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Key Matchup: Titans vs. Jaguars

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It's time to open things up for Marcus Mariota.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Titans' offense came crashing back down to earth last week against the Panthers.  After lighting up the Saints, Marcus Mariota and company saw first hand why the Carolina Panthers have yet to be beaten this season.  Next up? Jacksonville.

The Jaguars beat the Ravens last week in dramatic fashion, keeping them alive for the division title.  They sit 3-6 and have a good chance to capitalize tonight on a beat up Titans team.

Jacksonville ranks sixth in the NFL in rushing defense, giving up just 93 yards per contest.  Their front seven has come along nicely over the past few seasons and should matchup well with the Titans' struggling run game.  Maybe, just maybe David Cobb can turn things around in his debut tonight.

Key Matchup: Titans' Receivers vs Jaguars' Secondary

If the Titans are successful moving the ball tonight, I think if comes through the air.  Jacksonville can be vulnerable in the secondary, giving up 268 yards through the air per game.  Teams have completed over 66 percent of the passes attempted against the Jags this year, ranking them 27th in the league in that category.

The problem here is that Tennessee is really banged up at receiver.  Kendall Wright won't play tonight and Justin Hunter is out for the season.  This means Rico Richardson, Tre McBride and Andrew Turzilli will probably have to play meaningful snaps tonight.

Dorial Green-Beckham hasn't stepped up like we had hoped so far. After taking a year off of football last season, his lack of polish is showing.  It's clear that he isn't all that comfortable yet and is still figuring out the playbook.  Last week he failed to fight for a ball that ended up in an interception for Marcus Mariota. All I'm looking for out of DGB at this point is growth.  The physical talent is there, he just needs to get the mental part down.

Delanie Walker has been the most consistent piece of the Tennessee offense this season.  Don't expect that to change.  Walker should once again lead the team in receiving yards once again tonight.

As for Marcus Mariota, he should have some time to operate tonight.  Jacksonville ranks 20th in QB pressure and total sacks.  Since Whisenhunt was fired, the Titans' offensive line has given up just one sack.  The number of quarterback hits is down too -- just six in the past two games.  Mularkey has put an emphasis on protecting Mariota and that should translate to some passing offense tonight.

We'll see if Mariota can get enough help from his weapons tonight.  I don't think he will have the luxury of a run game to lean on, so the game will probably fall on his shoulders once again.  Harry Douglas and Dorial Green-Beckham will have to step up if the Titans want a shot a this one.