We have been saying this all week, but this game is really all about the Tennessee Titans. The Jags have been playing really well, but in my opinion the Titans are still the better team. However, if they give the same effort they gave in Houston, Jacksonville will win this one going away. It is pretty amazing that with all of the drama this team has gone through they still control their own destiny, but it is true. Win two games in 5 games and they are in first place in the division, but if they lose this game on Sunday the season is over.
We all remember what the Titans did to the Jags in week 6, but that doesn't mean anything now. Both teams have turned their season around since then, the problem is that the Titans have turned theirs to terrible. No better time to get on the right track than tomorrow.
The key to winning this game for the Titans will be stopping Maurice Jones-Drew, but that is no easy task. MJD has been on a tear of late rushing for 100+ yards in each of his last four games, and the Titans are playing with an extremely banged up defensive line. It looks good for Tony Brown and Jason Jones to be able to play in this game, but it remains to be seen how well they will be able to play. Hal said this morning that this game reminds him a lot of the New England game last year because the Titans have been decimated at one position. Let's hope it doesn't end up like that.
Even though this team is build around Jones-Drew, their win loss record has been directly tied to how David Garrard has played. He has been really good in their wins and really bad in their losses. That may seem like an obvious point, but it is even more dramatic for this Jacksonville team. Garrard was 7 of 12 for 49 yards and a pick in the first match-up before leaving the game with a concussion. The Titans will need to get after him again like they did in that game in order to have success.
The Titans will catch a bit of a break with Mike Sims-Walker missing the game, but Mike Thomas has come into his own as a solid receiving threat. They also have Marcedes Lewis who is bound to have a good game because every tight end in the world does against the Titans defense.
On offense the Titans get a boost with Kerry Collins starting instead of Rusty Smith, but they are going to need to get Chris Johnson going in order to be successful. The Jaguars contained CJ pretty well in the first game until the last possession. We have been waiting all season for the offensive line to get it together. This would be a fantastic week for that to happen.
Oh, and maybe we can try to take the ball deep and take the top of the defense early in this game instead of just using Randy Moss as a high-priced decoy. It sure would be nice to get Kenny Britt on the other side, but I doubt we see him until the Colts game on Thursday.
This should be a defense the Titans O can have success against considering they are 27th in points allowed, 25th in yards, 28th against the pass and 20th against the run. The opportunities for success will be there. It will just be up to each individual guy to do his job in order to have success.
Titans pass offense vs. Jags pass defense
Advantage: Titans- Collins gives the Titans at least a thread of throwing the ball around the yard, and this is the perfect match-up for Moss to finally bust on the scene in Tennessee. The Jags have allowed an opposing receiver to gain 100+ yards in 5 games this season. Time for Randy to make it 6.
Titans run offense vs. Jags run defense
Advantage: Push- The Titans should have the advantage here facing the 20th ranked defense with CJ2K, but until this offensive line proves to me that they have the focus and desire to get back on track I can't give them the edge.
Jags pass offense vs. Titans pass defense
Advantage: Push- The Jags aren't exactly a prolific passing team, but the Titans haven't been able to get the pressure they were able to get early in the season, and they haven't guarded the middle of the field since week 7. Again, time to show me they have to prove they can do it before I can give them the edge.
Jags run offense vs. Titans run defense
Advantage: Jags- This is likely the match-up that determines who wins this game. It will be a huge challenge for this banged up defensive line to slow MJD.
Advantage: Titans- Jacksonville has an excellent kicker in Josh Scobee, but Rob Bironas is better. The Titans are also 4th in the league in punt return average and 6th in kick return average.
Advantage: Push- Sure Jeff Fisher has the better history, but it sure looked like he had lost his team last week. For the third time, show me before I give you the edge.
It is time for the Titans to show they have the heart and pride to be a winning football team.