Thursday Night Football Preview: Jaguars vs. Titans

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Jacksonville JaguarsEverybody is still alive in the AFC South, and that includes the Tennessee Titans (2-7) and the Jacksonville Jaguars (3-6). On Thursday night (Nov. 19), both teams will look to keep pace with the AFC South-leading Indianapolis Colts (4-5) and Houston Texans(4-5). Assuming you’re interested in betting on this Thursday Night Football contest, here’s a look at all the details you need to know along with some game analysis.

Kickoff Time and Network

EverBank Field (Jacksonville) on Nov. 19th at 8:25pm EST. The game will be broadcasted on the NFL Network, with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms calling the action. Line
Tennessee (-118)
Jacksonville -3 (-102)

Game Over 43 (-110)
Game Under 43 (-110)

Tennessee Titans Game Preview

The Titans are playing their third game in 12 days under new head coach Mike Mularkey, who replaced Ken Whisenhunt after a 1-5 start. In this short time, Mularkey has guided Tennessee to a 34-28 overtime win over the New Orleans Saints and a 27-10 loss to the undefeated Carolina Panthers. Despite being largely handled by the Panthers, Tennessee’s defense did tally five sacks — the most against Carolina all season.

marcus-mariotaThe offense has been pretty inconsistent in Mularkey’s short tenure as the Titans’ coach. Against the Saints, rookie QB Marcus Mariota had 371 passing yards, 4 TD’s and no interceptions; against Carolina, he had just 184 passing yards, 0 TD’s and an interception. Much of this has to do with the quality of defense moving from New Orleans to the Panthers, but it also shows that Mariota has some improvement to make before helping the team compete against the league’s elite.

Tennessee’s anemic running game is partly to blame as well. Despite a 25-yard touchdown run by Dexter McCluster, the team managed just 64 rushing yards against Carolina. However, the run attack could get a boost since rookie David Cobb will play his first game of the season after coming off the IR. Perhaps Cobb will be just the player to help the Titans beat the spread on Thursday.

Jacksonville Jaguars Game Preview

The Jaguars are coming off an emotional 22-20 victory over the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday. Baltimore was called for a controversial facemask penalty on what would have been the last play of the game; this set Jacksonville up for a game-winning field goal and their second victory in the last three games.

Much like Tennessee, the Jaguars are still a team in rebuilding mode. But it’s clear that progress has been made in 2015, given that the team has already matched last season’s win total. What’s more is that coach Gus Bradley’s defense is currently ranked sixth against the run (93.7 YPG), and they are allowing the fewest yards per carry (3.3).

allen-robinsonBut the key to the game for the Jaguars could be their passing attack, which is one of the league’s best young units. QB Blake Bortles, WR Allen Hurns and WR Allen Robinson are all just in their second year in the league. Robinson and Hurns are projected for well over 1,000 receiving yards and 10 TD’s each, while Bortles is on pace to pass for over 4,000 yards and 35 TD’s  this season. If the passing game gets going, then Jacksonville has an excellent shot to win this contest.

Final Analysis

Neither the Titans nor Jaguars played great last weekend, although the latter came away with a win. So it’s not like either team is on fire heading into Thursday. In fact, both teams seem pretty even when everything is taken into account. However, the Jaguars seem to have a more-complete offensive unit and they’re playing at home. These two elements could be the deciding factor when they meet on Nov. 19.

Score Prediction: Jacksonville wins 31-23