It's almost time. Time for real-life NFL football. Time for action. This game features two down-on-their-luck AFC South franchises with a lot to prove and a great opportunity to do it. I was under the impression that historically, the Titans have always seemed to be a thorn in Jacksonville's side. While they do have an all-time series lead of 18-14, that's hardly the domination I was expecting.
Despite this, I expect a big win on Sunday.
1. Kenny Britt is healthy and eats corner backs for lunch.
It should be noted that Mike Munchak has gone all in and declared Kenny Britt injury free.
"He is healthy so we can't be tip-toeing around that anymore," Munchak added. "He needs to go play for us...we are expecting big plays out of him."
Kenny is about to be let loose. Sounds good, sign me up for some of that. Just one thing, he needs to keep that hamstring from hamstringing the team again in 2011. We've all seen the stats on games started by Britt last year v.s. games not started by Britt and the results were, quite frankly, pretty shocking. No one else on the roster is capable of being the definitive number one. Britt is on the cusp of being elite. One full season could help vault him into that category and the journey starts on Sunday with a beating of Rashean Mathis and Derek Cox.
2. Luke McCown.
Do I really need to expand on this one at all? Come on man. I respect the any given Sunday aspect of the game, but I don't think Jerry Gray is going to allow McCown to become the next Todd Bouman out there. Get after him early, put him in the dirt every chance you get, win the turnover battle. As much as I'd love to see an unprepared 21 year old in there in week one, I'll happily take an unprepared 30 year old. Shaun Smith is gonna break this fool in half. Bring on Sunshine.
3. Special Teams.
Plain and simple, Tennessee should dominate this category. Bironas is one of the best in the business and Marc Mariani is almost as good of a north/south runner as there is in this league. That's not to say that he's incredibly fast, but he does more with his 4.5 speed than most do with 4.3. While I expect the impact of great kick returners to be diminished (watching this Packers game, you wouldn't think it), he's always great on punts.
4. CJ loves the Jags, the Jags hate CJ.
In his three seasons, Chris Johnson averages 5.6 yards per carry against Jacksonville. He also comes in with an average of 105 yards rushing every time he takes the field against them. His 632 rushing yards against them is the most against any opponent he's ever faced. While a ridiculous 800 yard performance in the November of 2009 makes turkey month his most productive time period, CJ has never been held to less than 300 yards in the opening month of the season. He also averages 117 yards at EverBank Municipal Alltel Field.
What does this all mean? Not much in the grand scheme of things. I just like numbers. However, it should be noted that CJ has shredded his home state's third favorite team in the past. Chances he does it again? The Jags' run D could be fairly stout with the addition of Paul Posluszny, but I'll still take those odds.
5. Guy Whimper: The Man Behind The Name.
Turns out, he's a pretty awful right tackle and right now, he's in line to start against the Titans on Sunday. Whimper was drafted in the fourth round way back in 06 by the Giants to hopefully be their left tackle of the future. What they got was a lousy blocker who couldn't make the adjustment to guard either. Whimper has one start in his NFL career and has appeared in six games. Sounds good to me! It's times like these where I wish even more that Derrick Morgan and Jason Jones were healthy, the defensive front looks awfully thin without them on the field. Worst case scenario: starter Eben Britton recovers from his injury quickly enough to return to action in week one but is still less than 100%. The Titans try and succeed in exploiting this. Britton's a good young player, but back surgery is no joke, especially when it's to repair a herniated disk.
Far be it for me to guarantee a win this Sunday, but let's just say that I'd be extremely disappointed in a loss.* Should the final score favor Jacksonville, I'll be much more concerned for the season than I am right now. This isn't a team the Titans can afford to lose to in a wide open year.
*Cue Jaguars troll with the "PREPARE TO BE EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED!!!!!"