JACKSONVILLE – Each Saturday during the 2019 season, nine Jaguars experts – Rick Ballou, Tony Boselli, Frank Frangie, Jeff Lageman, Brent Martineau, John Oehser, Brian Sexton, J.P. Shadrick and Ashlyn Sullivan – will break down the following day's Jaguars matchup.
Up this week:
The Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee.
Tony Boselli, Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars left tackle
The Jaguars will win if: They have balance on offense and force the Titans to be unbalanced. Offensively, they need to run more than nine times if they want any chance to win. I know they are comfortable with the ball in quarterback Nick Foles' hands, but running back Leonard Fournette still needs to be a major part of the offense. He needs a minimum of 20 carries Sunday for the Jaguars to win. Defensively, the plan is easy: stop Titans running back Derrick Henry. The execution in this case will be difficult. The Jaguars' defense has been abysmal stopping the run; if they want to win for the first time in Nashville since 2013, they will need to hold Henry to under 75 yards.
The Titans will win if: They win the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. This will mean Fournette does not have an impact in the game and that Henry will be over 100 yards on the ground. If this happens, the Titans will continue their dominance of the Jaguars in Nashville.
As Boselli sees it: There is no way the Jaguars' defense will be as bad as it was in London and Indianapolis stopping the run. I expect an emotionally-charged defensive effort from the Jaguars' front seven that slows down Henry. This group is tired of being embarrassed by opposing offensive lines and running backs. Offensively, look for the one of the heaviest workloads for Fournette this season. There is no way offensive coordinator John DeFilippo gets away from the run like he did last week; if he does, Head Coach Doug Marrone will remind him to call the run. This will open up the passing game for Foles and the Jaguars' wide receivers. Add all this together and it equals a Jaguars victory: 24-21.
Frank Frangie, Radio Voice of the Jaguars
The Jaguars will win if: They can run it, have some balance, etc. They also need to start fast and hold onto an early lead. They scored first last week, but the Colts put together the long drive to tie the score immediately afterward. If they can hold a lead into the second quarter, maybe even the half, they can gain needed confidence. And they must stop the run, which is the obvious thing. The Colts ran crazy on them last week and Henry has played well against his hometown team.
The Titans will win if: They run it well, which is what they do best. They also need to continue to play well in the red zone, which they have done very well since Ryan Tannehill has taken over at quarterback. And they need to stop Fournette and make Jacksonville one-dimensional.
As Frangie sees it: This is a gigantic game for the Jaguars, and they have to be good early. If they run early, and stuff Henry early, they have a chance. But they can't get behind in this one. This is a tough challenge.
Jeff Lageman, Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars defensive end
The Jaguars will win: If they can find a way to get back to playing a physical brand of football. This team has won when it has been able to run the football and stop the run. The last two weeks have not been close to their brand of ball.
The Titans will win: If Henry rushes for more yards than Fournette. Henry is a load and the Titans love to get him on the perimeter of the Jaguars' defense to allow his size and strength to take control of the game.
As Lageman sees it: The Jaguars are struggling right now. Struggling to be a physical defensive unit and stop the run. Struggling to find an identity on offense with Foles back in the lineup and struggling to get carries to Fournette. Struggling to compete in the AFC South. The struggles will continue in Nashville.
Brent Martineau, Action Sports Jax Sports Director
The Jaguars will win if: They flip the script that has gone so wrong the last two games. It has been a fact this year: If the Jaguars hold the opposition under 100 yards rushing, they win. I'll keep it simple: If the Jaguars slow Henry, they will win.
The Titans will win if: They frustrate an already frustrated football team. The Jaguars' offense has been stuck in neutral partly because of their unwillingness to get Fournette more touches. If the Titans make the Jaguars one-dimensional and quiet Fournette again, it might be a long day for the Jaguars.
As Martineau sees it: I'm at the prove-it stage with the Jaguars. There's not much to buy into right now from the last two games. This is less about the Titans and more about trying to figure out the Jaguars. I think Tennessee will win 23-10 to essentially finish any talk by the Jaguars of a late-season run.
