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Thursday Night Preview: Titans vs Jaguars 2014

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Between The Posts: Thursday Night Football Edition.

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The Tennessee Titans come face to face with a 2-12 Jaguars team, in Jacksonville for a thrilling Thursday Night match-up. The two squads have (embarrassingly) split games for five straight seasons, and this season has been a sobering experience for fans who have typically enjoyed looking down upon the Jaguars for many seasons now.

Offense

For what feels like the thousandth time this year, the Titans will start a different QB. This week it's Charlie Whitehurst again. At this point, it's a wash between him and Locker anyway, but we shall move on. Against the Jaguars, Whitehurst had better hope that Taylor Lewan is ready to return to action at LT, which looks like it may be the case. The Titans could sure use him to hold off Sen'Derrick Marks. Tennessee has had a turnstile offensive line for too long, and it has wreaked havoc on both the performance and health of the quarterbacks and the running game. Red Bryant the Chris Clemons will also be problems that the Titans will have to solve. While Chance Warmack has put in some good performances in at RG, his line mates have been pitiful. Last week the team opted to play an unkown Jamon Meredith instead of Terren Jones (who was filling in for Byron Stingily, who was filling in for Michael Oher...wow). Meredith wasn't great either, needless to announce, but will likely get the nod again with Stingily still banged up. It's safe to say Whitehurst will not have tons of time to pass, so an emphasis on the short game will have to be paramount to moving the chains on Thursday night.

Wright looks like he might play, which would be a huge positive for the Titans, who lacked for play-makers down the field the past few weeks. One player to look out for is Jaguars rookie safety Jonathan Cyprien, who had a rough game against the Titans the last time around, but has since been promising, and has shown he can come down into the box and make some plays. Tennessee has a severely banged up squad, and with TE Delanie Walker also trying to overcome a knock, it would provide a needed spark in the passing game. Nate Washington had an excellent game last week (a trend against the Jets, it seems), but he can't carry the Titans passing attack alone.

With Dexter McCluster likely out for the year, more pressure now lies on the shoulders of rookie Bishop Sankey, who played six snaps last week...need I say more? Shonn Greene has been equally confused with the snap distribution in the running game. The Jaguars have a stout front line, and much like the Jets, will make things tough on the Titans when they want to run the ball. While there is a 99% chance they won't even try it, the Titans would benefit from spreading out the formation and running from the gun, where Sankey has shown a lot of ability. Spreading out the offense would also ease up the eight and nine man boxes, and make identifying potential blitzes easier.

Defense

Jurrell Casey's game against the Jets will be better remembered for his fighting (half the Jets team at once, seemingly), but he played well between the whistles too. He will be more than a handful for LG Zane Beadles and C Luke Buwanko. The Jaguars are also vulnerable on the edges, where top pick LT Luke Joekel and RT Sam Young have been unreliable. Good for the Jaguars that the Titans lack dynamism rushing off the edge from the OLB position, with Derrick Morgan being the only player of note at the spot. Kamerion Wimbley looks doubtful yet again, but I'm not sure the Titans miss him all that much, seeing as how poorly he has played this season. Quentin Groves could be picked on badly in this one, as well as Dantay Moch, who has been putrid whenever he's seen the field.

The Titans should rotate in Karl Klug, who posted another good game, in more often, and it would be good to see DaQuan Jones garner some snaps as well. Sammie Hill has had a decent game or two at NT, but has been implicit in the Titans' struggles to stop the run in 2014. I don't understand the staff's endorsement of him at all, quite honestly.

Jacksonville's offense have struggled to generate much of anything, as expected for a fellow 2-12 squad. Their running game has been particularly woeful, but ex-QB Denard Robinson has shown some savvy in bringing it back to relevance. Blake Bortles continues to throw ugly interceptions, so the opportunity will be there for Tennessee to pounce on a turnover or two. But he's also thrown some nice TD's to young playmaker Allen Hurns, who might give the Titans undermanned CB group some trouble.