Week 16 Tale Of The Tape: Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars
- QuarterbackThe Titans are fighting for the AFC South title, and while their Week 17 home game against the Houston Texans will likely decide the division title, a loss to the Jaguars would be disastrous. Marcus Mariota is still a young quarterback, but he does not make careless mistakes and he is especially effective in the red zone. Mariota should have an opportunity for a huge game here.The Jaguars are just trying to finish the season with some respectability and pride, but it won’t save Gus Bradley, who was fired after last week’s come-from-ahead loss to Houston. Blake Bortles has not had the kind of year the Jaguars expected, but he is a physically gifted quarterback who can make big plays with his arm or legs.
- OffenseThe Titans are going to establish their running game because DeMarco Murray is one of the best backs in the league and he has been a consistent performer all season. He is a one-cut runner who heads downfield and makes big plays. Delanie Walker is a dependable and clutch receiver who wants the ball when the game is on the line. Rishard Matthews is an emerging star at wide receiver.The Jaguars have not gotten the kind of production from their running game that they expected. While Chris Ivory is a solid complementary back, T.J. Yeldon does not look like an adequate starter and the Jaguars may need to go in another direction. Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson are both talented big-play wideouts, while TE Julius Thomas can do damage on third-down plays.
- DefenseThe Titans have had problems keeping opponents from going up and down the field, and they rank 20th in yards allowed. However, they have done a decent job of stiffening when opponents threaten the goal line. Inside linebacker Avery Williamson has had an excellent year and leads the Titans with 93 tackles, while OLB Brian Orakpo has been an outstanding pass rusher.The Jaguars have had some excellent moments on defense this year where they have come through in the second half and stopped opponents from mounting late-game drives. While the Jags are usually behind at that time, those defensive stops have allowed them to remain in games. Jacksonville has the seventh-ranked defense and Paul Posluszny has had an outstanding year at middle linebacker.
- Special TeamsThe Titans have not had a great year on special teams and they have given up two punt return touchdowns for scores. They have been outgained badly on punt and kickoff returns, but Ryan Succop is a very dependable placekickerThe Jaguars struggle covering punts, but the Jaguars do a good job on kickoff returns and PK Jason Myers has shown improvement this year. Brad Nortman has decent leg strength, but he is not proficient when it comes to directional punting.
The Jaguars should put up a battle at home, but look for Mariota to make key plays in the red zone and lead his team to an important victory.