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Titans movin' on up?


It's a game that involves major postseason importance for the Jaguars. For the Titans, Sunday's game against the Jaguars may be a preview of the 2007 season.

Are these next year's chief competitors for the AFC South title? Some think the Titans' surge in the second half of this season is a preview of high expectations for next season.

"We're very confident. We've got a young team. We are learning to win and learning to win close games. We're a different team from the first time we played (the Jaguars)," Titans running back Travis Henry said.

The Jaguars scored a 37-7 win over the Titans on Nov. 5, in a game in which rookie quarterback Vince Young threw three interceptions and had to rally at mop-up time just to get his passer rating to 30.2. Since then, the Titans have won four of five and are on a four-game winning streak. Young, of course, is now the toast of the NFL.

Is the Titans' hot streak a sign of what's ahead? Are Young and the Titans ready to take on the AFC South's new power, the Jaguars, who are fresh off a 44-17 thrashing of the Colts?

The answer to those questions will be forthcoming on Sunday at LP Field in Nashville.

Forgive the Jaguars, of course, if their attention is on the present. With a win over the Titans, the Jaguars might be able to clinch a playoff berth next week against the Patriots. Should they lose to the Titans, however, the Jaguars could find themselves having to win both of their remaining games to make the playoffs. That would mean having to win in Kansas City on the final Sunday of the season.

That's how important Sunday's game in Nashville is to the Jaguars' playoff hopes. The Titans, who have an outside chance at a wild-card berth, could become spoilers.

"They may go to the playoffs, but we may have a chance to mess that up," Henry said. "I think last year's game left a bad taste in our mouths and this year we started out 1-5 and we want to keep this winning streak going. Even with the playoff hunt, anything is possible. It may take a miracle for us to get in, but if we take care of our business, who knows?"

The Jaguars have thumped the Titans in each of the last two games between the two teams. Last season ended for the Titans with an embarrassing, 40-13 loss in Jacksonville. The Jaguars, therefore, have beaten the Titans by a combined 77-20 count in the last two games.

Young has keyed the Titans' resurrection, but he's done it with his legs, not his arm. Young's 458 yards rushing has helped the Titans move up the league's rush rankings from 13th on Nov. 5 to fourth currently.

"That's what we plan to do. That's the plan. We are going to run the ball, go play-action and Vince is going to throw it deep. We're going to stay with the stuff we've been doing," Henry said.

"I think we've taken some steps in the right direction," Titans coach Jeff Fisher said of his team. "We have to finish up strong. This team feels good about where they are right now and they're most concerned about the next game, that's all. We're going to have to play our best football of the year to have a chance to beat (the Jaguars)."

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