The Jacksonville Jaguars (4-6) will once again face an AFC South rival this Sunday when the team travels to play the Tennesee Titas (5-5) to kickoff at Nissan Stadium. This game means a lot for each team as both clubs try to pick up steam in the second half of the season and make a push for the wild card.
In some preparation before the game, the JaguarMaven writing staff has come together to bring you our predictions of how we believe Jaguars vs. Titans plays out.
1. Jacksonville has had a tough time stopping the run as of late, to put it lightly. How do you think they do vs. Derrick Henry?
John Shipley: Jacksonville did a really nice job against Henry in Week 3, limiting him to only 44 rushing yards on 17 carries. For the first time in a few years, Jacksonville swarmed to Henry and kept him in check for four quarters, but a lot has changed since then.
Jacksonville is badly missing defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, who was one of the biggest reasons they were able to stop Henry in the first place. I think Henry has a big game this week against a run defense that is trending downward. I expect at least a 100-yard game from him.
Andrew DiCecco: To be honest, I am expecting more of the same this week. There is only so much the Jags can do with making personnel changes. I am expecting Henry to do what that Colts did: take advantage of the aggressive ends crashing down to open running lanes -- and run directly at Myles Jack.
Brandon Eisenman: Henry has been dominant for the Titans this season, no question. The Jaguars’ rush defense has been awful. On Sunday, I think Henry will have a big game. Jacksonville’s rush defense just isn’t communicating and executing on plays well enough to stop Henry.
2. Do you think Nick Foles and the offense have a bounce-back game, or do they struggle again?
John Shipley: The Jaguars' entire offense had a poor showing last week, sans DJ Chark. The playcalling was unbalanced, the run game was non-existent and Foles, in his first game back since Week 1, was below average. I think we see a repeat of that this week because I consider the Titans to have an even better defense than the Indianapolis Colts. Jurrell Casey, Harold Landry, and Jeffrey Simmons can all create a ton of problems for an offensive line, and their secondary can feast on a quarterback who makes questionable decisions like Foles did last week.
Andrew DiCecco: Tennessee's defense is no slouch, so the Jacksonville offense will need to have a better game plan than last week. They'll need to return to the formula that had been so successful with Minshew at them helm: run Leonard Fournette early and often, and put Foles in position to take advantage of their aggressive defensive backs.
Brandon Eisenman: If there is any game the rest of the season for a bounce-back game on offense, I think this one is it. We’ve seen Jacksonville struggle offensively since Foles’ return last week, especially in efficency. However, if they can remain consistent this week, we’ll see an improved unit.
3. Who has the advantage Sunday: Jaguars' wide receivers or Titans' secondary?
John Shipley: I am going to with the Titans' defensive backs. DJ Chark will win whatever matchup he is in, but Jacksonville's pass-catching group behind him is fairly mediocre. The Titans have a few stud defensive backs such as Kevin Byard, so I think they win any non-Chark matchup Sunday.
Andrew DiCecco: I'm going to say the Titans' defensive backs. First, I expect Tennessee's imposing defensive front to force some early throws from Foles, who I think will struggle to find success against a veteran secondary. The Titans also have perhaps the most underrated ball-hawking safety roaming the middle of the field in Kevin Byard.
Brandon Eisenman: The Jaguars’ wide receivers have the advantage on Sunday. Now, Jacksonville’s offense has been sluggish this season, but the receivers continue to make plays. I think they have to win the line of scrimmage, but the receivers are too talented to not make plays in this huge divisional matchup
4. Who is the most important player for Jacksonville on Sunday?
John Shipley: I think middle linebacker Myles Jack will be the most important player. Jacksonville has surrendered 480 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns the last two games, so it is obvious the Titans' gameplan will likely center on running it with Derek Henry early and often. Jack will need to be the impact player Jacksonville was needing him to be when they signed him to a contract extension if they want any shot to stop Henry.
Andrew DiCecco: Leonard Fournette. The running game has struggled to find it's footing in the two consecutive losses. Both times, they fell behind early and were forced to abandon the run. Look for the Jaguars to lean more on Fournette early in this one, which should ultimately open things up down the field.
Brandon Eisenman: This time around, I’m taking two players for the Jaguars that are important. Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue need to take charge and lead the defense in winning the trenches battle. Getting to the quarterback will be a key factor this week. Both of those guys could use a solid outing on the defensive line.
5. Final score prediction?
John Shipley: Titans 27, Jaguars 13. I think the Jaguars' offense will once again have a tough week and the defense slips up in the second half after a close first half.
Andrew DiCecco: I actually like the Titans at home in this one. 23-20, Tennessee.
Brandon Eisenman: Titans 31-24. I think we’ll see the offense more improved this week. However, the inability to stop the run going into this game is a big concern. If Jacksonville has trouble on defense early, Derrick Henry could have a solid day rushing the ball. Nick Foles will bounce back, but it won’t be enough.