John Oehser, jaguars.com senior writer
The Jaguars will win if: They stop Henry and keep the Titans from being effective in the red zone. The Jaguars' run-stopping difficulties in recent weeks are well-documented, as are their struggles against Henry in Nashville. The Titans have scored on their last 10 red-zone possessions, making those opportunities key to Sunday's matchup.
The Titans will win if: They play the game they typically do at home against the Jaguars. Tennessee has manhandled the Jaguars in Nashville for a half decade, often pounding a strong running game at the Jaguars' defense early and controlling momentum on the way to convincing victories. That's the Titans' formula for success. It's up to the Jaguars to negate that formula.
As Oehser sees it: This is a brutally tough matchup for the Jaguars. They're reeling after two consecutive losses, and their weakness – run defense – plays directly into the Titans' strength. The Jaguars believe they're still a very capable defense. They'll have to prove it to win Sunday, and there hasn't been enough evidence of that lately to feel good about their chances.
Brian Sexton, jaguars.com senior correspondent
The Jaguars will win if: Foles and the offense build an early lead and force the Titans to abandon the run. I expect the Jaguars' run defense to play better in Nashville than they did in London or Indianapolis. How much better is the question? Right now, the Jaguars' best defense is an offense that can score. Can these guys score? They should be able to, but they've only put up 16 points in the last two must-win games. The only way the Jaguars win is if the offense comes to play.
The Titans will win if: The Jaguars' offense continues to sputter and struggle. The Jaguars can't stop the run and the Titans love to run the ball with Henry. The Jags did a good job on him in Week 3, but that was two months ago. If the Titans get a decent lead and can pound the ball, they'll win on Sunday.
As Sexton sees it: This is a game the Titans should win. They're coming off their bye and a huge victory over Kansas City the week before. Tannehill has saved their season. They have all the momentum and the Jaguars have laid an egg in back-to-back games we knew would define their season. Mix in that the Jaguars haven't played well in Nashville since 2015 and haven't won there since 2013, and this is a slam dunk, right? I'm going with the gut feeling this week and picking the upset. Somehow the Jaguars get off the mat and find a way to win.
J.P. Shadrick, jaguars.com reporter/editor
The Jaguars will win if: They find some offensive consistency. The Jaguars must stay on the field; multiple three-and-outs are bad for business on offense, but they don't help the Jaguars' defense either. The Jaguars must find a balance, move the ball and score early.
The Titans will win if: They can run consistently with Henry and get the Jaguars' defense on its heels. If the Jaguars defense can force some third-and-7-plus situations, then they can get moving in the pass-rush game. Second-and-four or third-and-two for the Titans on offense would be a long day at the office for the Jaguars.
As Shadrick sees it: If the Jaguars win this game, there is still a slim hope for the postseason and an opportunity to try to rally at the end of the season – or to at least finish on a positive note. If they lose, it will likely be a long, chilly December and January in Jacksonville. They've trended the wrong direction the last two games, but now we've reached the crossroad. Which way will this team go?
Ashlyn Sullivan, Digital reporter and host
The Jaguars will win if: They stop Henry. This is no surprise to anyone. If the Jags don't massively improve their run defense, they will have a hard time beating any team. Henry is one of the most powerful backs in the league and is the definition of a downhill runner. Jacksonville's defense needs to focus on keeping Henry to under 100 yards in order to have a chance.
The Titans will win if: They take away Fournette. The Jaguars only ran the ball nine times last week in their loss to the Colts. Marrone won't make that same mistake again. You can expect Fournette to have a heavy workload in Nashville, but if the Titans stack the box and diminish his productivity, Foles and the offense will be forced to air it out. I don't think many are confident in that game plan after what we saw last week.
As Sullivan sees it: I can't help but feel unsure about this game because the Jags have given me no reason to be confident. If they can get back to establishing a running attack on offense and hold Henry to an OK day, they can win. If the same run defense shows up from last week, they don't have a chance to beat the Titans.