Posted on December 27, 2017, by Travis Pulver
It has been a long time since anyone other than fans of the Tennessee Titans or Jacksonville Jaguars cared about either team this late in the season. Typically, at this point, both fan bases are looking ahead to the Draft. But not this time. Jacksonville is actually the AFC South Champion and the Tennessee Titans still have a shot to end their playoff drought.
All they have to do is beat the Jaguars (again) or hope that the Buffalo Bills and the Los Angeles Chargers lose. Buffalo could lose to Miami and the Chargers could lose to the Raiders, but no one in Tennessee wants to count on that.
The journey could be made a little easier for the Titans if the Jaguars decide to rest their starters this week. They have already locked up the No. 3 seed. A win can’t help them and a loss can’t hurt. The smart move would be for them to rest guys. But it sounds like Doug Marrone is not planning to do so.
Sign up for a FREE Trial Consultation to start working with Legendary Sports Bettor Jon Price
Then again, the Jaguars defense was decimated by the San Francisco 49ers last week much like it was destroyed by the Titans back in Week Two. There is something to be said for being at your best when the postseason starts.
But will it be worth it to risk losing someone of value heading into the team’s first playoff game since 2007?
So—who’s going to win?
Tennessee has played well of late. Just not well enough to win. Except for their 40-17 dismantling at the hands of the Steelers in Week 11, every game but one has been close. Problem is, they’ve come out on the losing end more than the winning end. Sunday’s loss to the Rams makes it three in a row for the Titans, all by five points or less.
There is nothing like a ‘do or die’ scenario to get the most out of a team. But even if the Jaguars do sit their star players, the Titans may not have the offense needed to beat Jacksonville’s second team defense.
Tennessee hasn’t scored 30+ points since Week six when they put up 36 on the Colts. It was also the last time Marcus Marriota threw for 300+ (with the exception of the Steelers game where he also threw four interceptions). Since Week Six, he’s thrown eight touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
If the Titans are going to have a shot, they need Marriota to get his groove back. Either that or rediscover their running game. Since Week Six, they have only had two games where they rushed for 100+ yards (Week Ten and Thirteen). Neither Derek Henry or DeMarco Murray have been able to get much going.
Even though Murray left Sunday’s game early with an injury (and is expected to play this week), he still led the Titans with 48 yards (15 carries).
Expect the Jaguars to sit everyone this week regardless of what Marrone says; common sense will prevail. If they don’t, expect most of them not to play more than a series or two; definitely not more than a half. Why? Because they want the Titans to win.
If the Titans win then they get to play the Jaguars again in the Wild Card round. If they lose, then the Jaguars will have to play the Chargers (probably). The Chargers have an incredible pass rush and a potentially explosive offense. Jacksonville does not want to play them if they can avoid it.
Could the Jaguars beat the Chargers? Yes, probably, but when you haven’t been to the postseason for close to a decade no sense in making it any harder than it needs to be. However, the Titans and their struggling offense are not going to make it easy.
But Jacksonville will eventually be able to downgrade their defensive front enough for the Titans to run well enough against them to win the game. Just don’t expect them to win by much.