Titans at Jaguars Preview

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What better way to open the season than against a divisional opponent? The Titans and Jaguars have been division foes since Jacksonville entered the league in 1995, when the Titans were still the Houston Oilers, so there’s some history there. No, this isn’t quite the same as Steelers week used to be, but it’s getting there.
The winner of Sunday’s season opener in Jacksonville will get a leg up on the other three AFC South teams.
Field: grass. Forecast: A 20% chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a high near 90°. Calm wind becoming southwest between 5 and 10 mph.
Jaguars scouting report:
Overview – Jacksonville is a physical team on both sides of the ball and won’t try to beat anyone with speed or deception. Now entering his fifth year as head coach, Jack Del Rio is usually the first one to be mentioned on the subject of coaches on the proverbial hot seat. The Jaguars finished with an 8-8 record last year, just missing the playoffs. The general consensus is Del Rio will be chopping wood in a new location next year if they fail to make the postseason again.
Offense – Del Rio selected Byron Leftwich to be his starting quarterback during the offseason, then did an abrupt about-face last week, naming David Garrard as the starter and releasing Leftwich. While it may be big news around the league, it should be no big deal for the Titans. Garrard has played the last three times the teams have met.
Garrard is a lot more mobile than Leftwich and is always a threat to run, making the Jags running game even more formidable. They finished third in the league last year, running for 159 yards per game. Fred Taylor is still strong and Maurice Jones-Drew is looking for a breakout season. The Jags receivers are big and physical but aren’t much of a threat. The guy who does concern me is tight end George Wrighster, who always seems to play well against the Titans. Not that he catches a lot of balls, but they’re often big plays. Newcomer Dennis Northcutt may become a weapon outside, while Matt Jones is now inside as a slot man.
Defense – As usual, Jacksonville has one of the best defenses in the league, ranked second last year in total defense. DTs Marcus Stroud and John Henderson are still the best tandem in the league. It’s awfully tough to find running room up the middle.
They’ve had a makeover at the safety spots, losing Deon Grant and Donovin Darius, but the secondary still boasts Pro Bowl cornerback Rashean Mathis, who’s one of the best.
Expected strategies – It’s no secret, Jacksonville will run the ball and then pound it some more. The Titans should be able to crowd the line trying to stop it and take their chances with the Jag receivers. Vince Young had two of his worst games last year against the Jaguar defense, so expect them to also try to shut down the run and dare Young to beat them. It has all the makings of a slugfest.
Keys for the Titans – The defense must get off the field on third downs. They weren’t able to in the last meeting and spent far too much time on the field. So much so that even Kyle Vanden Bosch was fatigued. The defense must also keep this game close. You won’t score many points on Jacksonville and need to keep the score down to have a chance. Turnovers, the kicking game and field position will also be key in a low scoring game.
Matchups to watch – It’s going to be a long day for the interior of the Titans o-line trying to block Stroud and Henderson. Watch them for a while to see how they’ll fare. Mathis will probably be on Brandon Jones, so look for Young to go to Moulds and Scaife on the other side. Watch the Titans front seven try to contain the Jags running game with Calvin Lowry coming up to help.
Last meeting – Garrard was in the Christmas spirit last December, generously giving the Titans three defensive touchdowns on turnovers to give Tennessee a 24-17 win. Jacksonville pounded Tennessee 37-7 in the first game last year.
Prediction – It pains me to say this but Jacksonville is a very tough matchup for Tennessee. They easily trounced the Titans in the first meeting last year and outplayed them the second time around. The Jags ran 78 offensive plays to the Titans’ 31 in that game and had the time of possession advantage 44 minutes to 16.
Jaguars 17
Titans 13
For Jaguars coverage from their point of view, please check out the fine work by Tim McClellan and Brendan Sonnone on MVN’s Jaguars Journal.

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6 Responses to “Titans at Jaguars Preview”

  1. brian Says:

    ooooh, you’re breaking my heart andrew, but that’s fairly realistic. i still don’t have a real feel for our “passing” game, but maybe we can spread the field early and keep their d honest. hopefully the titans wont start with 5 runs up the gut.
    i agree that this is a tough match up for our team, but if we stay disciplined we can beat the jags. I would so love to start the season with a win in jacksonville!

