In 2008, the Tennessee Titans beat the Jacksonville Jaguars at LP Field to start what turned into a magical season. They only won by a touchdown though, but went on to stomp the Bengals 24-7 in week two.
That was only the second time in franchise history the Titans started a season 2-0 (1999 season). They actually went on to go 10-0, which still stands as the best start in franchise history, and finishing 13-3 with the number one seed in the AFC playoff picture. It was a fun season, one that saw Chris Johnson burst onto the scene as a rookie.
The Titans utilized play action and the run game as good as any other team, and because of it, their offense was difficult to contain. Defenses had to respect the man now known as “CJ2K,” and that allowed receivers like Justin Gage to get open on play action routes for quarterback Kerry Collins.
Does that sound familiar? It might remind you of the modern-day Tennessee Titans, who could repeat that 12 seasons later. Derrick Henry and company have a chance to begin a season 2-0 for just the third time in franchise history.
A part of having a magical season is winning games like what we saw on Monday. The Titans escaped an ugly win on Monday, which was promising in its own right. You can’t expect championship caliber teams to always have the game won by halftime. However, you can expect them to win the ugly, close battles more times than not.
The 2008 Titans, who were definitely championship caliber, did that multiple times. The current Titans haven’t had much luck winning the ugly ones aside from Monday, which is why they’ve consistently been 9-7 since 2016. Each season, at least two of the seven losses should have been wins.
When you start a season 2-0, your chances of making the playoffs increase dramatically to over 60%. And the Titans not only have struggled to start seasons strong, but it seems every time they have a chance to begin 2-0, something just goes wrong. For example, last season versus the Colts in week two, bad coaching decisions cost them that chance.
However, Mike Vrabel seems more comfortable in his third season, so hopefully coaching decisions do not cause a loss this time. The Titans have multiple seasons of experience playing together. They look like a unit out there, which can make them tough to beat if you are a team like Jacksonville.
Now, I am going to contradict myself here, but the Titans shouldn’t overlook the Jaguars too much. I mean, they have a pretty decent receiving corps and Gardner Minshew looks to be halfway decent.
Jaguars’ QB Gardner Minshew is the first player to ever throw at least three TD passes and complete at least 95.0 percent of his passes on Kickoff Weekend. In his last two games against the Colts, Minshew has completed 46 of 59 passes for 468 yards, six TDs and one INT.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 13, 2020
However, if the Titans are championship caliber again, this is a game they should expect to win decisively. They should win by at least two touchdowns and have fun versus a team they are clearly better than.
Look for Derrick Henry to have a field day, as always versus Jacksonville, and look for the Titans pass rush to find its stride against Minshew-mania. If the Tennessee Titans are for real, this is the time to make that statement: win a game you should win, and dominate doing so.
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