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Titans should be chief rival

Join Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Austins from Portland, CT:
What do you think about how all the Sunday Countdown guys are saying the Titans will win?

Vic: I think it's meaningless and I don't understand why it bothers Jaguars fans so much, but if it'll make you feel better, I'll pick the Jaguars to win tonight's game. Why not? They're at home, they'll be playing in front of a great crowd and, frankly, they appear to match up well against the Titans. The Jaguars fashion themselves to be a physical team and the Titans play that style of football. The Jaguars aren't very good against the pass but the Titans aren't very good at passing. My expectation is for the Jaguars to have an advantage at the most important position on the field, quarterback.

Ryan from Jacksonville:
The guys on NFL Network completely bashed the Jaguars when they talked about the game between us and the Titans. They acted like we didn't even stand a chance against the Titans. Why does the media just completely ignore anything the Jaguars do? We're selling out and we're tied for first in a tough division and we still don't get noticed. What do we have to do to get noticed? Go undefeated and win a Super Bowl?

Vic: It's easy to see you're a true Jaguars fan; your paranoia gives you away. In answering your question, permit me to correct an erroneous statement. We are not selling out. We haven't had one since 2007. We are beating the blackout and we're beating it at deadline time. Those are the facts. Why does the media seem to have disdain for the Jaguars? In my opinion, the national media believes Jacksonville is a minor league town. Jacksonville was a feel-good story when it got the franchise, and the national media wrote that story about how Jacksonville would become the Green Bay of the South, etc., but recent attendance failures, especially last season's embarrassing display, turned the media hard against Jacksonville and it's going to take something dramatic to get them to turn back. It's going to take big crowds and big wins to regain the national media's favor. Maybe tonight will be a start.

John from Jacksonville:
One statistic that appears to be a watch item for tonight's game is the third-and-long conversions. The Titans have held their opponents to only converting four of 36 (11 percent) so far this season. Is there any similar stat that you consider key for the game other than the final score?

Vic: Forget that. You're reaching way beyond what you need to analyze this game. The Titans played a game this season in which their opponent literally ran the ball three times and punted. I'm talking about their game against the Steelers, who had to put Charlie Batch in at quarterback after Dennis Dixon blew out his knee. So, a big part of the Titans' third-and-long conversion success was built on that game, and here's the best part: They lost that game. They got hammered in that game. Analyzing tonight's game is as easy as it comes. The team that rushes for the most yards, provided they don't lose the turnover battle, will likely win.

Chris from Neptune Beach, FL:
With both teams being big, physical running teams and weak against the pass, would it be accurate to say special teams could be the area where the game is won?

Vic: The Jaguars have sensational special teams. Yes, that could be an advantage for them. Jeff Fisher's teams seemingly always have something up their sleeve on special teams, so it could be an advantage for them, too. I'm layin' this one on the quarterback. In my opinion, David Garrard must claim victory over his counterpart. The Titans will be all out to stop the run. They will dare Garrard to beat them. Yes, the Jaguars must be able to run the ball, but Garrard must make plays into the face of a defense I expect to be stacked against the run.

James from Augusta, GA:
ESPN won't even show commercials for their network's preview of the Jaguars-Titans on Monday Night Football? What gives?

Vic: I watched the Ohio State-Wisconsin game and ESPN teased the Monday night game several times. You're a true Jaguars fan, too.

Gavin from Halifax, NS:
Have you heard about the regional rivalry push by some of the owners? This could be the extra game or two, home and away, when the schedule goes to 18 games. If that doesn't happen, and I know the basis for the separation of the divisions, would they reorganize the divisions for this? How do you feel about it?

Vic: I have not heard about a regional rivalry push. I'd be OK with that, but I don't think you're going to see realignment because the majority of the league is fine where they are. I like regional divisions because they offer a chance for fans to travel, but some of the best rivalries I've covered have had no regional flavor at all. My guess is that Jaguars fans still consider the Steelers their favorite rival. Where's the regionality there? The most intense rivalry I've ever covered, by far, was the Steelers-Raiders "Holy Wars" of the '70's. Big games make for great rivalries. We've seen that in recent years with the Colts and Jaguars. Rivalries happen for unknown reasons. The Titans should be a regional rival for the Jaguars. In my opinion, the Titans should be the Jaguars' number one rival, especially when you consider the Jaguars have played the Titans more than any other team in the league and that the two teams have played big, memorable games, but the Titans have nearly always been a tough sell in Jacksonville. Go figure. You can't force these things. You have to just let them happen.

Dave from St. Louis, MO:
Everyone talked about how the Patriots would fall without Moss. I am not a Patriots fan but Tom Brady is quite simply the best QB in the NFL. He strikes me as the only quarterback that could have played back in the old days when football was about drive, toughness and a will to win. Brady to Branch looked a whole lot better than Brady to Moss did lately. That trade was genius.

Vic: All of a sudden, Deion Branch is a star again. Gee, I wonder what happened. It's the quarterback.

Luis from San Juan, PR:
GM Gene Smith keeps getting picks for next year's draft and so far he's been money. I know we are going to get "The Man" next year.

Vic: Good general managers are vigilant about value. It's what I've been saying for years. Value comes first, need follows. You satisfy needs in the pursuit of value.

Jimmy from Vero Beach, FL:
I'm sad to see DeSean Jackson hurt, but he was anything but a defenseless receiver. He was in the process of securing the ball and becoming a ball carrier. It brought back memories of the Ravens' playoff game.

Vic: There's absolutely no correlation at all. A receiver is considered to be defenseless when he is in the act of catching the ball. He doesn't become a runner until he has secured the ball, has two feet on the ground and makes a football move, so to speak. Willis McGahee had completed the catch and had begun to run with the ball when Ryan Clark hit him. Jackson was in the process of catching the ball when he was hit by Dunta Robinson. I've provided links to videos of each that'll demonstrate the distinction. Listen to Phil Simms' explanation in the McGahee video.
Jackson | McGahee

Matt from Jacksonville:
Is this another move to add picks for more ammo in selecting our next franchise quarterback?

Vic: It's a move to add value that can be used to help jockey into position to draft a quarterback, yes.

Ryan from Fruit Cove, FL:
Am I over analyzing the trade of Anthony Smith or did GM Gene just get something for nothing?

Vic: He got a late-round, conditional draft pick for a player the Jaguars were going to replace. It's that simple. Green Bay, because of its injuries, is in a position of weakness right now. It was vulnerable.

Chris from Mansfield, TX:
As a critic of Colt McCoy, were you impressed with his outing on Sunday and do you believe he should still sit behind the likes of Seneca Wallace and Jake Delhomme?

Vic: I watched the game. It was a dink and dunk fest. He was sitting on three points, which were produced by an interception and a 62-yard return, until 4:17 was left in the game. His yards came at garbage time. The Browns did a great job of pinning the Steelers against their goal line all day. McCoy's field position was outstanding, but he did nothing with it. Here's the best part: It's gonna start getting cold and windy up there. He is absolutely in the wrong division. That's a place for big arms. Wallace and Delhomme aren't the answers, either. The answer is in next year's draft.

James from Knoxville, TN:
What do you think the league needs to do to stop the helmet-to-helmet hits?

Vic: I see no way to fix it without doing something radical. I can tell you this, making the helmets bigger didn't help. What a mistake that was. All they've done is provide a bigger target. This whole problem, in my opinion, is the result of this unexplained mania for staying off the ground. Head injuries weren't nearly the concern they are today when players were low tacklers.

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