NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans face the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville.
Here's a look at six things to watch in Sunday's game.
It's easier said than done, of course, against a Jaguars defense that's one of the best in the NFL. But in the last 10 meetings in Jacksonville, the Titans are 4-0 when they've scored at least 20 points. When the Titans have scored less than 20, they're 0-6. The Titans fared well a year ago in Jacksonville in a September game, rolling up a bunch of second-half points in a 37-16 win. The challenge will be a big one on Sunday.
Titans running back Derrick Henry hasn't been pleased with his start to the season, and playing against the Jaguars has given him some extra juice in the past. Henry ran for 92 yards, including a 17-yard touchdown run, last year at Jacksonville, and his 66-yard touchdown catch was big in the December game. Henry has 90-plus scrimmage yards and a TD in 3 of 4 career meetings vs. the Jaguars. It's a homecoming of sorts for Henry, who played at nearby Yulee High and was recognized by the crowd at TIAA Bank Field for winning an award as a prep star. The Titans will need to get the run game going, and it will take a one-two punch with Henry and Dion Lewis to do it.
Titans receivers vs. Jaguars secondary
The Titans receivers all some to bring something different to the table. Corey Davis is big and physical, and he showed it vs. Houston. Did you see him throwing the Texan off him? Taywan Taylor is a speedy playmaker, and Rishard Matthews and Tajae Sharpe have proven to be dependable targets capable of making tough catches. At some point, I expect to see Matthews more involved than he's been so far. Jacksonville cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye make up a talented tandem. The Titans receiving corps will need to rise up and make plays.
The Titans did a nice job creating pressure on Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, and now the mission is to make Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles uncomfortable. Bortles struggled against the Titans last year, but he lit up the Patriots last week and he's shown improvement in his last 12 or so games. Defensive lineman Jurrell Casey, who is coming off a two-sack game, and the rest of the blue crew will aim to be disruptive, and look for some pressure from blitzing others as well.
Protect the QB
Starting left tackle Taylor Lewan will be back for the Titans, and that's a good sign no matter who ends up playing quarterback -- Marcus Mariota or Blaine Gabbert -- on Sunday. During the first two weeks of the season, the Titans have allowed just one sack. Along with the Jaguars, that's best in the NFL. The Titans face a big challenge in a Jacksonville defense that's known for getting after QBs. The Jaguars have just four sacks in two games this season, and the Titans don't want them to get cranked up on Sunday.
The Titans have made big plays on special teams in the first two games this season – Darius Jennings took a kickoff return to the house in the opener at Miami, and Kevin Byard connected with Dane Cruikshank for a touchdown pass on a fake punt vs. Houston. The Titans and Jaguars are preparing for an old-fashioned fist fight on Sunday on both sides of the ball. A big play on special teams would provide a big boost.
TitansOnline.com looks back at the all-time series against the Jacksonville Jaguars.