NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN)–We have entered the must win part of the season for the Tennessee Titans who are (5-5) for the fifth time this decade.
The Titans host the (4-6) Jacksonville Jaguars in a game they can not afford to lose and a game that could end the Jags slim playoff hopes.
The Jaguars care coming off of back to back losses that saw them lose both games by a total of 43 points.
The Jags looks like a team on the brink and Titans head coach Mike Vrabel agrees a fast start would be extremely beneficial, “Yeah, certainly. They’re 1-13 when they’re down in the first quarter. We’ve had examples of how we need to play the game against these guys specifically, and how not to do it. How not to do it is to go down there and do things to get you down 14 and 17 to nothing, and see how their pass rush is, because I know the answer – it’s good. It’s good when it’s a tie game, so it gets even better when it’s 17-0.”
The Titans will certainly look to lean heavily on Derrick Henry who’s coming off of his best game of the season when he rushed for 183 yards against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Combine that with the Jaguars giving up almost 500 yards rushing over the last two games and expectations are massive for Henry to have a huge day.
“Everybody thinks that in the National Football League, ‘Well, this team averages this, that and the other thing,’ it just doesn’t.” said Vrabel, “You have to perform in this league each and every week. It doesn’t matter what the numbers say, what the trends say, you have to go out there and you have to play. You have to play defense, special teams and perform.”
The Titans have to be able to run the ball.
They found out in Jacksonville what happens when they come one dimensional.
Marcus Mariota took a beating in September as he was sacked 9 times.
The quarterback may have changed but Ryan Tannehill will take the same beating if the Titans play the game the same way.
Offensively the Jaguars have also struggled recently.
They benched quarterback Gardner Minshew after scoring only 3 points in a loss to the Texans.
Last week, Nick Foles threw it 47 times but was still only able to put 13 points on the board in a loss at Indianapolis.
This will be just the third start of the season for Foles who the Jaguars paid heavily for in the off-season with a 4-year, $88-milliion deal to fix their offense.
Regardless of who the quarterback has been second year receiver DJ Chark has turned into a big time player for the Jags with 51 receptions for 796 yards and 8 touchdowns.
One of those touchdowns came against the Titans in the Jags 20-7 week three victory.
Slowing down Chark is a tough enough job, the Titans are without Malcolm Butler for the season putting added stress on a secondary and a defense that has started to surrender points with more regularity.
The Titans have given up at least 20 points in each of their last four games and they have given up over 30 in each of their last two.
In last week’s game at Indy while Foles threw 47 passes the Jaguars with Leonard Fournette ran the ball only 9 times the entire game.
We can expect a more committed effort to the run this time with a guy who was a top 10 draft pick and still has 854 yards for the season and averages 4.7 yards per carry.