Titans-Jaguars Preview: Can The Titans Avoid Slipping Up In a Potential Trap Game Against The Jags? – BlackSportsOnline
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Titans-Jaguars Preview: Can The Titans Avoid Slipping Up In a Potential Trap Game Against The Jags?

It’s back to work for the Tennessee Titans this weekend, as they head down to Jacksonville to take on the 1-11 Jaguars.

This game isn’t a marquee matchup, nor is it a game that media would be running to cover. But it’s still important to the Titans’ hopes to win a division title, and even their standing in a crowded AFC playoff field.

How the Titans respond early in this game will be important, because if you get off to a slow start and allow a bad team to stick around, you don’t know how the game could turn out.

It’s a classic AFC south rivalry game, with the stakes only being high for one team in this contest.

Let’s preview it.

Major Storylines Heading Into The Game

The Titans Continue Their March Towards a Potential AFC South Title

The Tennessee Titans haven’t won a division title since 2008. That was when Kerry Collins replaced the injured Vince Young, and relied on the rushing duo of electric rookie Chris Johnson and a slightly more experienced bruising back in LenDale White.

To compliment the punishing ground attack, the Titans possessed one of the most physical, dominating defenses in all of football. Tennessee rode the ground game and their defense to a 13-3 record, and the top seed in the AFC for the playoffs, before losing to the Baltimore Ravens in the divisional round.

It was the best season the Titans had in years, before ultimately heading right back to purgatory.

Fast forward to 2020, and the Titans have a chance to at least duplicate some of the achievements the 2008 team accomplished, which is to win a division title and host a playoff game.

But they still have a long way to go to do that, and it all starts with tomorrow’s game against Jacksonville.

If Mike Vrabel’s team takes care of business during the next 2 weeks with matchups against Jacksonville and Detroit, along with a loss or two from the Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee has a shot to win the division before the regular season concludes.

But step one is to handle Jacksonville, then go on from there.

Jacksonville Is Bad, But They Play Scrappy Football

The Jaguars are 1-11, but if you’ve watched them play, you’d know that they’re a few breaks away from being 4-8 or 5-7, instead of 1-11.

They almost beat the Titans in week 2, before losing the game by a mere 3 points. Green Bay almost lost to Jacksonville as well, as they had to scratch and claw just to win by 4 points at home. Minnesota barely squeaked by the Jaguars, needing overtime to seal the game away. Cleveland needed a first down on their last drive just to put the game on ice, and would’ve been even more on the ropes had Jacksonville gotten the ball back down 2 with a chance to drive down the field and win the game.

The moral of the story here is, the Jaguars aren’t some pushover, even though their record might say so.

They play free, fearless football, and that style has left a few teams struggling to effectively close out games against this young football team.

Jacksonville has the ingredients to make this a true trap game if the Titans aren’t careful, which is why this team has to stay engaged all day long on both sides of the ball.

If they don’t, they could find their selves in some trouble.

Matchups to Watch

1. Derrick Henry vs. Jaguars Defensive Front

Over the years, we’ve become accustomed to seeing Derrick Henry run wild against the Jaguars. But in the week 2 meeting between these 2 teams, Jacksonville made it a mission to slow down Henry, making him rush for only 84 yards on 25 carries.

Jacksonville will be asked to limit the damage Henry can do once again this week, but they’ll be attempting to do so during a month in which Henry can really get going in the run game.

If the Jags can slow Henry down, and get their chances to pin their ears back and rush the passer, this could turn into a pretty interesting game.

2. James Robinson vs. Titans Defensive Front

A double dip with the running backs today, since both of these guys lead the charge for their respective offenses.

James Robinson finished with 102 yards on 16 carries for an average of 6.4 yards per carry the last time these 2 teams met. He ran hard, and simply gashed this Titans defense each time he got the rock.

He’ll have a tougher test this time around though, as the Titans haven’t given up a single 100 yard rushing performance since Dalvin Cook ran wild in week 3.

But if Robinson can get going early and often against this Titans defense tomorrow, it’ll open up a world of possibilities for this Jaguars offense, even with Mike Glennon getting the starting nod at quarterback.

X-Factors

Tennessee Titans: iDL Jeffery Simmons

Jeffery Simmons has been the best player on this Titans defense this season. He’s been force as a run defender, and has made a habit of taking offensive linemen for a ride whenever the opportunity arises on passing downs.

That sort of play will be needed tomorrow against Jacksonville since they love to run the football, and the fact that QB Mike Glennon doesn’t handle interior pressure all that well.

Wrecking this Jags offense won’t be easy especially with the concerning corner situation, but with a player like Simmons manning the middle, it’s definitely possible.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Jaguars WRs

The Titans will be down 3 corners tomorrow, with Adoree Jackson, Breon Borders, and Kristian Fulton all likely out for the game.

That leaves Malcolm Butler as the only regular starter at boundary corner, leaving the other spot opposite him in a little bit of a pickle. Tye Smith would be the first in line to receive snaps opposite Malcom Butler, which presents its own problems in itself.

Collin Johnson, Laviska Shenault Jr., Keelan Cole, whoever gets those snaps with Tye Smith across from them, should be able to find some success throughout the game. It’s a favorable matchup, one that could be the deciding factor in whether this game stays close all day long, or if the Titans pull away and put this game to bed early.

Prediction

Tennessee is well coached, and well motivated for situations like these.

A heated playoff race is still going on, any sort of slip up and you could find yourself scrambling to put yourself back in position. This game screams “trap game”, but I still think the Titans get it done and move to 9-4.

Titans: 30

Jaguars: 21



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