NASHVILLE – Ryan Tannehill is preparing for the Jacksonville Jaguars for the second time this season, but this week's matchup is different.
Back in Week 3, Tannehill was the team's back-up in a game that didn't go so well. The Titans lost 20-7 in Jacksonville on a night when starting quarterback Marcus Mariota was sacked nine times.
In the rematch on Sunday at Nissan Stadium, Tannehill will aim to keep the momentum going in his fifth game as the team's starter. The Titans have won three of their last four games, and things are getting interesting.
Tannehill is happy to get the chance.
"I enjoy playing a lot," Tannehill said on Wednesday. "It's definitely a different aspect of just not taking the little things for granted, being on the field and just enjoying every second that I get in preparation and competing with the guys.
"(I'm) just trying to go out and play good football. We've got good players on this team and good weapons on the outside, so just trying to distribute the football and throw it to the open guy. … I think we've done a decent job at certain times of executing and being an efficient offense, and that's what we'll look to do."
Tannehill has thrown for 1,161 yards and eight touchdowns on the season, with a 104.4 rating. He has a 100-plus rating in three homes games with the Titans, and he's coming off a 181-yard, two touchdown performance against the Chiefs that saw him engineer his third game-winning drive in four starts.
Tannehill can sense the confidence around him is growing. With the team's recent success in the red zone, the Titans are now No.1 in the league in red zone offense (touchdowns scored). But Tannehill knows the success of previous weeks has nothing to do with what happens on Sunday, he said.
Still, he feels momentum is building.
"It's a week-to-week league," Tannehill said. "It doesn't really matter what you did in the past. I do think that with the success late in games that we've had, I think there's a confidence level that we're never out of it. As long as we're in striking distance late in the game, I think we have that confidence that we can make some plays and win the game.
"I'd hope that there is a confidence level with me in there. I know my confidence level in the guys around me is huge. Like I said, there's a level of confidence there that no matter where we're at, as long as we're in striking distance at the end of the game, that we're going to find a way to win."
The Titans fell behind the Jaguars 14-0 early in the Week 3 contest, and that allowed Jacksonville to send extra pressure early and often.
Defensive lineman Calais Campbell had three sacks in the first meeting, and Jacksonville defenders Josh Allen and Dawuane Smoot had two sacks each against a Titans offensive line that was playing without two of their current starters.
In Tannehill's eyes, the challenge is a big one once again.
"They're physical," Tannehill said of the Jaguars. "They pressure a lot, very physical. They kind of set the tone early in the game and we got behind. It's not a team that you want to be playing from behind. They have a good pass rush, a good secondary, so it's going to be tough if you're in that situation. We want to come out, execute early and be in a good position to play our game plan throughout the game."
With six games left in the regular season, the Titans know they have an opportunity.
The Titans (5-5) are just one game behind Indianapolis and Houston, both 6-4, and just one game ahead of Jacksonville in the AFC South.
"This is the NFL, right? It's a tough, tough league, and every week is huge, especially late in the year," Tannehill said. "So, we have to play our best football here down the stretch, and it starts this week with Jacksonville."