Week 17 is here. It can be really simple for the Tennessee Titans. If they beat the Jacksonville Jaguars at Nissan Stadium they are in the playoffs. In all likelihood, they would earn another game against these same Jaguars, this time at EverBank field as the 6th seed. It isn’t an impossible task even though the Titans have lost three straight and have played less than inspired football. They defeated Jacksonville at EverBank field back on September 17th by a score of 37 to 16.
That game featured 36 rushing attempts and 179 yards on the ground and 3 touchdowns on the ground. The interesting about that is that none of the rushing touchdowns were by guys named Murray or Mariota like you would expect. Derrick Henry got the parade going in the second quarter with a 17-yard burst. A little under 4 minutes later Delaine Walker added a one-yard score on an end around play and with 4:14 left in the fourth quarter Jalston Fowler finished up the Titans scoring for the day with a 3-yard run. The Titans offensive line imposed their will the entire day and took a pass rush that had 10 sacks the prior week and only gave up two. Marcus Mariota only threw the ball 27 times and he was picked off once by linebacker Telvin Smith but the protection was there.
Running the Football
Getting the ground game going was a key to the earlier victory and it will be a key this Sunday. Starting running back DeMarco Murray was injured late the last game against the Los Angeles Rams. Reports from ESPN’s Adam Schefter indicated that Murray has a 3rd degree MCL tear but that he will try and play through it. Team sources have not ruled him out but Titans Head coach Mike Mularkey has said that it will most likely be in a limited role if he plays.
That could open the door for Derrick Henry to run right through. Henry has averaged over 4 and a half yards each time he has carried the football. The second-year Henry is the running back of the future. Titan fans hope he can be the running back of right now as well. In limited action, Henry has rushed 34 times for 165 yards and two touchdowns. That comes out at 4.8 yards per carry. I think Tennessee fans will be able to live with that. I think they can plan on watching the Titans in the playoffs also.