NASHVILLE, Tenn. — This week the Tennessee Titans (2-12) travel to face the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12) in a nationally-televised game. Kickoff at EverBank Field (capacity 67,297) is scheduled for 8:25 p.m. EST/7:25 p.m. CST on Thursday, Dec. 18.
The Titans are looking to sweep the season series with the Jaguars for only the fifth time in the 20-year-old rivalry. They won the Oct. 12 matchup at LP Field, which extended their lead in the all-time series to 23-17, including playoffs.
NFL Network will broadcast the game to a national television audience. The telecast also can be seen locally in Nashville on WZTV FOX 17. Play-by-play announcer Jim Nantz and analyst Phil Simms will call the action, while Tracy Wolfson will report from the sidelines.
The Titans Radio Network, including Nashville flagship 104.5 The Zone, will carry the game across the Mid-South with the "Voice of the Titans" Mike Keith, analyst Frank Wycheck, gameday host Rhett Bryan and sideline reporter Jonathan Hutton.
Additionally, Westwood One Sports will broadcast the game to a national radio audience. Bob Wischusen (play-by-play), Brady Quinn (analyst) and Chris Doering (sidelines) will have the call.
TITANS PREPARE FOR PRIMETIME
The Titans will make their second primetime appearance of 2014 when they travel to Jacksonville. On Nov. 17, they hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night and narrowly lost 27-24.
A primetime road game is rare for the Titans in recent years. Their last five night games have been played at LP Field, and the last time they traveled for a primetime contest was Oct. 18, 2010, when the Jaguars hosted them on Monday Night Football. The Titans won that battle 30-3.
In their history, the Titans are 4-5 on Thursday Night Football. They have never met the Jaguars on a Thursday.
The Titans hope the short week brings a quicker end to an eight-game losing skid, which began on Oct. 19. Their last win came at the expense of the Jaguars a week earlier at LP Field. On that day, Titans nose tackle Sammie Hill blocked a 55-yard field goal attempt by Josh Scobee in the final seconds to preserve a 16-14 victory.
Last week the Titans had a fourth-quarter lead at home against the New York Jets, but a one-yard rushing touchdown by Chris Ivory put the Jets on top with three minutes remaining on the clock. A frantic, last-second charge by the Titans ended on New York's nine-yard line as time expired.
In the defeat, the Titans lost a quarterback to injury for the second consecutive week. Jake Locker was driven to the turf late in the second quarter by Jets defender Quinton Coples and was diagnosed with a left shoulder injury. He was placed on injured reserve the following day, and with his roster spot, the team signed veteran quarterback Jordan Palmer as a free agent.
With Locker out against the Jets, the offense turned to Charlie Whitehurst, the last of three Titans quarterbacks left standing at the time. In Week 14, rookie signal caller Zach Mettenberger went down with a right shoulder injury against the New York Giants.
The Titans will have 10 days between the Thursday night matchup with the Jaguars and their season finale. On Dec. 28, they conclude their 2014 campaign at LP Field against the Indianapolis Colts.
The Jaguars' 2-12 record mirrors that of the Titans. They rebounded from their earlier loss at Tennessee to pick up their first win in Week 7 over the Cleveland Browns, and their second win came on Nov. 30 against the New York Giants.
Last week, the Jaguars traveled to Baltimore and took a lead into halftime, only to have the Ravens rally and hand them a 20-12 setback. The Ravens capitalized on a blocked punt for a touchdown and eight sacks against Jaguars rookie quarterback Blake Bortles.
Bortles, the third-overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, was making his 11th career start. The Central Florida product completed 21 of 37 passes for 210 yards and was intercepted once by the Ravens. For the season, he is 253-of-416 passing for 2,676 yards with 10 touchdowns and 17 interceptions (70.5 passer rating).
The Jaguars are in their second season under head coach Gus Bradley, who was named to his current post after four campaigns as the defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks.
The Jaguars are the Titans' longest-standing division rival. The clubs have met at least twice each year since Jacksonville began play as an expansion franchise in 1995. For the first seven seasons of the rivalry they played in the AFC Central, and for the last 13 years they have been members of the AFC South. The teams have met a total of 40 times, with the Titans holding a 23-17 advantage.
The majority of Titans-Jaguars contests have been highly competitive. Overall, 24 of the 40 Titans-Jaguars meetings have been decided by seven points or fewer. Such was the case in both 2013 matchups, the first a 29-27 Jaguars win at LP Field (Nov. 10) and the second a 20-16 triumph for the Titans at EverBank Field (Dec. 22). It marked the fifth consecutive year the clubs split the season series.
In the first matchup of 2014, played at LP Field on Oct. 12, the Titans needed a blocked field goal in the game's waning seconds to preserve a 16-14 win. The Titans forced two turnovers and recorded six sacks during the course of the afternoon.
The Titans have posted two separate five-game winning streaks against the Jaguars, dating from 1998-00 and 2001-03. Jacksonville's longest winning streak in the series was a four-game run from 1996-98.
The stakes of the rivalry were never higher than in 1999, when the Titans and Jaguars met three times, including the AFC Championship Game in Jacksonville. Steve McNair rushed for two touchdowns and Derrick Mason returned a kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown as the Titans earned their first Super Bowl berth with a 33-14 win. Tennessee went on to Super Bowl XXXIV and eventually fell at the hands of the St. Louis Rams, 23-16.
The Jaguars played their first game in franchise history against the then-Houston Oilers on Sept. 3, 1995. Playing in Jacksonville, the Oilers won the game by a 10-3 final score.