5 Predictions for Jaguars vs. Titans in Week 2
When the 2020 NFL schedule was first announced, it would have likely been near impossible to find anyone who thought a Week 2 matchup between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee would determine the early leader of the AFC South.
But on Sunday, that is exactly what we are getting. Each team is 1-0 entering Sunday's game in Nashville, with the Jaguars upsetting the Indianapolis Colts 27-20 in Week 1 and the Titans going on the road to beat Denver 16-14.
With a 2-0 start and first place in the AFC South hanging in the balance, Sunday's clash between the Jaguars and Titans has a lot of significance. With that in mind, here are our best guesses as to how the game plays out.
DJ Chark catches at least six passes, including a touchdown
With Tennessee's secondary coming into Week 2 at less than 100% strength, it wouldn't be a hot take to think DJ Chark could use this week to really take off. Chark caught 9 passes on 11 targets for 114 yards (12.67 yard per catch average) and a touchdown in two games against the Titans last season, and the Titans' best cornerback in Adoree' Jackson won't be suiting up. Cornerback Malcom Butler is also questionable and missed practice on Friday, which could mean Chark gets advantageous matchups on Sunday.
Chark has been a productive player both against AFC South defenses and on the road in his past several games as well. He has caught four TD passes in his last five road games and five touchdowns in his last seven divisional games. Add in the fact that Gardner Minshew II was among the league's most effective and efficient passers in Week 1, and this could be a good situation for Chark to find the end zone once again.
Jadeveon Clowney collects a sack, two tackles for loss
Jadeveon Clowney is still getting acclimated to how the Titans do things, but there has never been any denying his talent. Even if he is adjusting back to being on a football field after remaining unsigned for so long, he's still more than capable of providing a spark to a defense by generating potentially game-changing plays.
Left tackle Cam Robinson had a good Week 1, but he has had issues with Clowney in the past dating back to Clowney's Houston days. Right tackle Jawaan Taylor, meanwhile, may have his hands full as a run blocker, which is where Clowney makes his greatest impact. Clowney just the kind of physical and athletic defender who has given the Jaguars' offensive line issues in the recent past.
Jaguars' offense prevents turnovers once again
A big reason the Jaguars were able to walk away from Week 1 with a victory is the fact they were +2 in turnover margin. They forced Philip Rivers into two costly interceptions, while the Gardner Minshew-led offense was flawless in terms of ball security and decision-making. If the Jaguars want to pull off yet another upset, they'll need to once again win the turnover battle, but protecting the football should be the top priority.
The Titans tied for 10th in the NFL in turnovers in 2019 with 23 forced, and the biggest reason they're a tough team to protect the ball against is roaming ball hawk free safety Kevin Byard, who recorded 17 interceptions over the last three seasons. But even with the Titans' effectiveness at forcing turnovers, we believe Jacksonville's game plan and Minshew's decision-making will keep Jacksonville in the positive in the turnover department.
Derrick Henry runs for fewer than 101 yards
To say Derrick Henry is the focal point of Tennessee's offense would be an understatement. It is clear going into each game that the Titans will feed him a healthy dose of carries, making him the priority for every defense that has to face him. And with this in mind, we think the Jaguars actually make enough plays to limit Henry on Sunday.
Henry and the Titans' offensive line struggled in their Week 1 win over the Broncos, and one could argue the Jaguars have a more talented front than Denver does. Henry has only ran for 100 yards or more against the Jaguars twice in eight games, though he does have a terrific 5.37 yard per carry average. Even with that in perspective, we believe the Jaguars meet the Henry challenge on Sunday and prevent him from a career day.
Myles Jack records an interception
It is going to be much tougher to force the Titans into turnovers than it was to force the Colts into them, but the Jaguars could still have their chances. With A.J. Brown out on Sunday, the Titans will likely be forced to feed the ball to the underneath area of the field or to their tight ends. Because of this, nobody has a better chance to force a turnover than Myles Jack.
Jack is now playing a position that enables him to think less and act faster, which was evident during a great performance from the veteran linebacker in Week 1. Jack will have plenty of chances to force Ryan Tannehill into a mistake on Sunday, and his improved and confident play should make it even more possible for him to create a turnover.
Score prediction: Jaguars 30, Titans 27