JACKSONVILLE – Each Saturday during the 2020 season, Jaguars experts will break down the following day's Jaguars matchup.
Up this week:
The Tennessee Titans at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville.
Rick Ballou, Jaguars sideline reporter
The Jaguars will win if: They get an early lead. Tennessee allowed 38 first-half points last week to Cleveland. Glennon did a nice job of getting the ball to his tight ends in the middle of the field; the Titans are 28th against the pass. If Glennon has the same success, the Jaguars will pull off the upset.
The Titans will win if: They contain Henry. He only had 15 carries last week, so he should be itching to get the ball against a Jaguars rushing defense allowing almost 138 yards rushing a game. Smith is a matchup nightmare as the tight end scored twice in the first meeting back in September.
As Ballou sees it: Tennessee hasn't won the AFC South since 2008. The Titans are in position to do that with four games remaining. They played hard in the second half last week after trailing by 31 points. This will carry over Sunday as Tennessee is able to beat the Jaguars for a seventh time in the last eight meetings.
Tony Boselli, Pride of the Jaguars left tackle and radio analyst
The Jaguars will win if: They outrush the Titans. Robinson must have a huge day, allowing the Jaguars to control the clock and keep the Titans' offense on the sideline. To beat the Titans, it all starts with slowing Henry. He is not only the engine for the offense, he is the driving force for the entire team.
The Titans will win if: They can make the Jaguars one-dimensional, by stopping Robinson and forcing Glennon to beat them through the air. The Titans' defense has not been good all year, and got hammered last week against the Browns, so they will have to have one of their better efforts to shut down Robinson.
As Boselli sees it: The Jaguars show up and play hard every week, and have fallen just short the last few weeks, but I think this is the week it changes. Robinson will outrush Henry, and the Jaguars will get their first victory since Week 1: Jaguars 28, Titans 24.
Frank Frangie, Radio Voice of the Jaguars
The Jaguars will win if: They slow Titans running back Derrick Henry and play up front defensively as they did a week ago. Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook got his yards against the Jaguars last Sunday, but it took a while; the Jaguars' young defensive front played pretty well. And the Jaguars must protect the ball. Turnovers were critical a week ago. This team can't turn it over.
The Titans will win if: They take away Jaguars running back James Robinson and harass Jaguars quarterback Mike Glennon. Glennon made some bad choices last week, often while being pressured. The Titans also need a decent game from quarterback Ryan Tannehill as the Jaguars no doubt will focus on Henry, who has been so good against them in the past.
As Frangie sees it: The Titans are coming in angry after a home loss to the Cleveland Browns last week. And they need the game in their fight with the Indianapolis Colts for the AFC South title. But the Jaguars have proven they have plenty of fight left — despite a really tough season, they haven't rolled over. They really battle, every game. This one will be close – maybe a fourth-quarter game. Like last week, the team that makes one more play will win.
Jeff Lageman, Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars defensive end
The Jaguars will win if: They win the turnover battle with a plus-two margin. Their lone victory this season – Week 1 against the Colts – had that number. Glennon and a balanced Jaguars offense should be able to keep the Titans defense on their heels.
The Titans will win if: Henry can stiff-arm the Jaguars' defense for 120 yards rushing. Tannehill has multiple weapons in the passing game that are extremely difficult to stop if he can use play action.
As Lageman sees it: This will be a very tight game – like most division games are with familiar opponents. The Titans will come in hungry with their pride wounded from a Cleveland loss and motivated for an AFC South title. The Jaguars have been competitive and are starving for the taste of victory. This could be a field goal game; whoever's kicker is better will make the difference.
Brent Martineau, Action Sports Jax Sports Director
The Jaguars will win if: Robinson has over 150 total yards. The Jaguars need a big game from their back, and it might be unfair to ask him to do even more than he's been doing. If Robinson can help control the game, then that will keep the Titans' offense on the sideline and give the Jaguars a good chance.
The Titans will win: If they slow the Jaguars' receiving group. The Titans have been inconsistent on defense, but if they can prevent the big plays from the Jaguars' wideouts, they should be able to make enough big plays on offense to win.
