The rivalry is renewed in Week 3. The Jacksonville Jaguars (2-0) and the Tennessee Titans (1-1) have become the biggest rivalry in the AFC South mostly due to the last three matchups between the teams. In Week 16 of the 2016 season, the Titans needed a win in Jacksonville to keep their playoff hopes alive. Not only did they lose to the Jaguars, but quarterback Marcus Mariota broke his leg and the season was lost.
In 2017, the Titans visited the Jaguars in Week 2 and blew them out of the stadium, 37-16. In Week 17, they met again in Nashville, with the Jaguars having already clinched the AFC South. However, the Titans won to enter the playoffs, and fans of the two-toned blue were left with the memory of Mariota stiff-arming Barry Church into the ground to clinch the win. Sunday the teams meet again in a big AFC South matchup with both teams coming off of wins.
Location: Everbank Field, Jacksonville, FL
Time: 1:00 ET
Matchup to Watch: Sacksonville vs. Injured Titans O-Line
The Titans are entering this game with their top three tackles dealing with some kind of ailment. Starting left tackle Taylor Lewan is recovering from a concussion and right tackle Jack Conklin is recovering from a torn ACL. Backup Dennis Kelly was hospitalized last week for an illness as well. All three may be ready to play on Sunday, but this is not the week for the line to be beat up.
The Jaguars boast one of the best groups of pass-rushers in the league. Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue, Malik Jackson, and Dante Fowler are known for terrorizing the quarterback. If the Titans are down a tackle or two on Sunday, it could be another long day in Florida for the Tennessee offense.
Will Marcus Mariota Play?
The Titans’ quarterback went down with an elbow injury in Week 1 and missed last week’s game. Mariota is dealing with an ulnar nerve problem that is affecting his ability to grip the football. Backup Blaine Gabbert played well enough to get the win against the Houston Texans, but the Jaguars defense is elite and will bring a much bigger test. Mariota practiced at least in a limited role all of last week and was throwing in practice on Wednesday. It could be a game-time decision, but it will most likely make the difference in this game.
Will Leonard Fournette Play?
For Jacksonville, their centerpiece on offense is banged up as well. Fournette left the Jaguars’ Week 1 game early with a hamstring issue and missed last week’s game. He was limited in practice on Wednesday, but did not practice at all last week. The Jaguars have options behind Leonard Fournette. T.J. Yeldon is a serviceable backup and Corey Grant has proven to be a playmaking change of pace back. However, Fournette will force the Titans to respect the run all game long and open up the passing game for Blake Bortles.
There are still questions about whether the Titans will have Mariota, Lewan, and Conklin. However, even if all three play this Jaguars team is too much to handle at home. Bortles seems to be playing well and putting up points and the defense is not going to be easy for Gabbert or Mariota to score on. If both teams are healthy, it should be a close game, but the Jaguars should get to 3-0 either way.
Jaguars 27 Titans 23