Tennessee Titans (2-7) vs. Jacksonville Jagurs (3-6)
Thursday, November 19th, 8:25 p.m.
Kickoff temperature: 73 degrees, 70% chance of precipitation
Line: Jaguars by 3
The Titans enter Thursday's game trying to get out of the cellar in the AFC South and win their second game under interim head coach Mike Mularkey. Meanwhile, the Jaguars are eyeing the division title, despite being three games under .500. We're going to examine what the home team needs to do to come away victorious.
Keys to a Jaguars victory:
1. Contain Mariota. The rookie quarterback hasn't had much time to prepare so it's likely that Tennessee will try to get him on the move to utilize his great speed. The Jaguars must not lose contain and make Mariota beat them from the pocket.
2. Attack in the passing game. The Titans are down a cornerback and the Jaguars have a full complement of weapons at Blake Bortles disposal. This should be a game where Bortles should fire the ball around 40+ times and put up big numbers.
3. Make a plan for Walker. Titans tight end Delanie Walker might be their best weapon in the passing game with Kendall Wright out. The Jaguars need to bracket him and do a better job than they did last Sunday against the Ravens tight ends.
4. Max protect. The Titans can rush the passer with guys like Jurrell Casey, Wesley Woodyard, Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo. Keep Bortles upright and have confidence in the receivers to beat the Tennessee secondary.
5. Load the box. The Titans will try to run the ball with David Cobb and Antonio Andrews, who are mediocre. The Jaguars did a poor job of stopping the run on Sunday when Sen'Derrick Marks left and they won't have him for the rest of the season. The best chance to shut down the Titans offense is by making Mariota a pocket passer.
What to look for:
1. Big game Blake. Blake Bortles had his worst game of the season on Sunday and he will bounce back against a bad Titans secondary.
2. Streak snapped. Allen Hurns has scored a TD in seven straight games, but he's banged up and everyone on Tennessee is aware of it. Expect to see some extra attention Hurns way, especially in the red zone which could open up some opportunities for Julius Thomas.
3. Walker scores. Delanie Walker is one of the most underrated tight ends in football and he will be forcefed the ball on Thursday night. Look for him to find the end zone.
4. Light pressure, few blitzes. With a quarterback that has the legs of Marcus Mariota, all-out blitzes are usually a recipe for disaster. The Jaguars need to stay in their lanes and keep the second-overall pick in the pocket and that will probably mean a pretty clean jersey for Mariota.
5. The favorites find a way. The Jaguars are favored for the first time this season and they will find a way to get the job done. The outside matchups on both sides of the ball are in their favor and it's very tough for rookie quarterbacks on a short week (although Bortles won his short week game last season). The home fans will go home happy.