Who Has the Edge in the Ground Game?
Tennessee Titans Rushing Offense
Tennessee has cracked the century mark nine times in their 12 games this season on the ground. Some of that can be tempered by the fact that they reached exactly 100 yards twice and ran for 105 in the game against Houston in week 12. The Titans actually run the ball at the fourth-highest percentage in the league at 46.78 percent. The problem for Tennessee is that they need more production in the ground game in order to have sustained success. The Titans have been held under four yards per carry in five games this season, which has impacted their ability to move the sticks on the ground. Last week against the Jets, Tennessee ran the ball 22 times for 130 yards for a season-best 5.9 yard per carry average.
Derrick Henry leads the team with 128 carries for 474 yards plus five scores while Dion Lewis
has 135 carries for 464 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Marcus Mariota adds 326 yards and two scores on the ground himself this season. Corey Davis has seen the ball a few times lately on endarounds and jet sweeps: he has four carries for 54 yards. All told, the Titans have six runs that have gone for 20 yards with Mariota leading the way with three. Lewis and Henry have combined for two such runs in 263 carries. Tennessee has moved the chains 70 times via the ground game this season.
Jacksonville Jaguars Rushing Defense
Jacksonville has given up more than 100 yards on the ground seven times so far this season though they’ve been much better of late. The Jaguars gave up at least 100 yards in six of their first eight games on the season but they’ve allowed an opponent to hit that mark just once in the last four games. That came when Buffalo ran for 167 yards two weeks ago with 99 of those yards coming from quarterback Josh Allen. The Jaguars have slowed teams of late with the run: last week, they allowed Indianapolis just 16 rushing attempts for 41 yards. That marked the third time they limited an opposing team to under three yards a carry this season.
Telvin Smith is the team’s leading tackler as he has racked up 101 (75 solo) on the season to go along with four tackles for loss, a pass defense, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Myles Jack has 70 tackles (49 solo) with a forced fumble and a fumble recovery while Calais Campbell contributes 53 tackles (38 solo) plus two pass defenses. Marcell Dareus (29 tackles, two tackles for loss, forced fumble), Malik Jackson (25 tackles, four tackles for loss, pass defense) and Yannick Ngakoue (19 tackles, three tackles for loss) are additional forces to be reckoned with on the Jaguars’ defense. Jacksonville has totaled 35 tackles for loss as a team this season.
Notable Rushing Statistics
Tennessee Titans Offense
- 10th in rushing attempts per game (27.8)
- 17th in rushing yards per game (112.7)
- 29th in yards per carry (4)
- Tied for 20th in rushing TD (eight)
- Tied for 23rd in longest rush (39 yards)
Jacksonville Jaguars Defense
- 24th in percentage of run plays against (43.27)
- 21st in run plays per game against (26.5)
- 16th in rushing yards allowed per game (108.4)
- 10th in opposing yards per carry (4.1)
- Tied for 17th in rushing TD allowed (10)
- 26th in longest rush allowed (68 yards)
Who Has the Edge?
Jacksonville has held their own against the run this season but the fact remains that they are susceptible to mobile quarterbacks. Allen really hurt the Jaguars with his feet as his maneuverability allowed him to escape the rush for a long touchdown pass early in the game. He also had big plays in the fourth quarter that helped the Bills come up with the victory over Jacksonville. Mariota has that kind of ability as well. The fact that he can move in the pocket and out of it helps keep the Jaguars honest and gives the slimmest of edges to Tennessee in this department.
Advantage: Tennessee Titans
Who Has the Upper Hand in the Passing Attack?
Tennessee Titans Passing Offense
Tennessee’s passing offense has been up and down this season. Mariota missing time with injuries didn’t help as Blaine Gabbert looked, well, like Blaine Gabbert, which means you’d rather have someone else on the field if there were meaningful snaps to be taken. The loss of tight end Delanie Walker was a major factor as well. As it stands, the Titans have thrown for 300 yards just twice this season: they had 344 yards against the Eagles in week 4 and 303 in week 12 against Houston. Last week against the Jets, they hit 20 of 35 passes for 282 yards. One thing that has been a concern is pass protection as the Titans have allowed at least two sacks in each of their last 10 games. They’ll have to protect better against the Jaguars’ pass rush.
