adam Gotsis. If the Titans can continue to pound the ball with Henry, who has had some of his best games against the Jaguars, the Titans can sit cushy atop the AFC South. While the Titans will miss A.J. Brown, Corey Davis will have an opportunity to show his top-tier NFL talent against this middling Jaguars secondary.
On the defensive side, the Titans must stop Minshew’s efficient passing to their sneaky good receivers. The Titans faced little competition last week with Cortland Sutton missing the game, however, the Jaguars passing attack is a bit more daunting with D.J. Chark, Keelan Cole, and Laviska Shenault. The Titans won’t have to worry about a bruising run game without Fournette and should look to limit the Jaguars passing attack.
Whether or not this game is close or a blowout will depend on if the Titans can score touchdowns and limit the Jaguars passing attack. Regardless, the Titans should not come out of this game with a loss.