Johnson Receives Top Billing
Titans week is always a big week in Jacksonville. Even when one or both teams are out of the playoff race, the Jaguars and their fans always relish a chance to defeat Tennessee.
Jaguars' veteran cornerback Rashean Mathis spoke about the rivalry.
"I think we developed that early as franchises," Mathis said. "We're two physical teams that are going to play hard against each other. It's who is the toughest team in the division? It's going to be an exciting Monday night."
If the Jaguars are going to remain in first place after Monday night they will have to slow down Titans Pro Bowl running back Chris Johnson, the reigning AFC Offensive Player of the Week. Johnson helped the Titans score a victory over Dallas last week as he gained 131 yards on just 19 carries with a pair of touchdowns.
Titans head coach Jeff Fisher knows that opposing defenses will key on his All-Pro back.
"People look at tape, they're going to see what we do—they're going to see what we do early in the game, late in the game and they're going to make their own decisions," the longest tenured coach in the NFL said.
Chris Johnson has had his fair share of success against the Jags as he's averaged 117 yards per game in his four career games against Jacksonville, including a 228-yard, two touchdown performance in their last meeting, a 30-13 Titans victory.
"Whether he's at a standstill or full ahead, he's a tough guy to tackle," cornerback Rashean Mathis said. "He can make you miss regardless of how fast he's moving. We played him well the first game last year and didn't play him well the second. We have two good films to go off of; when we're playing good what can happen, and when we're not playing good what can happen. It's good tape to watch."
The Jaguars will try and take a gang-tackling approach to Johnson and take their chances with the Titans 28th ranked passing game.
"He's a guy that can break a game open at any minute," Jaguars safety Gerald Alexander said. "Momentum can shift in their favor. He can take the ball the distance, so we've got to have 11 guys swarming to the ball."
A young Jaguars team must keep from getting too excited as they will play their only game in front of a national audience at Everbank Field this Monday.
"You've just got to do your job and concentrate," Alexander explained. "You can't get too excited, just see what you're supposed to see and do what you're supposed to do. You can't get caught up with everything outside, all the bright lights, the fans, the attention. If you concentrate on your job everything will take care of itself."
If Jacksonville can slow down Chris Johnson and keep their composure, they have an excellent opportunity to maintain first-place status in the AFC South.
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