The Titans, fresh off an upset win over the Chiefs, are in Jacksonville this week with a chance to force their way into the playoff picture. They are favored by five points according to OddsShark.com, in Jacksonville’s first game with Doug Marrone as interim head coach.
The Jaguars are winding down a disappointing season, but could play spoiler in the final two weeks. The Jags face the Titans and Colts in the final two games of their season, and both will have implications in the crowded AFC South playoff race.
In this game, the Titans will look to stick with their ground game. Tennessee was the NFL’s biggest surprise this year, with an offense fueled by a healthy dose of running the football. DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry work between the tackles, setting things up for Marcus Mariota in the passing game. That’s what the Titans did in their first meeting, cruising to a 36-22 victory in Nashville.
The Jaguars hit rock bottom last week, blowing an early lead to lose to Tom Savage and the Texans late. The Jags have lost nine straight games, only covering the spread in three. Jacksonville’s biggest problems have been turnovers, and that starts with QB Blake Bortles. It’s been a nightmare season for Bortles, who has thrown 16 interceptions with a career-low completion percentage in what was expected to be a breakout season.
When Doug Marrone went 15-17 in two seasons in Buffalo, his teams were defined by rushing and defense. If the Jags stick to those principles Saturday, they could improve to 4-4 against the spread at home this season.
With the Titans run game, their biggest weakness is falling ahead early to an explosive offense. That won’t exactly be the case this week. The Titans should get their third straight over Jacksonville.
Heavy’s Pick: Titans 27 Jaguars 13. Titans -5. Under on the Point Total. (43.5)