As a fan of an NFL team, the bye week is always a good time to relax and take your mind off the sport that sometimes drives you crazy. Maybe spend some quality time with your friends and family, or just have a nice “you” day.
Or, if you have a bit of an addiction like me, you spend six hours on the couch fretting over the result of other games that may or may not have a small impact on your team’s playoff chances.
It’s your call.
Either way, the bye week for the Titans is over and it seems to have come at the right time. Jurrell Casey, Corey Davis and Jayon Brown look to all be returning from injury after missing the Week 10 match-up against the Chiefs. All three should play significant roles down the stretch as the Titans try to maneuver their way into the playoffs for just the second time in the last decade.
The Titans are 5-5 after 10 games for the third time in four years. The other instances didn’t end too well for the Titans, as they fell short of the playoffs in both 2016 and 2018. They’ll have to overcome a tough remaining schedule (3rd toughest in the NFL based on win percentage) in order to make it back to the playoffs, but with four of the remaining games against teams above them in the AFC Playoff picture, they control their destiny at this point.
A home win against the Jacksonville Jaguars would be a step in the right direction. Let’s take a closer look at this divisional match-up.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Tennessee Titans (-3.5)
Game Time: 3:05pm CST
Location: Nashville, TN (Nissan Stadium)
TV Broadcast Crew: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Evan Washburn
Radio: Titans Radio, 104-5 The Zone
Radio Broadcast Crew: Mike Keith, Dave McGinnis, Amie Wells, Jonathan Hutton, Rhett Bryan
Over/ Under: 41.5
Stat Corner with Matt:
I don’t think most Titans’ fans would categorize this team’s offense as “explosive.” It has certainly been better since Ryan Tannehill took over as the starter in week 7. There’s no denying that, but I don’t think anyone would mistake this Titans team for the Ravens or Chiefs.
But since Tannehill took over for Mariota, the Titans are the No. 1 offense in explosive play rate, according to Sharp Football Stats. They’re No. 6 in explosive pass play rate, but hold the top spot in explosive run play rate. In case you needed any more of an indictment on the Martiota-led offense, the Titans ranked 17th in explosive play rate in weeks 1-6 (No. 17 in explosive run rate, No. 20 in explosive pass rate).
Staying out of long 2nd and 3rd downs was this offense’s main issue in the first six weeks of the season, and Tannehill has done a better job of keeping this offense ahead of the chains. No, he’s not taking shots 60 yards down the field every game, but his 8.5 yards per attempt puts him at No. 5 in the NFL. Tannehill has been able to consistently move the ball in the right direction, which is more than this offense could say in the first six weeks of the season.
Now, if they could just chill out with the penalties…
3 Things to Watch:
Derrick Henry: The last time the Jaguars came to Nissan Stadium, Derrick Henry sort of had a decent day… if you call 238 yards and four TDs a decent day. Henry began his historic end of the season run last year at home against the Jaguars, which ended with seven TDs in his final four games. This year, the week 3 match-up between these two teams was very one sided, with Jacksonville finishing the game with nine sacks on Mariota. This is a very different Titans team, but look for them to try and get Henry going early and often like they did last year in Nashville.
Calais Campbell vs. Everybody: Calais Campbell embarrassed the Titans’ offensive line in the week 3 match-up. There’s just no other way to say it. Campbell finished with six tackles, three sacks, four tackles-for-loss, and five QB hits. He lined up all across the line and beat everyone who lined up against him. He’s struggled since then, only totaling 2.5 sacks in his last seven games, but he’s someone who can impact a game single handedly and disrupt a game plan. The Titans can’t let that happen.
AFC South Playoff Picture: With the Colts’ loss to the Texans Thursday night, the Titans have the chance to pull even with the Indy with a win this week. That would mean next week’s match-up at Lucas Oil Stadium would be kind of a big deal for the playoff push both teams are hoping to make. The Titans still have two match-ups with the Texans, so a loss against Jacksonville wouldn’t statistically eliminate them from the playoffs, but according to FiveThirtyEight, it would put them down at a 6 percent chance to make the playoffs. And at that point, all the Jim Carrey “So you’re tellin’ me there’s a chance” gifs would come out, which I’m not opposed to honestly. Regardless, the Titans need a win this week to keep their playoff dreams alive.
My Prediction: Titans 17 Jaguars 10
I expect this game to be a classic “Jags vs. Titans” match-up. That means it won’t be a fun game to watch unless you’re a fan of 1970s-style football. Nick Foles hasn’t quite gelled with the offense yet and I expect the Titans to control the clock with Derrick Henry, who will score two TDs.