NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Titans face the Jaguars on Thursday night at Nissan Stadium.
Here's a look at six things to watch:
Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota turned in the most memorable play of his NFL career in last year's game against the Jaguars in Nashville. He tucked the ball and ran 87 yards for a touchdown, electrifying the crowd each step of the way. Mariota faced the Jaguars twice last season, and racked up 630 combined yards (499 pass, 131 rushing) and five touchdowns in the two games. Remember his dive to the pylon last year in Jacksonville? What will he have in store this year in primetime?
Murray has eclipsed the 100-yard mark in three of the last five games, and he has 633 rushing yards on the season. He's been the team's best player this season, a year after being traded away from the Eagles. Murray would never admit it, but this game has to mean a lot to him. On national television, he has a chance to remind those in Philadelphia – and the rest of the NFL -- they probably should've valued him a little bit more last season.
The Titans will be without starting cornerback Perrish Cox (concussion) and safety Rashad Johnson (neck) due to injuries, so others will need to step up and play well. Rookie safety Kevin Byard is one of those players. Byard earned more playing time in recent weeks with his performance, and you can't help but get the sense he's on the verge of making a big play. Cornerbacks Brice McCain and Valentino Blake will be in the mix more with Cox out of the lineup.
The Titans didn't skip a beat when Josh Kline stepped in for Chance Warmack at right guard earlier this season, and the team hopes the same will hold true as Schwenke steps in for an injured Quinton Spain at left guard. Schwenke has plenty of experience, and his time working with the first group in the offseason and in last week's game vs. the Colts should help. But he'll need to jell quickly on an offensive line that's been solid this season.
Facing Jalen Ramsey**
Ramsey, selected fifth overall by the Jaguars in the NFL Draft, is a confident rookie with plenty of talent. A Smyrna native who played at Brentwood Academy, he'll be jacked up for tonight's game in Nashville. A starting cornerback, Ramsey has held his own against some of the NFL's top receivers this season. Some teams have stayed away from him. Will the Titans test him?
OK, I'm sorry to have to bring this one up, but until the Titans quash the talk, it's going to be an area to watch each week. The Titans have had their share of blunders on special teams this season, and the miscues continued last week. The team needs to settle down here and be more consistent. I hate to remind everyone, but the Jaguars won last year's Color Rush game with a late punt return for a touchdown. The Titans have to quash the problems here once and for all.
TitansOnline.com looks back at the all-time series against the Jacksonville Jaguars.