JACKSONVILLE – Each week during the 2021 season, Jaguars experts – Rick Ballou, Tony Boselli, Frank Frangie, Jeff Lageman, Brent Martineau, John Oehser, Brian Sexton, J.P. Shadrick and Ashlyn Sullivan – will analyze the following day's Jaguars matchup.
Up this week:
The Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn.
Brian Sexton, jaguars.com senior correspondent
The Jaguars will win if: They're plus-two takeaway-giveaway or better. See last week's entry and the week before that. Extra possessions and short fields are essential for an offense that has scored 10 points a game since the bye week.
The Titans will win if: They are plus-one or better. The Jaguars aren't built to come from behind and lack the firepower to overcome adversity. If the Titans take the ball away a couple of times, it's more than likely that the Jaguars' offense will be unable to handle it.
As Sexton sees it: The Titans are a lot like the Rams were last week: desperate. I get that Titans running back Derrick Henry isn't playing – nor are wide receiver A.J. Brown and a host of other key players. I also get that they've lost consecutive games and appear to be reeling. But the Jaguars have been reeling since they lost to the Indianapolis Colts last month – and after last week's performance in Los Angeles, it's hard to see them winning on the road against a team playing for the AFC South title and playoff seeding.
John Oehser, jaguars.com senior writer
The Jaguars will win if: They stop the run and force multiple turnovers. They haven't done the first part as well in recent weeks as at the beginning of the season and they haven't done the second part well at all the entire season. The Jaguars' offense isn't playing well enough to win without the defense creating points – and the defense hasn't created enough this season.
The Titans will win if: They play a clean game and out-physical the Jaguars. The Titans were 8-2 and holding the AFC's best record before two turnover-dominated losses to the Houston Texans and New England Patriots heading into last week's bye. They believe they can run and out-tough anyone, and doing so is their identity.
As Oehser sees it: The Jaguars must play a smart, keep mistakes to a minimum and be willing to out-tough one of the NFL's toughest teams for four quarters. That's a difficult combination when you're 2-10 and long since out of contention.
Tony Boselli, Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars left tackle
The Jaguars will win if: They can start fast and have a very effective running game. Neither of these things have happened lately for the Jaguars; if they can play without being immediately behind, they can stick with the running game and that's when the Jaguars' offense and Lawrence are at their best.
The Titans will win if: They jump on the Jaguars early, take away the run and force the Jags into a pass-heavy attack. This is what teams have done the last four weeks, and their results have been victories.
As Boselli sees it: The Jaguars haven't won in Nashville since 2013, and they are going to face a laser-focused Titans team coming off two losses. They won't have Henry or wide receiver AJ Brown, but I still think they will have enough offense to outscore a Jags team who averaging 10.7 points since the Week 7 bye: Titans 24, Jags 10.
Brent Martineau, Action Sports Jax Sports Director
The Jaguars will win if: Running back James Robinson has a big game coming off this wild week in Jacksonville. All eyes on the running game and on rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence. The Jags say they are going to play free and easy. They are due for a breakout on offense, but they only can win if Robinson hits the century mark and rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence throws for at least 250 yards.
The Titans will win if: They eliminate giveaways. They are on an unfriendly trend of turnovers the last couple of games, and it would seem the only way to lose this game is to beat themselves. The Titans have some strange losses this year – to the New York Jets and Houston Texans. If they take care of the football, they should be OK against the Jaguars.
As Martineau sees it: It's been one of the wildest weeks in my 14 years in Jacksonville. There are no signs of hope right now for the Jaguars, but I have a strange feeling the week's events have galvanized this locker room. I'm going to do it: I think the Jaguars are going to upset the Titans, 27-20.
J.P. Shadrick, jaguars.com senior reporter
The Jaguars will win if: They attain sustainability on offense or make a big offensive play or two to flip the field. Possessions must finish with points. In addition, they need a takeaway or two on defense.