As Martineau sees it: I've been down on the Jaguars lately, and they have been battling and almost pulling these games out. It's interesting: The Jaguars' defense is better than it was in the first meeting between these two teams – a 33-30 Titans victory in Week 2 – but I still don't feel they can slow the Titans. Remember: Henry was held in check in that meeting. I don't expect that to happen again. Titans win 30-20.
John Oehser, jaguars.com senior writer
The Jaguars will win if: They hold the Titans under 21 points. This is far easier said than done, because the Jaguars haven't allowed fewer than 24 points since Week 1 – and because the Titans are one of the NFL's best, most-balanced offenses. The Jaguars must keep Henry under 100 yards and force Tannehill into mistakes and turnovers. They couldn't do the latter in September.
The Titans will win if: They play offense as they have all season and pressure Glennon into mistakes. The first part seems likely; the Titans' offense against the Jaguars' young, depleted defense appears to be a favorable matchup for Tennessee. The second part is tricker; the Titans have just 14 sacks in 12 games this season.
As Oehser sees it: It's hard to pick the Jaguars in this game – not because of the Titans' recent success in the series as much as their powerful offense and first-place status in the AFC South. The Jaguars have fought and played as well as possible every week since a Week 8 bye. They will do so again, but that likely won't be enough.
Brian Sexton, jaguars.com senior correspondent
The Jaguars will win if: They play their best game of the season. Truthfully, so much must happen for the Jaguars to beat a team as complete as the Titans. It isn't as easy as stopping Henry – though they must – or pressuring Tannehill, or covering wide receivers Corey Davis and A.J. Brown, or running the ball. They also must convert on third down, protect their quarterback and score touchdowns not field goals. In short, they must play their most complete game of the season.
The Titans will win if: Henry does what Henry has done against the Jaguars in December. In his last four games against the Jaguars in the first month of the season, Henry has registered zero 100-yard games, averaged only 3.4 yards per attempt and scored just two touchdowns. In his last three games against the Jaguars in the final month of the season, Henry has two games with more than 150 yards, one with more than 200 yards, averaged 7.0 yards per attempt and scored six touchdowns.
As Sexton sees it: The Titans will keep the Jaguars out of the win column for the second time this season. Tennessee is as complete a team as you'll find, and their style of play just fits December football in the NFL. They might not have the best quarterback or the most explosive receivers or the most suffocating pass rush – but what they do have is very good and they play their brand of football, which is tough to stop. I don't see the Jaguars being able to stop them.
J.P. Shadrick, jaguars.com reporter/editor
The Jaguars will win if: They score early, get the lead and keep scoring against a subpar Titans defense. This is not a week to have any mistakes on offense, as the Titans have a balanced offense that can carry them on the other side.
The Titans will win if: They get Henry rolling with a lead. The body blows early in the game set up big runs later in the game for him, as we know well. Also, if they hit the tight end a few times down the seam like they usually seem to do against the Jags, then the Titans will have everything they need to balance the offense.
As Shadrick sees it: The Jaguars' defense played pretty well last week, but the big three (quarterback Kirk Cousins, Cook, wide receiver Justin Jefferson) for the Vikings outlasted them and the Jaguars' giveaways on offense came back to haunt them. This Jaguars team needs a near-perfect offensive day, a couple takeaways on defense and a special-teams play (big return, field-flipping punt) to keep games close.
Ashlyn Sullivan, Digital reporter and host
The Jaguars will win if: They make the Titans' offense one-dimensional - and the Jaguars' secondary has its best game of the season. It's not only about stopping Henry this week; the Titans have legitimate offensive weapons with tight end Jonnu Smith and Davis. First, the Jaguars must stop the run. Them, the defensive backs must keep everything in front of them to give them a chance.
The Titans will win if: Henry runs how Henry runs. He is the NFL's leading rusher for a reason. The Jaguars held Henry to 84 yards rushing and nearly beat the Titans in Week 2. Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash said they were working on defending stiff arms this week; if Henry's stiff arm is on SportsCenter this won't be a close game.
As Sullivan sees it: Last week, I worried the Jaguars would not be competitive against the Vikings. But this week I really have that worry. The Titans in December playing for the playoffs are a different team than what the Jaguars saw in Week 2. The offense cannot turn the ball over and give the Titans any additional chances. The margin for error is so slim this week.