NASHVILLE, Tenn. –** The Titans face the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday at EverBank Field:
Here's a look at six things to watch:
Mariota's return trip**
Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota hasn't wanted to talk about it. Coach Mike Mularkey isn't too keen on the subject either. But the memory of the Christmas Eve game from a year ago – and Mariota carted off the field - is etched in the minds of players, coaches and fans. Mariota would love to replace that mental image with a much more positive one. He'd love to leave the field he was carted off on with a win.
Slow down the rush
Mariota will need time to work, of course. That's a luxury the Texans quarterbacks didn't have a week ago when the Jaguars racked up a mind-boggling 10 sacks in the opener. Defensive lineman Calais Campbell had four of the sacks, but pressure came from everywhere. The Titans did a nice job protecting Mariota in Week One – he QB was sacked just once. The offensive line will be on the spot in this one to keep their QB clean.
Run the ball**
Running back DeMarco Murray was asked this week if he wanted to see more than 12 carries this week. He responded with: "I want to see a win." Getting the W is the ultimate goal, of course, but accomplishing that would be made much easier of the Titans can get the ground game going. Murray managed just 44 yards on those 12 carries last week, while Derrick Henry had just 25 yards on six carries. The Titans need to find more success in this one.
Tackle, tackle, tackle
The Titans finished last season with the league's second-best run defense. But tackling was an issue in a Week One loss to the Raiders, and Marshawn Lynch and Co. made them pay. The struggles weren't limited to just the running backs, but the Titans will be challenged by some big backs on Sunday. Jacksonville's Leonard Fournette and Chris Ivory are two big men, and the Titans need to get them down with gang tackling.
I was thoroughly impressed with the way rookie receiver Corey Davis played in his NFL debut. Davis went after the ball aggressively, and he made a big impact in his 42 snaps. The good news is Davis will just keep getting better as he gets in sync with Mariota, and works his way into even better shape. A week after catching six passes for 69 yards, what will Davis do for an encore? I'm expecting Eric Decker to make more of an impact in Week 2 as well.
The Jaguars won last week despite the fact quarterback Blake Bortles completed just 11-of-21 passes for 125 yards. I hate to bring up a sore subject again, but the Titans allowed Bortles to get way to comfortable in the last meeting in Jacksonville, and we all remember what happens. The Titans need to be disruptive up front to make Bortles uncomfortable, and that could force him into making mistakes.
TitansOnline.com looks back at the all-time series against the Jacksonville Jaguars.