JACKSONVILLE – Each Saturday during the 2017 season, seven Jaguars experts – Tony Boselli, Frank Frangie, Jeff Lageman, Brent Martineau, John Oehser, Brian Sexton and J.P. Shadrick – will break down the following day's Jaguars matchup.
Up this week:
The Tennessee Titans at EverBank Field.
Frank Frangie, Radio Voice of the Jaguars
The Jaguars will win if:They can build on the confidence of last week's victory, but not get too caught up in it. They played the Texans with a chip on their shoulders; that needs to continue. They also need to stuff the run – it is critical to put Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota in long down-and-distance situations and make him pass off schedule. And Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette has to make positive yards on virtually every touch, as he did a week ago.
The Titans will win if: They play the same way the Jaguars want to play. They are built the way the Jaguars hope to be built – run it first, manage the chains, throw when they want to throw. They need to stop Fournette. Also, Tennessee has to hang in during a first quarter when Jacksonville will have emotion and momentum fueled by what should be a raucous crowd.
As Frangie sees it: This one is so interesting to see if the Jaguars can build on last week. Are they as good as they looked? They just might be. If the defense can harass Mariota the way it did the two Houston quarterbacks – it times it felt like they were playing with 15 defensive players – they can shock the world by starting 2-0. The recipe is there.
Jeff Lageman, Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars defensive end
The Jaguars will win if: They can contain the Titans' rushing attack. The Titans will renew their emphasis this week on their ground game after not having great success against the Raiders in Week 1. They have two great backs in DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry running behind the NFL's best tackle tandem. Mariota can cause damage with his legs as well.
The Titans will win if:The Titans will win if they can stop Fournette and allow defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau's blitzing style to control the tempo on obvious passing downs. LeBeau has three talented edge rushers in Brian Orakpo, Derrick Morgan and Erick Walden. Jurrell Casey at defensive tackle is one of the best interior rushers in the game.
As Lageman sees it: This will be a hard-fought game by two physical football teams. The loss of wide receiver Allen Robinson will be tough to overcome for the Jaguars' offense, but wide receivers Allen Hurns and Marquise Lee will rise to the occasion and show the Jaguars are not just a team that is built around Fournette. And the Jaguars' offensive line will prove that last week's effort was no fluke.
Brent Martineau, Action Sports Jax Sports Director
The Jaguars will win if:They "out-Titan" Tennessee. Both teams want to play a similar style on Sunday and it's simple: the team that does it better will win. Like the Titans, the Jaguars want to dominate the line of scrimmage, run the ball, reduce the risk of turnovers from their quarterback and force Tennessee to play catch up. We saw the formula against Houston and I don't see any reason to change it. I think 20-plus plus touches for Fournette and less than 25 throws for Blake Bortles equals a Jaguars victory.
The Titans will win if: They do what Houston could not and control the line of scrimmage. This offensive line for Tennessee is way better than the Texans' line, so don't expect 10 sacks against Mariota. The line is the Titans' strength. On the other side of the ball, LeBeau is still good and figures to have some wrinkles for the Jaguars' offensive line. It's as simple as a trenches game for the Titans and that's how they like it.
As Martineau sees it:The Jaguars' train is full steam ahead. I don't think this will be as dominant as a performance as last week, but confidence is a beautiful thing and the Jaguars have found it. Add in the home crowd and this should be a good environment for the Jags to start 2-0. Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett have clicked well in their three games together dating to last year, so expect another good game plan and a victory for the Jags on Sunday.
John Oehser,jaguars.comsenior writer
The Jaguars will win if: The defensive line is close to half as productive as it was last week, and if Fournette is even slightly more productive than he was in the same game. The Jaguars likely will play a long time before matching last week's franchise-record 10 sacks, and containing the mobile Mariota may be as important as sacking him. When the Jaguars are on offense, this game will be strength versus strength. The Titans' defense ranked second in the NFL against the run last season; if Fournette clears 100 yards, the Jaguars will feel in control Sunday.
The Titans will win in:Their offensive line controls the line of scrimmage. The Jaguars' ability to force the Texans into passing situations in Week 1 allowed the defensive line the pass-rush opportunities that defined the game. The Titans will make every effort to pass as infrequently as possible. If their attempts are under 25, the Jaguars are in trouble.
As Oehser sees it:This is the Jaguars' biggest game in more than a half decade. They're above .500 at home for the first time since 2010. They can take a two-game lead on a division favorite (Tennessee) with a victory, and the crowd may be as rowdy as it has been in a long time. The gut here is the Jaguars keep it that way throughout and take early control of the division.
Brian Sexton,jaguars.comsenior correspondent
The Jaguars will win if:Bortles can repeat his 103.5 quarterback rating from his last start against the Titans on Christmas Eve 2016. He completed 68 percent of his passes for 325 yards and had zero — repeat: zero – turnovers. It would be great to lean on Fournette and expect the defense to create turnovers and score but, they won't do that every week and maybe not even every other week; Bortles is going to have to be able to make good decisions and sharp passes into the teeth of the defense. It would help if he could catch another touchdown pass like he did last Christmas Ever but it's not necessary for the victory.
The Titans will win if:They can run effectively and stay balanced. The Jaguars can't afford to stack the box against the run because Mariota has weapons this season – plus he's a very efficient. The Titans want to run and set up play action for their Exotic Smash Mouth offense, which would keep the Jaguars defense off-balance. If the Titans do what they like to do – run the ball behind their huge offensive line –they put themselves in a position to do what they did last season: win close games.
As Sexton sees it: EverBank Field will be energized Sunday for Opening Day with a winning football team. I get it: 1-0 is just that … one victory. But it was a hell of win on the road against a Houston team that has owned them and the division the last few seasons. Now in come the Titans, whose playoff hopes the Jaguars crushed last season while playing out the schedule. If that doesn't get the place rocking, I don't know what will. The Jaguars are for real on defense and their running game is going to be very good. If Bortles can play effectively without Robinson on Sunday, the Jaguars win. I think he can and I think they do.
The Jaguars will win if:They hold the Titans to under 100 yards rushing. Murray and Henry couldn't find any momentum last week against the Raiders, and Mariota had the Titans' only rushing touchdowns in the loss. Contain the run game, keep Mariota in the pocket and make him throw against a Jaguars secondary that locked it down last week in Houston.
The Titans will win if:The Jaguars offensive line can't repeat last week's output – an outstanding performance against a Texans group regarded as one of the best in the NFL. This Titans' defense has some pieces that can beat you, so if Casey gets loose and starts wreaking havoc in the backfield – both in the run game and the pass game – it could be a bad day.
As Shadrick sees it:It has to be killing Titans Head Coach Mike Mularkey that "Exotic Smash Mouth" was put on hold last week; expect an emphasis back to the run for the Titans, especially with the Jags' pass rush flashing 10 sacks last week. Come hell or high water, the Jags will continue to run – as promised all offseason by the organization. This is a low-scoring, fast-moving game that could come down to a late score. One missed assignment from either side in run defense could prove costly.
Tony Boselli, Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars left tackle
The Jaguars will win if: They offensively stick to the formula they were built on: a heavy dose of Fournette and Chris Ivory, with Bortles having around 25 attempts. Defensively, the key is making Mariota beat you with the pass. The pass rush has to be smart and calculated, keeping Mariota in the pocket.
The Titans will win if: They shut down the Jaguars' run. Offensively, they have to remember who they are and get back to the ground attack. They can't be held under 100 yards rushing again this week.
As Boselli sees it: The Jaguars win, 24-14. I think the defense will build on what it did last week and Fournette will have another big day with 100-plus yards.