The Tennessee Titans (2-2) travel to Florida for their second consecutive road game, this week with their AFC South rival, the Jacksonville Jaguars (0-4).
Week 4 was a newsworthy week for both teams, but for two completely different reasons.
For the Titans, a 27-24 overtime loss to the New York Jets dampened momentum from a two-game winning streak. A Jets offense that had struggled with a rookie quarterback found some life via big plays and were able to fight their way back after the Titans were forced to kick three first half field goals.
As for the Jaguars, most of their news came from off-the-field. Head coach Urban Meyer has spent most of this past week in the news, and it had nothing to do with his team’s 0-4 start. Let’s just leave it at that.
After seeing the second overall pick from the 2021 NFL Draft last week, the Titans get to see the first pick in-person for the first time. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence has thrown for 873 yards, five touchdowns, and seven interceptions in his first four starts.
This is a Jacksonville team that has taken a lead into halftime the last two weeks and lost via a field goal on the final play of the game last Thursday in Cincinnati. As we learned last Sunday, there are no guarantees in the NFL.
Tennessee Titans (2-2) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (0-4)
Game Time: 12:00 pm CDT
Location: Jacksonville, FL (TIAA Bank Field)
TV Broadcast Crew: Tom McCarthy and Tiki Barber
Radio: Titans Radio, 104-5 The Zone
Radio Broadcast Crew: Mike Keith, Dave McGinnis, Amie Wells, Rhett Bryan
Referee: Alex Kemp
Line: Tennessee -4
Over/ Under: 48.5
Three Things to Watch:
Battle for Hidden Yardage – A Jamal Agnew 102-yard kickoff return for a touchdown a few weeks ago might skew this statistic, but the Jaguars currently lead the NFL in kickoff return average. On the other hand, the Titans rank 31st in the league, averaging just 16.1 yards per return. The Titans could benefit offensively from better production in the kick return game, when a kickoff is actually returnable, by improving starting field position. One positive in the return game, Chester Rogers has done well on returning punts, as the Titans are third in the NFL in punt return average. As for Agnew, he has been a playmaker for the Jaguars on special teams, with the kickoff return for a score in Week 2 against Denver and a 109-yard return for a touchdown on a missed field goal in Week 3 versus Arizona. The special teams units for the Titans need to limit the explosive plays for Agnew in the return game.
Secondary Becomes Primary – Both the Jaguars and Titans rank in the back half of the league for average passing yards given up per game. Jacksonville has surrendered an average of 312.3 passing yards to their opponents through four games, which ranks 30th in the NFL. As we saw in New York, and on several occasions the first few weeks, the Titans secondary has been susceptible to big plays down the field. The level of difficulty defending the Titans passing game depends on the status of wide receivers A.J. Brown and Julio Jones, who were both inactive against the Jets. A Jaguars passing attack led by rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence, features Marvin Jones, Laviska Shenault, and D.J. Chark. Which team will limit fewer opportunities in their opponent’s passing game?
Six Instead of Three – Last week in New York, the Titans were forced to kick three field goals on their first three trips inside the red zone. An early 9-0 lead against the Jets could have been even greater if just one or two of those possessions ended in the end zone. After scoring a touchdown on three of every four red zone possessions in 2020 (75%, 2nd in the NFL), through four games, the Titans currently sit at a 50% red zone percentage (tied for 25th in the NFL). Anytime the Titans make it inside the Jaguars 20-yard line, let’s see if they are able to come away with touchdowns and not have to attempt field goals.
Did You Know?
- Since Mike Vrabel’s first season as head coach in 2018, the Titans are 1-4 following a game in which they lost by three points or less. The lone victory came back in 2018, when the Titans lost to the Los Angeles Chargers 20-19 in London after a failed two point conversion with 31 seconds left in the game. After a bye week, the Titans defeated the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football, 28-14.
- After falling to the Jets last week, the trip to Jacksonville is the fourth time in the last five seasons the Titans visit the Jaguars coming off a loss. The Titans are 2-1 in the past three instances, bouncing back from a loss in 2017 and 2020, while falling to the Jaguars in 2019 in a rainy Thursday night game, in which Jacksonville won 20-7.
- If RB Derrick Henry were to rush for 150 yards or more this week, he would accomplish several impressive milestones. Having rushed for 150+ yards in three straight road games, a fourth such performance would be the first time in NFL history that a player ran for at least 150 yards in four consecutive road games. Also, 150 or more rushing yards in this game would mark the eighth time Henry has surpassed the 150-yard mark on the road in his career. Henry is currently tied with Earl Campbell for the franchise record with seven career 150-yard rushing performances in road games.