The Titans will win if: They get into a groove in the running game with a committee of backs, stay on the field and finish with scores. The Jaguars' offense hasn't consistently answered with points when pressed this season. A two-score Titans lead could be fatal for the Jaguars; it has been so far this season.
As Shadrick sees it: The Jaguars haven't won in Nashville since 2013, and have won only five times at Nissan Stadium all-time (1999-2020). The theme in many of those Jaguars wins: the running game. The more physical team often wins this matchup. The Jaguars need early success, the offense must stay on the field longer and the defense must get a couple takeaways.
Rick Ballou, Jaguars sideline reporter
The Jaguars will win if: They avoid falling behind early. The Jaguars really have struggled to get going in games. If they plan on pulling off the upset, they'll need to run the ball consistently with Robinson. He had his best game of the year in the first meeting against Tennessee when he rushed for 149 yards.
The Titans will win if: They don't turn the ball over. If they avoid turnovers, they should have their way with the Jaguars. Tennessee has lost two straight and is coming off a bye. Even without Henry, the Titans should be able to run the ball against a Jacksonville defense that has struggled against the run in the last four games.
As Ballou sees it: The Jaguars haven't won in Nashville since 2013 and have lost eight of nine overall to the Titans. Tennessee still is in position for a first-round bye so this is an important game for the Titans. The Titans will roll in the second half for their ninth victory of the season.
Frank Frangie, Radio Voice of the Jaguars
The Jaguars will win if: They run with James Robinson, put the midweek distractions behind them and keep the Titans off the field.
The Titans will win if: If they make Jacksonville one-dimensional, harass Lawrence and get to 20 or so points.
As Frangie sees it: This is a tough one for the Jaguars. The Titans are refreshed after a bye week and have lost two in a row. They need it badly.
Jeff Lageman, Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars defensive end
The Jaguars will win if: They can be the more physical team and bloody the nose of the AFC South-leading Titans. The Jaguars have not been great stopping the run recently and must get back to form as Tennessee is all about running even without Henry. Robinson and the Jaguars' offensive line also must return to form and take pressure off a struggling passing game.
The Titans will win if: They don't lose the turnover battle. Interceptions against the Texans and fumbles against the New England Patriots derailed the Titans' chances of winning their last two games. Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been efficient against the Jaguars and will look to continue to that without star-power players at the skill positions.
As Lageman sees it: This will be a close game that may come down to the wire. The Titans have scored just 26 points in the last two games, and the Jaguars' offensive struggles are well documented. Tennessee is looking to maintain its division lead over the Colts, and the Jaguars are looking to find some positivity in the last weeks of the season. The Titans have been very successful against the Jaguars at home in Nashville. The Jaguars are not trending in the proper direction as many were expecting in Lawrence's rookie season. There are five opportunities left to change that.
Ashlyn Sullivan, Jaguars team reporter
The Jaguars will win if: They stop the Titans' rushing attack. It is impressive how Tennessee has been able to stick to its identity without Henry, rushing for 270 yards against the Patriots two weeks ago. The Jaguars' defense must load the box and sell out to stop the run Sunday to stay competitive. There have been too many Nashville memories of Henry breaking one open. The Jaguars can't allow another running back to do the same.
The Titans will win if: They play sound defense. That sounds vague, but the Jaguars can't score right now. If the Titans can stop Robinson, I do not see the Jaguars' offense being productive enough to win. Lawrence will have to make plays happen and do something the Jaguars haven't done all season – create a downfield passing attack – to win Sunday.
As Sullivan sees it: I don't see this going well at all. Even without Henry, the Titans' rushing attack worries me. The Jaguars' run defense hasn't been able to get back to how it played against the Bills in November. Jaguars cornerback Shaquill Griffin will shadow Titans wide receiver Julio Jones if Jones plays, and I don't think that will be an issue with how Griffin has played this season. It all boils down to the Jaguars stopping the run, which they haven't shown they can do in the past month.