Preview: Jaguars at Titans
The Tennessee Titans were 15 minutes away from a third consecutive loss that would have all but snuffed out their postseason hopes, but a dramatic fourth-quarter comeback on Sunday has the team back in contention. The Titans will look to sweep the Jacksonville Jaguars for the second straight season when the AFC South Division rivals square off on Thursday in Nashville, Tenn.
Tennessee erased an early 16-point deficit in Sunday’s 26-22 victory over the New York Jets but is among four teams trailing the Baltimore Ravens by one game for the sixth and final playoff slot in the AFC. “When you’re playing on Monday night and Thursday night, you’re playing good football and getting more TV games,” Titans safety Kevin Byard said. “We have to take advantage of those and worry about us, not any of those other teams in the hunt.” The Jaguars showed they haven’t given up on the season, halting a seven-game losing streak by pitching a shutout in a 6-0 win over the red-hot Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. “The best we can do is play a bunch of spoilers to a bunch of teams who are in the hunt,” Jacksonville safety Tashaun Gipson said. “We want to end the season in the right way. Who says we can’t win five out?”
TV: 8:20 p.m. ET, FOX, NFL Network. LINE: Titans -4. O/U: 37.5
ABOUT THE JAGUARS (4-8): Jacksonville’s only loss in September was a 9-6 setback to the visiting Titans in Week 3 but that was without star running back Leonard Fournette, who also sat out Sunday’s victory while serving a one-game suspension. Quarterback Cody Kessler, taking over for a benched Blake Bortles, posted his first win in nine NFL starts by throwing for 150 yards and completing 18 of 24 against Indianapolis. The running game managed only 79 yards in the absence of Fournette, who rushed for 190 yards and three touchdowns in his previous two games. The Jaguars, who held Tennessee to 233 yards of total offense in the first matchup, blanked an Indy offense that averaged more then 34 points in its previous five games.
ABOUT THE TITANS (6-6): An ailing Marcus Mariota came off the bench to lift Tennessee over Jacksonville in Week 3 and produced another comeback last week by leading the Titans to 13 points in the fourth quarter, including a winning touchdown pass with 36 seconds left. “I’d rather him not have to do it, but if we have to, that has really been fun to watch,” coach Mike Vrabel said. “It is exciting to have him be able to do that and keep his composure, find the guys, make plays.” Wide receiver Taywan Taylor provided a spark to the offense Sunday, returning from a three-game absence with three receptions for 104 yards — all in the fourth quarter. The Titans rank in the top 10 in total and passing yards allowed but give up 119.8 on the ground.
1. Tennessee has limited Jacksonville to 32 points while winning the past three meetings.
2. Fournette has 197 yards from scimmage and a TD in two matchups against the Titans.
3. Mariota has eight TD passes and two interceptions in seven games versus the Jaguars.