Marcus Mariota has completed 188 of 274 passes for 2,168 yards with 11 touchdowns against seven interceptions while adding 326 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Blaine Gabbert has hit 36 of 61 passes for 360 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. In the passing game, Corey Davis
leads the way with 52 receptions for 744 yards plus four scores. Lewis has 45 receptions for 309 yards plus a score while Taywan Taylor (24 grabs, 318 yards, TD). Tajae Sharpe (25 catches, 310 yards, two TD) and Jonnu Smith (20 grabs, 258 yards, three TD) are other valuable targets in the passing game. The Titans have 33 pass plays that have covered at least 20 yards with Davis accounting for 15 of them. No one else on the team has more than three such plays.
Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Defense
Jacksonville has a ferocious pass rush when they’re playing decent defense and the Colts were reminded of how that can be last week. The Jaguars have recorded multiple sacks in eight of their 12 games this season and were only held off the stat sheet twice. Those two games were both losses, as they failed to sack Luck in the first meeting with the Colts or Allen in their loss to the Bills. Jacksonville has allowed just two QBs to throw for more than 300 yards against them this season: Patrick Mahomes threw for 313 in week 5 and Ben Roethlisberger went for 314 in week 11. In the first meeting this season, the Jaguars held Mariota to just 108 yards through the air and sacked him three times.
Campbell and Ngakoue lead the team with seven sacks apiece on the year. The problem for the Jaguars is that there’s no other disruptive force in the pass rush. The next leading sack man for Jacksonville is Dante Fowler Jr., who had two sacks before being dealt to the Rams. He’s added two in four games for Los Angeles. Jalen Ramsey (48 tackles, tackle for loss, 10 pass defenses) leads the team with three picks. Smith, Jack (who returned his for a 32 yard pick six), Tashaun Gipson (43 tackles, seven pass defenses), A.J. Bouye (43 tackles, eight pass defenses), Barry Church (38 tackles, sack, two tackles for loss, two pass defenses) and D.J. Hayden (28 tackles, sack, tackle for loss, four pass defenses) each have an interception as well. All told, the Jaguars have 40 pass defenses and nine interceptions on the year. Jacksonville has given up 31 pass plays of at least 20 yards this season.
Notable Passing Statistics
Tennessee Titans Offense
- 10th in completion percentage (67.2)
- 29th in passing yards per game (197.5)
- Tied for 25th in TD passes (13)
- Tied for 12th in INT thrown (nine)
- Tied for 20th in net yards per pass attempt (6.2)
- Tied for 24th in longest pass play (66 yards)
- 21st in passer rating (93.1)
Jacksonville Jaguars Defense
- 3rd in passing yards per game allowed (207.2)
- 2nd in completion percentage allowed (60.6)
- Tied for 1st in TD passes allowed (15)
- Tied for 30th in INT (nine)
- 27th in sacks (24)
- 3rd in passer rating allowed (83.9)
- Tied for 5th in net yards per pass attempt (six)
Who Has the Edge?
Tennessee hasn’t generated much of a vertical passing game this season as their season long play through the air came on a fake punt where the pass was thrown by a defensive back to another defensive back. It’s a safe bet that neither will see the field in an offensive passing situation in this one. Jacksonville has been good at shutting down the aerial assault of opposing teams this season. Unless Mariota can find a way to stretch the field and get Davis involved, it’s going to be a tough challenge for the Titans through the air. This will be a big test for Jack Conklin, Taylor Lewan and the rest of the offensive line. Given Jacksonville’s success at stopping the pass and the Titans’ lack of an aerial assault, you have to lean toward the Jags here.
Advantage: Jacksonville Jaguars