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Jacksonville Jaguars @ Tennessee Titans Preview

The Jaguars and the Titans meet in week 1 for the second straight season.  You can expect a slugfest every time these two teams get together, and there is no reason to think this time will be any different. 

These two teams, at least on paper, appear to be pretty evenly matched.  Most of the national media is in love with the Jaguars for about the 5th straight year.  It seems like every year they are the hot pick to knock off the Colts in the division, but they never seem to be able to do it.  What I can't understand is why people think the Jags are so much better than the Titans.  Take a look at the "expert" picks from the four letter network:

I know it is shocking that Hoge didn't pick the Titans.  Try to move on from that.

These two teams play the exact same brand of football.  Both teams want to run the ball and stop the run.  Both teams were in the top 5 in rushing offense and the top 11 in rushing defense last season.  This season will be no different.

They have split the season series the past 2 years.  The Titans piled up 282 yards rushing in the week 1 meeting last season and only allowed the Jags to rush for 75 in a 13-10 win.  When they met again in week 10 the Titans allowed the Jags to rush for 166 yards (w/o Fat Albert) and only rushed for 62 yards in a 28-13 loss.  Like I said, run the ball and stop the run are the keys for these teams.

This game will more than likely turn on some type of big play.  The most important thing for the Titans in this game is to take care of the ball. 

Vince Young has struggled big time against the Jags in his career.  In his 4 starts he is 58 of 110 (53%) for 583 yards with 2 TDs and 6 INTs.

VY will not be asked to win this game.  He will be asked to take care of the ball and make enough plays to set up some scoring opportunities.  Jaguars' new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams loves to blitz.  He will be bringing people from everywhere to try and confuse VY and force him into making a mistake.

The majority of the load will fall on running backs LenDale White and Chris Johnson.  Heimerdinger will be drawing up a game plan for CJ for the first time tomorrow.  I cannot wait to see that.  Look for a lot of screen plays, some plays where CJ lines up wide, some plays where he lines up in the backfield and motions out wide, and some sets where The Round Mound and CJ are on the field together.

On defense the Titans will need to stop Jacksonville's two headed running attack of Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew.  If the Titans can limit their yards on first and second down, it will force the Jags into obvious passing situations and that will free up the Titans defensive line to get after David Garrard.

Garrard took a huge step forward last season.  Granted he isn't asked to do all that much in the offense, but he takes care of the football.  He only threw 3 INTs in over 300 passing attempts last season.  The Titans will need to force him to make a mistake to set up a short field for their offense.

I have already picked the Titans to win this game here and here, and I don't plan on going back on that now.  It will be an extremely physical game that will probably come down to the closing seconds, but I expect the Titans to come out victorious.