It’s hard to imagine a time when the Tennessee Titans weren’t the superior team over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Even in their best seasons, the Jaguars managed to get swept by the Titans. Think back to the 1999 season when the Jaguars went 14-2, and lost in the AFC Championship. Can you guess who their three losses were to?
If you guessed the Titans, great job.
These two teams meet again, and Sunday’s game is a pretty big one for the 8-4 Titans. For the 1-11 Jaguars, they can play a game of spoiler over their divisional rivals. That’s always fun, right? And annoying on the other end.
Let’s take a look at where these teams stand and what needs to happen for a Tennessee Titans victory.
TITANS AND JAGUARS ARE LONGTIME ENEMIES
These AFC South rivals have been going at it for decades. They’ve met 52 times with the Tennessee Titans winning the all-time series 31-21-0.
The Titans have won 8 of the last 10 meetings between these clubs. That’s dating all the way back to 2015.
The Titans and Jaguars have shared a division since 1995. From 1995 to 2001, the division was the AFC Central. It consisted of the Oilers/Titans, Jaguars, Browns, Bengals, Ravens, and Steelers.
Then, as a result of the Oilers moving to Nashville, the Houston Texans were born in 2002, and in consequence, so was the AFC South.
In the AFC Central days, the Titans and Jaguars met only 15 times. The Titans had the slight edge in that series, winning eight times.
However, since 2002, when the AFC South was aligned, the Titans have owned the Jaguars, capturing 23 wins and only 14 losses from then until this point.
The Tennessee Titans, which will fly to Jacksonville this week, has a 14-12 all-time record there. Their most recent trip to TIAA Bank Field ended in an embarrassing 20-7 loss on Thursday Night Football in week three of the 2019 season.
Tennessee won the most recent matchup on September 20th 33-30 at Nissan Stadium. The Titans will be looking to sweep the Jaguars for the seventh time in franchise history on Sunday.
ANOTHER RUNNING BACK SHOWDOWN
Last week we got to witness the battle of Derrick Henry and Nick Chubb. Well, at least we thought we were going to.
It ended up being Baker Mayfield having the game of his life and Ryan Tannehill pitching solid numbers in an attempt to mount a comeback.
Thankfully this week we get another chance at a quality running back battle. The Tennessee Titans have the league’s leading rusher in Derrick Henry. The Jacksonville Jaguars have an emerging star in James Robinson.
Robinson is currently third in the NFL in rushing with 968 yards on the season. The undrafted rookie will be vying for his first 1,000-yard season versus the lackluster Titans defense this Sunday.
It’s a real possibility for him to do so, as he’s facing a Titans rush defense ranked 16th in the NFL. The Titans allow opponents to 115.8 rushing yards per game.
Robinson needs just 32 yards to reach 1,000.
Meanwhile, Henry should also be salivating at what he is facing. The Jaguars own the 30th ranked rush defense, allowing opponents to 136.9 yards per game.
Henry had his worst outing of the season versus the Browns, so this is a real chance for him to get right and show he is still the bruising running back we are used to.
Other than the rushing statistics, nothing else is really flattering about the Jaguars. I mean, they do have the 12th ranked red zone defense in the NFL. That’s somewhat noteworthy considering the Titans are 4th in the NFL in red zone offense.
The Titans are the superior team in this matchup. But the Jaguars are more than capable of exposing a poor Titans defense and stealing a win on Sunday.
KEYS TO THE GAME
The Tennessee Titans are the favorites in this one, as they should be. They have more talent on their roster all across the board.
However, we know the old saying in the NFL, it’s any given Sunday.
Here are the keys to winning this Sunday versus the Jaguars.
STOMP ON THEIR THROATS EARLY
The Titans will be missing both defensive backs Adoree Jackson and Breon Borders in this one, so I am not feeling too confident in that secondary, yes even versus Mike Glennon.
#Titans‘ Vrabel: Adoree Jackson out this wk, along with Borders. Tart will sit out due to suspension.
— John Glennon (@glennonsports) December 11, 2020
Sustaining long offensive drives will be helpful in this one, and the Titans will need efficiency from Derrick Henry and company to get out to an early lead.
You don’t want to give a 1-11 team any hope of having a shot in this one. I’m not saying get out to an early 30-0 lead or anything, but what I am saying is get off to a fast start and play with a lead.
TITAN UP ON DEFENSE
The Titans are missing two good cornerbacks, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of stopping Mike Glennon.
I would love to see them dial up more blitzes, make Glennon uncomfortable, and force him into some bad interceptions.
Keeping James Robinson in check could help with that.
I think the Titans did a good job with guys like Nyheim Hines and Nick Chubb, so they are capable of stopping the run when challenged to do so.
TRY AND GET A SPARK PLAY EARLY
This one is a little bit out there, but you’re facing a divisional rival who knows you all too well. The Titans can capture momentum in this game and deflate the Jaguars early if they can get a spark play.
That could mean pulling out some trickery on a kickoff. A fake punt. Maybe pull out the ol’ Derrick Henry jump pass?
An early spark play could boost the Titans’ confidence and momentum and give the offense the fire it needs to take full control of the game.
The Tennessee Titans should win this game, but unfortunately, you don’t earn wins and losses on just being the better team on paper. This team should be fired up after getting thumped by the Browns, so we will see how they respond on Sunday.
Featured image by Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports