JACKSONVILLE – Each week during the 2022 season, Jaguars "experts" – Tony Boselli, Frank Frangie, Jeff Lageman, Brent Martineau, John Oehser, Brian Sexton and J.P. Shadrick – will analyze the following day's Jaguars matchup.
Up this week:
The Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn.
Tony Boselli, Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars left tackle
- The Jaguars will win if:They can shut down the run game of the Titans led by Henry and force Tannehill to beat them. The Titans' offensive line has not played well the last two weeks. If they have to protect Tannehill in straight drop-back passing situations, it will be to the Jaguars' advantage.
- The Titans will win if:They do what they have done historically when the Jaguars travel to Nashville: Dominate the line of scrimmage and run Henry down the Jaguars' throat. In the past, the Titans have been the more physical team. If they out-physical the Jaguars Sunday, they will win.
- As Boselli sees it:The Jaguars have been dominated by the Titans in Nashville, with Henry having huge games. But the offensive line for the Titans is struggling and it's a great opportunity for the Jaguars to finally win in Nashville: Jaguars 17, Titans 14.
Frank Frangie, Radio Voice of the Jaguars
- The Jaguars will win if:They can get off the deck, put their only truly bad performance behind them and turn the page. This team has been competitive in every other game except Detroit and can return to that level of play. In this game, they have to do what all teams try to do against the Titans — control Henry. The former Yulee star is the most physical NFL running back since Earl Campbell and has played very well against the team very close to his hometown. The Jaguars also must find some sort of pass rush — the weak area defensively all year — to help a young, struggling secondary.
- The Titans will win if:They give Henry running room and pass protect just enough to pass some. The Titans also must harass Lawrence, who is rounding into a very good NFL passer. Lawrence seems to play better each week and the Titans will have to find a way to not let him pass the Jags to a win.
- As Frangie sees it:This is a tough one. Jacksonville hasn't won in Nashville since 2013 and the Titans tend to play very well against the Jaguars. The Jaguars' best chance is to stack the box and control Henry and turn it into a fourth-quarter game.
Jeff Lageman, Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars defensive end
- The Jaguars will win if: Lawrence can play and play well with limited practice opportunities leading up to the game against the Titans. The toe injury he sustained in Detroit kept him out of practice Wednesday and Thursday, which is new territory for the young quarterback. Can he perform at a high level without the customary preparation time? Etienne and the Jaguars' receivers must play well around him to allow him to find a comfort zone with the toe.
- The Titans will win if: Henry can return to the dominant form he had weeks ago when he put this Titans team on his back and carried them to victories. Tennessee is not built to pass, with two offensive tackles that struggle in pass protection and a receiving corps that is mediocre at best. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill still has a solid arm and mobility that has been very successful against the Jaguars in the past (7-2 record overall and 5-0 with the Titans). Head coach Mike Vrabel will have his team ready to go in a game in which he figures his team is at a "crossroads".
- As Lageman sees it:This game has some favorable matchup opportunities for the Jaguars. The Titans' offense doesn't score a ton at 18.3 points a game. Henry has only averaged 2.77 yards per rush in his last four games. Tennessee's offensive tackles are struggling in pass protection. These things will help a Jaguars defense that has been regressing. Tennessee's defense has some top players out due to injury but is pretty stout against the run. The opportunities lie in the passing game where the Titans' secondary is suspect. Big plays can be found, but those opportunities must be caught. Lawrence and his left big toe must be kept extra clean this week.
Brent Martineau, Action Sports Jax Sports Director
- The Jaguars will win if: They hold the Titans under 24 points. Tennessee doesn't score much. The Jags defense just gave up 40 points. Something has to give, and I think the Jags will do better on offense this week and put some points up. This is a gut-check game for the entire team, especially the Jaguars' defense.
- The Titans will win if:They force two turnovers or more. The Jaguars have taken care of the ball overall the last month or so. Tennessee needs its defense to step up because the offense isn't lighting the world on fire. These close games are pretty simple: Win the turnover battle.
- As Martineau sees it: I don't know what to think about the Jags right now. They really laid an egg in the biggest game of the year with a lot on the line. Now, they are in a similar position, and I don't know how they will react. I do know how the Titans will react to last week's embarrassment; they will be ready to play. I'm hoping the Jags figure a way to solve the Titans, but they will have to prove it. I like the Titans in a field goal game.
John Oehser, jaguars.com senior writer
- The Jaguars will win if:They play good red-zone defense – and if quarterback Trevor Lawrence plays and plays well. The Jaguars' defense is struggling enough that the Titans likely will score in the twenties, so holding them to a few field goals in the red zone and keeping them in the low 20s is key. Lawrence, questionable with a toe injury, must play and play well for the Jaguars to move effectively against a solid Titans run defense.
- The Titans will win if:If Henry is Henry. His effectiveness against the Jaguars in recent seasons is well-documented. The Titans believe they can run effectively on anyone, particularly the Jaguars. If they're right, it will be a typically difficult afternoon for the Jaguars Sunday in Nashville.
- As Oehser sees it:The Jaguars will be motivated. The thought here is they will play well defensively after being embarrassed last week. That may not be enough to beat an experienced team playing at home with the playoffs at stake.
Brian Sexton, jaguars.com senior correspondent
- The Jaguars will win if:They score on every possession. I'm not being sarcastic, only realistic. When you play the Titans, you get fewer possessions. Call it the "Derrick Henry factor." The Jaguars must maximize those possessions and put up a lot of points to compensate for a defense struggling to get opponents off the field – and thus off the scoreboard. The offense has to play its best game of the season.
- The Titans will win if:They run the football at will. The Jaguars' run defense has been good this season when not facing mobile quarterbacks and run-pass option offenses. We're about to learn if they're capable of handling the most powerful running game and dominant running back on their schedule. There's nothing tricky about how the Titans play. If you can't stop running back Derrick Henry on first and second down, you can't beat them.
- As Sexton sees it: This will be a great rebound opportunity for the Jaguars. They were humbled last week by the Detroit Lions at Ford Field in Detroit, Mich., by that awful performance and the defense is embarrassed. No one wants to let Henry and the Titans humiliate them again Sunday. I expect a much stronger performance, but you can't predict a Jaguars win in Nashville with that defense. I think they face the challenge of the Titans, but come up short.
J.P. Shadrick, jaguars.com senior reporter
- The Jaguars will win if:They rebound defensively and keep Henry in check while shoring up the secondary. Henry is priority No. 1. As embarrassing as last week's performance was defensively, it can be even more so if Henry starts stiff-arming defenders 70 yards down the field multiple times a game. Been there, done that. Catch the catchable balls on offense and finish with points.
- The Titans will win if:They force a takeaway or two and control the clock with the running game. Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr. fumbled on the second play from scrimmage last week, and the Jaguars added about five drops by intended targets. Not many teams can overcome those mistakes week after week, so don't give it to the Titans.
- As Shadrick sees it: The Jaguars haven't won in Nashville since 2013, and the Titans have pretty much dominated the series anywhere it has been played over the years. They don't have many secrets: they're a physical, grind-it-out football team. That's how they're built, and how they've won over the years – especially late in seasons. The way to snap the streak? Win the physical matchup and beat them at their own game. This is a trenches game; both lines must play big. This season isn't over, but a performance like last week's in Detroit pretty much ensures that it is. I expect the Jags to bounce back with some life this week.