For some reason, NFL fans tend to mention the Jaguars and Titans as a reason why Thursday Night Football has disappointed them over the years. Whether it was coincidental or done by design, those two teams are going to face off on Thursday night yet again.
This time, the Titans are a 5.5-point favorite at MyBookie heading into this AFC South showdown to open up week 14 action.
Jacksonville is averaging 5.2 yards per play this season, which puts them in a tie for 26th in the NFL. Their 16.9 points per game for the season are good for 30th in the league, behind only the Cardinals and Bills. Any time your offense is only better than the Cardinals and Bills, you know that your offense is having some serious problems.
On the ground, the Jaguars are averaging 4.1 yards per carry. That number has them in a tie with the Patriots for 24th in the league, in perhaps the only category a team doesn’t want to be tied with the Patriots in. The team will have Leonard Fournette back this week, after his one-game suspension for trying to fight the entire Buffalo Bills roster. Between injuries and his suspension, the Jaguars haven’t been able to get the most out of Fournette this year, and they have suffered from it.
The Jaguars are 28th in the league in yards per pass attempt, averaging 6.3 yards per attempt. Somehow that number has decreased since Cody Kessler has taken over the starting quarterback job from Blake Bortles, which says everything that needs to be said about the viability of both Bortles and Kessler as starting quarterbacks in this sport. Kessler, in two games this season, has averaged 5.67 yards per pass attempt.
On defense, the Jags are tied for the fourth stingiest unit in the league, allowing just 5.2 yards per play. They have allowed 20.3 points per game on the season, which is good for fifth in the NFL. The skill of their defense was on full display last week, when they had to hold the Colts to zero points to make up for the fact that the offense was only able to score six points of their own.
Against the run, Jacksonville allows 4.1 yards per carry, which is good for a tie for eighth in the NFL. And against the pass, the Jaguars give up a fourth-best 6.3 yards per pass attempt. They also lead the league in trash talk, with Jalen Ramsey finding ways to get his opinions out even when the team loses to the lowly Bills.
Jacksonville would need a miracle at this point just to get to 8-8, let alone make the playoffs. But with their division rivals in the Titans just a game out of the final playoff spot in the AFC, the Jaguars could relish their opportunity to play the role of spoiler here.
Titans Week 7 Outlook
Tennessee is tied with the Jaguars for 26th in the league at 5.2 yards per play. Their 18.4 points per game on the season are good for 28th in the league, just two spots ahead of the Jags. When the Raiders are all that separate your team from being next to the 30th best scoring offense in the league, again, you know you have problems offensively.
On the ground, the Titans move the ball for just four yards per carry, the 29th best average in the league. Derrick Henry was thought to be the primary back in this offense heading into the season after DeMarco Murray’s retirement. But Henry has averaged just 3.7 yards per carry on the year, and has seen some of his touches go to Dion Lewis instead.
But the Titans have the best offensive unit in this game in their passing attack, which average 7.0 yards per attempt. That is tied for the 12th best passing average in the league, and is vastly better than the team starting Cody Kessler in this game. Against the Jags’ stingy pass defense, it will be interesting to see if they can take advantage of their superiority through the air.
On defense, the Titans give up 5.5 yards per play, putting them in a tie for 10th in the NFL. They allow 20.4 points per game, which is the sixth best average in the sport, just a tenth of a point behind the Jaguars. Mike Vrabel’s run defense is tied for 14th in the league, giving up 4.4 yards per carry. And his team’s pass defense is ranked 10th in the league, giving up 6.8 yards per attempt.
Jaguars vs. Titans Trends
Jacksonville comes into this game at 4-8 straight up on the season and 4-6-2 against the spread. The Jags have struggled against the spread as of late, going 1-5-2 against the spread over their last eight games. They are 0-3-1 against the spread in their last four road games, and 1-3-1 in their last five games against AFC South opponents. They have done well in December in recent years, though, going 6-2 against the spread in their last eight December games.
As for the Titans, they are 6-6 straight up and 6-6 against the spread, in a glowing testament to all things mediocrity. Thursday Night Football has not been the place where the Titans have played their best football, with Tennessee going 1-4 against the spread in their last five Thursday games. But the Titans are a 12-4-1 team against the spread in their last 17 home games, and are 6-2 against the spread in their last eight division games.