  2. Garo Dykstra Says:

    Pretty fair assement. I have the exact score just opposite teams. This is probably our worst matchup simply due to Jags ability to stop the run. I think for us to win, Jags will have to help, doesnt have to be as incredible as last year’s help but some help will be needed. Jags coaching, QB turmoil and dinged up d-line make me believe we will win.
    Jags probably have one of the most talented rosters in the NFL but I believe we have heads and above coaching. Titans in general open slow, especially on the road, so I wont be surprised to come up short.
    I’m actually more concerned with getting out of this game healthy. It will be a very hard hitting, tough game that could affect the next couple of games. Slugfest is right.

  3. steve Says:

    WE HAVE GOT TO CONTAIN MJD!!!!!!!!!! If we can do that then I think we have a chance. Call me a homer, but I think the TIT’s have have a chance with vengeance in mind. Still keepin it close, I think we come away with a 20-17 upset!!!!!!

  4. jrtitans Says:

    Titans win by at least 10 points! Great comments here and accurate analysis by Andrew but Im of the belief we wont lose this game as many have predicted. John McClain was heard on 104.5 saying 99.9% chance Titans win 9 games. This will be the first one.
    I read the Jacksonville article–they barely escaped a blackout and most people dont believe in them because they are inconsistent. I dont believe in them either.However here in Titans country, we are sold out for another season again and we are all together.
    This is a different Titans team and let me tell you why we win:
    If I asked the question, Do the jags make the playoffs or Del Rio gets fired, the answer would be the later. We know our coach and he has “owned ” the Jags before and will do it again this year. I predict a sweep .
    We know who our quarterback is and who is the leader while they just switched a week ago. Leftwich may not be the best but lots of people like him and I think the personal hurt will not have this team all together when Sunday comes.
    MJD? of course we have to stop him. But we are not the same as last year with the additions of Simon, Odom and Fowler. I will let Andrew tell you about their center being out and the new guy pashos(sp) on the line. He doesnt have the same blockers and Fred Taylor is in his 10th season. People are reading last years news. Freddy sure didnt sound very upbeat on the NFL network
    They will try to contain VY by putting 10 in the box but what about 3rd and long and 3 WR sets? Now they cant contain him and it takes 3 guys to bring him down. Poor Jags, cant win for losing!
    They will make VY pass. Good! That means in run defense our “untested ” rookies will be against their “untested” secondary one on one. We dont have Drew”dropsy” Bennett anymore and with the exception of Roydell, most are catching the ball well. Have you seen Ealy or Davis drop a ball yet?
    So, we sweep the Jags , trade with Houston and lose the first game with Indy but win the last one since they have clinched a playoff and we become a wild card playoff team at 4-2 in the South.
    Them? G-man goes back to #2 quarterback, Del Rio looks for a job in the college ranks and they are now called the L.A. Jaguars!
    No need to check the radar–because you wont see us coming.
    FEAST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    :

  5. brian Says:

    drop one to the texans…no way!

  6. jrtitans Says:

    That would be an upset. I wouldnt say 5-1 in a division because that is difficult for everyone except maybe the Pats or Colts.
    After seeing the Saints meltdown, the only two teams I would really be worried about would be the Colts and the Chargers at this early stage.
    If you consider the best record might be 13-3 or 12-4–then who do you guys think the 4 would be?
    On another note–I have read some of the worst articles and analysis (Andrew is not included) . The networks are still talking about the loss of Bennett. And it gets worse–check out the Titans site . The Tennessean article is still talking about ROBY. The worst is the the guy from the Florida union paper–he needs top go back to grade school and learn math.
    Heres a parody:
    Vince was rookie of the year and went to the Pro Bowl. Garrard threw 3 interceptions vs the Titans last time– Edge: jags
    The Jags have less than stellar receivers while the titans lost Jonathan Orr. — Edge: jags
    Del Rio has a contract–Did Fisher sign his? — Edge : jags.
    Jags new punter wears a size 10 shoe. Titans wear a size 9 –edge : Jags
    Prediction: jags win 25-4.
    Rain or shine–we win this game!

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