Sunday, November 11, 2007, 1:00 p.m.
LP Field, Nashville, TN
Kickoff Temperature: 70 degrees
Tennessee offense- 24th overall (31st passing, 3rd rushing); 16th scoring- 20.6 ppg. Vs. Jacksonville defense- 24th overall (26th passing, 16th rushing); 9th scoring- 18.9 ppg.
These two teams mirror each other in philosophies, both offensively and defensively, and the Titans have accomplished what the Jaguars would have liked to accomplish so far this season. The Titans have the 24th ranked offense, but a 6-2 record overall. This is largely in part to their powerful rushing attack which gashed this very Jaguars team on opening day by running for 282 yards in the Titans 13-10 victory.
The Titans are led by the versatile Vince Young, whose passing numbers are mediocre to poor (61.6% completion, 3 TD/8 INT, 10 sacks, 61.5 QB rating). Despite the poor numbers, all Vince Young does is win football games. Young always seems to get the job done when the Titans need him, whether it be with a long scramble, or a great throw.
Tennessee has found a featured running back in LenDale White, who is on pace for over 1200 yards and 10 touchdowns. To compliment White, the Titans bring in Chris Brown who ran for 175 yards against the Jaguars on opening day, and Chris Henry, who will likely have to serve a four game suspension for a failed performance enhancing substances test.
Tennessee's offensive line is easily one of the best in football, as they routinely face eight and nine man fronts, and routinely clear the way for the third-ranked rushing attack in the NFL. If at least one or two of the Titans O-line of Roos, Bell, Mawae, Olsen, and Stewart don't make the Pro Bowl, there is something wrong.
The Titans don't get much accomplished through the air, but when they throw the ball, they like to spread it around. Tight end Bo Scaife is their leading receiver with 24 receptions, and wide receiver Roydell Williams is right behind with 23 receptions for a team-leading 321 yards. Other outside targets are veteran Eric Moulds, Brandon Jones, Justin Gage, and Chris Davis.
The Jaguars defense will likely try to scheme to force Vince Young to throw the football, especially after the way the Titans offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage in the season opener. The Jaguars defense should be in better position to stop the Titans spread offense now that they've seen it on tape and in person.
Jacksonville offense- 16th overall (25th passing, 5th rushing); 19th scoring- 19.4 ppg. Vs. Tennessee defense- 2nd overall (12th passing, 1st rushing); 2nd scoring- 15.5 ppg.
It is unclear at this time whether Jaguars starting quarterback David Garrard will be healthy enough to play. In the last meeting between these two teams, Tennessee made it a point to stop the Jaguars rushing attack and forced them to beat the Titans by throwing the football, something they couldn't do. The Titans will likely employ the same game plan against the Jaguars this Sunday, as the Jaguars passing game hasn't proven to be consistently effective.
The Tennessee front four has been fantastic all year long, thanks to the play of defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth. Haynesworth has five sacks on the season and sucks up blockers so the rest of his linemates and linebackers can make plays. Kyle Vanden Bosch is a fantastic pass rusher on the outside who has five sacks, and must be accounted for on passing downs. Tony Brown and Antwan Odom fill out the Titans defensive line, and they have combined for five sacks.
The Titans linebackers are led by veteran Keith Bullock who is having a career year with 37 tackles and four interceptions. Starting next to Bullock is middle linebacker Ryan Fowler, and opposite Bullock is former Indianapolis Colt, Gilbert Gardner. The Titans linebackers are very active and have forced turnovers and made big plays all year long.
The Tennessee secondary wasn't supposed to be as good as they are, entering the regular season considering their best player, Pacman Jones is serving a season-long suspension. Cortland Finnegan and Nick Harper have been very solid on the outside, and have combined for three interceptions already. Safeties Chris Hope and Calvin Lowry have played well this season, and Hope has two interceptions.
The reason Tennessee boasts the third-best record in the AFC is mainly because of their defense, which has been lights out. Teams must throw the football to have any success against them, being that Tennessee is tops in the NFL in stopping the run.
Titans kickoff return- 21st (22.6 ypr.); punt return- 10th (10.3ypr.); punting- T30th (41.1 gross); net punting- 15th (37.9 avg.); kickoff coverage- 28th (26.3 ypr. allowed)
Jaguars kickoff return- 5th (27.4 ypr.); punt return- T27th (6.7 ypr.); punting- 27th (41.7 gross); net punting- 17th (37.5 avg.); kickoff coverage- 2nd (18.1 ypr. allowed)
Titans: PK Rob Bironas, P Craig Hentrich, LS Ken Amato, KOR Michael Griffin, PR Chris Davis.
Bironas is 20/22 on field goals with a long of 53 yards. Griffin is averaging 23.4 yards per kickoff return. Davis is averaging 10.3 yards per punt return.
Carney is 9/11 on field goals with a long of 41 yards. Jones-Drew is averaging 31.8 yards per kickoff return. Northcutt is averaging 8.0 yards per punt return on ten chances.
Although Tennessee has the better kicker with much longer range, Jacksonville has a more explosive return game and better coverage.
Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Jagnation.com, and a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports.com, Sirius NFL Radio, MySpace Sports and Sportsillustated.com. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers Association, and is a columnist for the New Smyrna Observer. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.
For more, go to: JagNation.com