JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Titans face the Jaguars tonight here at EverBank Field.
A look at five reasons why the game is big for the Titans:
Stay in the AFC South race**
Let's face it, with a 2-7 overall record, the Titans are fortunate to still have a chance at the division title. Two-win teams like the Browns, Chargers and Lions are buried right now. Because the division leader is 4-5 (Colts and Texans), the Titans still have a chance. A loss tonight, however, would drop the Titans three games back in the loss column with six games to play. Winning-the-division talk would become much more unrealistic at that point.
Separate from the Jaguars
The Titans need to find a way to take back the series against the Jaguars, who've had plenty of success in the series of late. During the glory days from 1999-2003, the Titans owned the Jags, winning 9 of 11 in the series. Of late, the two teams have split the series every year since 2009. The two teams square off tonight, and then again on Dec. 6 at Nissan Stadium.
The last time the Titans appeared in prime time, they lost 21-13 to the Jaguars here on Thursday Night Football. The team has dropped three straight games in primetime dating back to 2012. The nation will certainly be curious about roo
kie quarterback Marcus Mariota, and these Titans. Right now, it's safe to say plenty of NFL fans are skeptical. A good performance tonight could undoubtedly help change some opinions.
When Mike Mularkey replaced Ken Whisenhunt as interim head coach earlier this month, I'm not sure there was a magic number of wins he needed to keep the job on a permanent basis. Ownership wants to see improvement, and reasons to believe things will get getter moving forward. Mularkey provided a win out of the gate against New Orleans in his first game. A win tonight could provide another building block for a solid finish.
Mularkey has done his best to shift the conversation away from his return to Jacksonville, where he served as head coach for one season, in 2012. But there's little doubt he wants to win this one in a bad way. Today just happens to be Mularkey's 54th birthday. A win would be a great present.