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

College Football Power Rankings for Week 9 (Oct. 31st, 2013)

byron-marshall-oregonLast week, Missouri and Texas Tech entered our top-10 power rankings for the first time this season. But that was short-lived because both teams suffered losses to ranked teams. And while this won’t kill their chances of winning conference titles, it will knock them out of our top 10.

Everybody else was a winner, though, which sets up a very interesting matchup between Miami and Florida State. The Seminoles blew out Clemson two weeks ago and will be looking to slay their second giant this week at home.

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0); beat Tennessee 45-10, retains same ranking – Alabama quickly jumped out to a 21-0 lead and never looked back. It wasn’t until the third quarter that the Vols finally put points on the board. T.J. Yeldon had another big game after running for 72 yards and three touchdowns.

2. Oregon Ducks (8-0); beat UCLA 42-14, retains same ranking – Not surprisingly, Oregon’s home contest against the 12th-ranked Bruins was pretty close for a while. However, Oregon broke a 14-14 tie in the third quarter and quickly turned this into a route. Byron Marshall led the charge as he rushed for 133 yards and three scores.

3. Florida State Seminoles (8-0); beat NC State 49-17, retains same ranking – This one got ugly right away as Florida State jumped out to a 35-0 lead in the first quarter. FSU probably spent the next three quarters discussing their game plan for Miami.

4. Ohio State Buckeyes (8-0); beat Penn State 63-14, retains same rankingcarlos-hyde-running-backKnowing that they have some ground to make up in the BCS Standings, the Buckeyes gave Penn State their worst loss in 114 years. Braxton Miller threw for 252 yards and three touchdowns, while Carlos Hyde rushed for 147 yards and two TD’s.

5. Miami Hurricanes (7-0); beat Wake Forest 24-21, retains same ranking – The Hurricanes got a surprisingly tough game from Wake Forest. Lucky for them, Duke Johnson provided just enough offense after running for 168 yards and two touchdowns. Miami will definitely have to move the ball better against the Seminoles this week.

6. Stanford Cardinals (7-1); beat Oregon State 20-12, moves up one spot – The Cardinals ground out a tough road game in Corvallis, Oregon on the strength of Tyler Gaffney’s 168 rushing yards and three TD’s. Overall, it was an ugly affair, but Stanford survives and gets a week of rest before playing Oregon.

7. Baylor Bears (7-0); beat Kansas 59-14, moves up one spot – Baylor has been crushing teams, having scored 50-plus points on an opponent for the sixth time this year. Chances are that they won’t keep up with this trend when they play Oklahoma next week. Still, it’s incredible how badly the Bears are obliterating other teams.

8. Clemson Tigers (7-1); beat Maryland 40-27, moves up one spot – The Tigers got sammy-watkinsback on the winning track by grabbing a road win in College Park, Maryland. Sammy Watkins had another huge day as he racked up 163 yards and a TD on 14 catches.

9. Auburn Tigers (7-1); beat Florida International 45-10, unranked last week – Auburn has a shot to take the SEC West if they can continue winning. Their lone loss was on the road against a very good LSU team, and they have victories over Washington State, Ole Miss and Texas A&M.

10. Oklahoma Sooners (7-1); beat Texas Tech 38-30, unranked last week – It seems like ages ago when Oklahoma was beaten by 16 points at home by Texas. Of course, a win against a top 10-ranked team will certainly help you forget about losses. The Sooners will continue climbing if they can get a huge road victory at Baylor.

College Football Power Rankings for Week 7 (Oct. 17th, 2013)

utah-vs-stanfordFor the first time all year, one of the top five teams in our college football power rankings lost. The Stanford Cardinals, who entered last week as our number five team, lost a tough road game at Utah. Backed near their own goal line, a fired-up Utes team stopped the Cardinals on fourth down to preserve a 27-21 victory. The loss was the first for QB Kevin Hogan as a starter, and it snapped a 10-game winning streak for Stanford. You can see if the Cardinals stayed in our top 10 and check out how the other elite teams did in our Week 7 power rankings.

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (6-0); beat Kentucky 48-7, retains same ranking – Oregon may be gaining ground on the Tide, but we see no reason to knock Alabama from the top spot. This is especially true after a dominating win at Kentucky, where T.J. Yeldon and Kenyan Drake led the route by splitting four touchdown runs.

2. Oregon Ducks (6-0); beat Washington 45-24, retains same ranking – Facing a tough, 16th-ranked Washington team on the road, Oregon was rarely challenged. About the only bad thing that came out of this game was that, for the first time, the Ducks failed to eclipse 45 points. However, this is understandable when you consider that the Huskies were previously allowing just 14.8 PPG.

3. Ohio State Buckeyes (6-0); bye week, retains same ranking – The Buckeyes got a week to rest up after their close contest against Northwestern two weeks ago. Now they’ll face conference opponent Iowa this week.

4. Clemson Tigers (6-0); beat Boston College 24-14, retains same ranking – vic-beasleyClemson might have been looking ahead to FSU since this game was a lot closer than the 10-point margin suggests. BC actually led 14-10 going into the fourth quarter, but Tajh Boyd threw a TD to put his team up for good. Vic Beasley sealed the deal by taking a Chase Rettig fumble 13 yards to the house.

5. Florida State Seminoles (5-0); bye week, moves up one spot – Clemson’s win means that this week’s matchup will pit two of the top five teams against each other. The Tigers are slightly favored because they’re playing at home. However, you certainly can’t count Jameis Winston and the Seminoles out in this high-profile game.

6. Texas A&M Aggies (5-1); beat Ole Miss 41-38, moves up one spot – With Johnny Manziel having an injury scare early on, the Rebels were able to grab the lead for a while. However, Manziel turned out to be okay and went on to spark a rally by gaining 177 yards in the fourth quarter. Defensive concerns aside, this team can really put up points.

7. Louisvile Cardinals (6-0); beat Rutgers 24-10, moves up one spot – This wasn’t Louisville’s most dominant victory. But their defense really came through in the clutch, as Calvin Pryor and Terrell Floyd both had big fourth-quarter interceptions to seal the victory. The Cardinals have a nice setup and could definitely run the table.

8. LSU Tigers (6-1); beat Florida 17-6, moves up one spot – The Tigers defense turned in a very strong effort as they stifled Florida’s offensive attack and held them to 240 total yards. LSU might have a much tougher time repeating this performance at Ole Miss, where they’ll face a high-powered offense.

9. UCLA Bruins (5-0); beat Cal 37-10, previously unranked – UCLA became the latest ucla-footballteam to dominate Cal, which served as more of a tuneup for their showdown at Stanford. So far, the Bruins boast road victories over Utah and Nebraska this season. So it’s not out of the question to think that they could win one in Stanford too.

10. Miami Hurricanes (5-0); bye week, previously unranked – The Hurricanes jump into our rankings as Stanford and Georgia both fall out. Miami has some nice wins over Florida, South Florida and Georgia Tech this season. They travel to North Carolina tonight in what should be a pretty close game.