Jaguars Preview: Week 3

The Jacksonville Jaguars look to continue their hot start to the 2018 season when they face off against the division rival Tennessee Titans. The Jaguars are coming off an exciting victory over the New England Patriots in week 2 by the score of 31-20. The Titans come to town after beating other another division rival in the Houston Texans. The Jaguars look to exercise another demon from the 2017 season after beating the Patriots in a rematch of the AFC Championship last weekend. The Titans have defeated the Jaguars four of the last five matchups, and swept the Jaguars in both meetings in 2017 by a combined score of 52-26. The Jaguars cannot afford a loss to the Titans after the enormous victory last weekend. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. at TIAA Bank Field.

Meeting: 

This Sunday’s matchup will be the 48thall time meeting, with Tennessee leading the all-time series 27-20, with one of those victories coming in the playoffs. The last meeting was in December 2017 in Nissan Stadium up in Nashville, TN where the Jaguars lost 15-10.

Connections:

Titans backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert was drafted with the number 10 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Jaguars. The quarterback was much maligned in his time here in Jacksonville and finished with a 5-22 record as Jaguars starting quarterback.

Jaguars star cornerback Jalen Ramsey is from Nashville, TN, where the Titans play, and grew up being a Titans fan.

Titans running back Derrick Henry is from nearby Yulee, FL, which is in Nassau County.

What to Watch:

Running back Leonard Fournette’s health will be something to monitor until kickoff. The Jaguars officially marked Fournette as questionable, but expect this to be a game-time decision. Fournette missed last week’s matchup against the New England Patriots with a hamstring strain. The Jaguars are clearly going to keep him off the field until that hamstring is 100% healthy, as the hamstring injury is an injury that can get reaggravated. Another injury to monitor would be backup running back TJ Yeldon. Yeldon has been battling an ankle injury this past week.

Another thing to watch will be how this team will play after that emotional victory last week against the Patriots. The Jaguars still have unfinished business and the Titans have beaten them four of the last 5 matchups. In order to truly become the best in the division, the Jaguars have to win their division games. The Titans have been a thorn in the Jaguars’ sides, so they have to remain focused and keep the momentum going.

Trying to Figure Out: 

Can “Sacksonville” make an appearance? The Jaguars have been able to manufacture four sacks through two games, but it is disappointing compared to the hot start from 2017. Granted, no one should have expected the Jaguars to repeat last year’s incredible start (10 sacks in week 1 in 2017), but it seems like that the defense is struggling a bit of getting to the quarterback. Two games in, it seems clear that the opposing offenses are creating plays where the quarterback will get rid of the ball quickly so that the defensive line can’t get to the quarterback and sack them. The pressure is getting there, but the next step will be to finally get to the quarterback and bring them down to the ground.

Can the offense keep their momentum going? The offense, led by quarterback Blake Bortles, absolutely shredded the New England Patriots and proved many critics wrong across the country. In order for the Jaguars to be taken seriously as a team that can win with their offense, they need to establish consistency. The Titans’ defense is an average defense, so the offense should look good this week. Don’t expect the dominant performance they had last week.

About the Opponent: 

The Titans are the original rival. Ever since the Jaguars came into the league back in 1995. The teams do not like each other. The fans get after each other on social media. This week is no different. The Titans are coming off a victory over the Houston Texans by the score of 20-17. The Titans offense has struggled through two games and don’t know who their quarterback will be this week. Starting quarterback Marcus Mariota missed last week’s matchup with an elbow injury and is questionable coming into this matchup. The Titans are still trying to identify themselves after hiring Mike Vrabel as their head coach this past offseason.

Matchup to watch: 

Who will win the special teams battle? The Titans have returned a kickoff back for a touchdown, but also have given up a kickoff return for a touchdown. Granted, both occurred in week one. This could potentially be an issue for the Jaguars, as they struggled during the preseason covering kicks. The Jaguars recovered a fumble on a punt in week 1, which helped them clinch the victory. Special teams could be the deciding factor in this matchup as each team had some sort of special team success in the first two weeks. The battle could include field position, missed field goals, penalties, etc.

3 keys to victory: 

Get after the quarterback. Win the special teams battle. Use the crowd to your advantage (it affected Tom Brady last week).

How to Listen:

Frank Frangie, Tony Boselli and Jeff Lageman will provide the call on 1010XL and 92.5 FM with Rick Ballou working the sidelines.

Where to Watch: 

The Titans-Jaguars matchup will air on CBS and locally on WJAX 47 at 1 p.m. Sunday. Spero Dedes will provide the play by play with Adam Archuleta for color commentary. The Jaguars will be wearing their white jerseys over the teal pants.