This rivalry is a prime example of some good old fashioned hate between two franchises.    These two teams have met 47 times and the Titans hold a 27-20 series lead, including winning the last three.  This Thursday will mark the 48th time the two teams will meet, and the Titans have a lot at stake in this game.  Last game was a bare-knuckled boxing match with the Titans prevailing 9-6.  That game is a perfect reference to this rivalry.  Will Thursday’s game be another ugly slug fest?

Titans Offense vs Jaguars Defense

The Titans offense has been inconsistent to say the least.  This Titans team looked like a dark horse Super Bowl contender after thrashing the Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots in back to back matchups.  Then looked like a team limping through the season and trying to make it to the offseason against the Texans, Colts, and  Jets the next three weeks.

Fortunately, the Titans are a completely different team at home.  At home, the Titans are 4-1, with their sole loss being the ill-fated Ravens game.  The Titans score an average of 21.2 points per game at home and allow 18.6 points per game.  On the road, the Titans are 2-4 and score 16 points per game as opposed to allowing 22 points per game.

In their last game, the strength of the Titans game was their pass blocking.  According to Pro Football Focus, the Titans pass blocking unit scored a grade of 74.1.  At the time, the Jaguars defense was playing lights out.  Marcus Mariota was significantly less than 100% with an elbow injury during that game too.  The passing game as a whole has improved compared to earlier this season.  Pair an improved passing game with an improving Derrick Henry and this is an advantage for the Titans.

Titans Defense vs Jaguars Offense

Cody Kessler is starting for the Jaguars again Thursday after getting his first NFL win against the Colts last week.  There isn’t a lot that can be taken away from the Jaguars win last week, it was an ugly 6-0 win.  To their credit, the Jaguars did find a way to win without star suspended running back Leonard Fournette.

Fournette returns from his one game suspension this week and is likely to have a chip on his shoulder.  He will likely try to run all over the Titans.  That could prove to be problematic for the Titans, given their recent struggles to defend the run.  In order to stop Fournette from dominating the Titans on the ground, Wesley Woodyard needs to rise to the occasion.

Woodyard has struggled in his last three games, taking odd angles at tackles.  In fact, the last three games, Woodyard has had less than 10 total tackles each game.  For the Titans to walk away from Nissan Stadium with a win, Woodyard needs to show up for the boys.

 

Prediction

Titans 21 Jaguars 9

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