Game Preview: Division on the Line as Titans Visit Jacksonville Saturday Night

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The Tennessee Titans travel to Jacksonville this week to face the Jaguars in a game that will determine the 2022 AFC South champion. Kickoff at TIAA Bank Field (capacity 67,858) is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. EST/7:15 p.m. CST on Saturday, Jan. 7.

Heading into the final weekend of the regular season, the Jaguars own an 8-8 record and lead the 7-9 Titans by one game in the division race. Their current edge is due in part to their 36-22 victory in Tennessee on Dec. 11 in the first of two annual head-to-head clashes. The Jaguars will take the division title with either a win or a tie in Week 18.

However, if the Titans are victorious this week, they would match the Jaguars' record and take the division crown based on the division-record tiebreaker. The Titans would finish the regular season with a 4-2 mark against AFC South foes, while the Jaguars would be 3-3.

The AFC South winner will be the fourth seed in the conference playoff field and will host the fifth seed during Super Wild Card Weekend (Jan. 14-16).

THE BROADCAST

The contest will be nationally televised on ESPN and ABC, including Nashville ABC affiliate WKRN News 2. The broadcast team includes play-by-play announcer Joe Buck, analyst Troy Aikman and reporter Lisa Salters.

ESPN Deportes will carry the Spanish-language telecast.

On phones and tablets, the newly-launched NFL+ subscription service offers access to all local games and all primetime games, live local and national audio for every NFL game, and more. This week's game is also available on ESPN+.

The Titans Radio Network and Nashville flagship 104.5 The Zone carry all Titans games across the Mid-South with the "Voice of the Titans" Mike Keith, analyst Dave McGinnis, sideline reporter Amie Wells and gameday host Rhett Bryan.

Additionally, Westwood One Sports will broadcast the game to a national radio audience. Play-by-play announcer Tom McCarthy and analyst Jason McCourty have the call.

TITANS GOING FOR THIRD CONSECUTIVE DIVISION TITLE

With a win this week at Jacksonville, the Titans will clinch their third consecutive division title. The only other three-year streak of division titles in franchise annals was when the Oilers won the AFL Eastern division each season from 1960 to 1962. It would also give the Titans four straight playoff berths for the first time since a franchise-record seven consecutive playoff appearances from 1987 to 1993. Head coach Mike Vrabel would join Jeff Fisher (six) and Jack Pardee (four) as the only head coaches to lead the franchise to at least four playoff appearances.

A week ago, the Titans hosted the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday night. With several starters out, the Titans were within four points of the Cowboys at the start of the fourth quarter. However, Dallas scored the final 10 points of the night and prevailed 27-13.

In the absence of starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who was placed on injured reserve, quarterback Joshua Dobbs recorded his first NFL start only eight days after the Titans signed him from the Detroit Lions practice squad. He completed 20 of 39 passes for 232 yards and his first career touchdown pass, a seven-yard strike to wide receiver Robert Woods.

The defense was led by safety Kevin Byard, who picked off a pair of passes to increase his career total to 27 interceptions, including a team-leading four interceptions in 2022. He moved into a tie for fourth place on the franchise's all-time career interceptions list and now has the most in the team's "Titans era" (1999 to present).

THE JAGUARS

A win by the Jaguars this week would give them their first playoff berth since winning the division in 2017. It would also give head coach Doug Pederson's club five consecutive victories and seven wins in a nine-game stretch to close out the regular season.

Even with a loss to the Titans, the Jaguars could make it to the postseason as a wild card. It would require a New England loss (against Buffalo), a Miami loss (against the Jets) and a Pittsburgh loss (against Cleveland).

Jaguars second-year quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the first-overall draft pick in 2021, has passed for 3,901 yards with 24 touchdowns and eight interceptions in his second season. His 95.4 passer rating ranks 10th in the NFL among qualifiers.

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