|November 1st, 2009
|4:05 PM EST
|Mid 50's, no chance of rain
|Music City Miracles
This week, and perhaps for the rest of the season, the Game preview feature is going to be handled a bit differently. Rather than a brief synopsis of the upcoming game, it is going to be broken down into three separate articles. This article is dealing with the Jaguars offense against the Titans defense, tomorrow's will deal with the Jaguars defense against the Titans offense, and Thursday's will with Special Teams and intangibles.
The Jaguars head out to Nashville Sunday to play the winless Tennessee Titans. Who would have thought I would've made that statement back in August? Between Jerseygate, the debate between Kerry Collins and Vince Young, and everything else, the Titans have come to define the term "What can go wrong, will go wrong." However, are the Titans as bad as their record indicates or is this just a team that has had too many balls bounce the wrong way?
Jaguars Offense Four Game Summary
|Week 3 vs Houston
|Week 4 vs Tennessee
|Week 5 vs Seattle
|Week 6 vs St.Louis
|Yards Per Play
At a glance, outside of a major dip against the Seahawks, the offense has been ticking along very well in the last four games. The Jaguars have averaged 283 yards passing and 163 yards rushing in their three wins. Those are excellent numbers, no matter which way you want to cut it.
In addition, the overall yards per play in the three wins is exactly what you want from your offense. The Jaguars have been getting approximately six yards a play in their three wins, which translates into easy second or third down situations.
Titans Defense Four Game Summary
|Week 3 vs NY Jets
|Week 4 vs Jacksonville
|Week 5 vs Indianapolis
|Week 6 vs New England
|Rush yards allowed
|Rush YPP Allowed
In the beginning of the season, the Titans still had a stout defense to hang their hats on and have hope they could turn things around. Starting against the Jaguars, the bottom fell out. The Titans have given up over thirty points and 300 yards passing in route to three straight embarrassing losses.
Of particular concern has to be the pass defense. Twice in the last three games the secondary has allowed a over eight yards per pass play, part of the reason why the Titans have managed to "overtake" the Jaguars at the bottom of the NFL's defensive rankings.
Jaguars Pass Offense vs Titans Pass Defense
If we've learned one thing by looking at those stats, it is that Mike Sims-Walker has been the spark to make the passing attack go. His suspension was the only major difference in the line up over those four games and we can see the results. The Jaguars went from gaining over seven yards every time they threw the ball down to what they should've been averaging running the football.
Nothing that I've seen from Tennessee the last two weeks leads me to believe that the result in Nashville won't be similar to what happened a few weeks ago in Jacksonville. Tennessee has been giving up between 7 and 9 yards a pass play over the last three weeks, ranking dead last in the league in that category.
Perhaps more concerning for the Titans has been the disappearing act DE Kyle Vanden Bosch has put on this season. One of the best pass rushing threats in the league over the last few years, Vanden Bosch has recorded no sacks and only one tackle for loss so far this year.
David Garrard enjoyed a career game against the Titans a few weeks ago, and he returns to the site of perhaps the lowest point in his career. The 2006 trip to Tennessee is most often remembered as the start of the infamous three game losing streak to close out the season and Pac-Man Jones returning a Garrard interception for a touchdown to seal the game.
Jaguars Rush Offense vs Titans Rush Defense
The Titans have still managed to field a respectable rush defense, though it may only be because teams have been electing to throw the ball more against them. The Titans rank 9th in the NFL only allowing 95 yards a game, though the Jaguars were one of the two teams that have run for over 100 yards against Tennessee.
Maurice Jones-Drew was a non-factor against the Titans, though it was for a good reason. Tennessee was selling out with eight and nine players in the box, which allowed the passing offense to catch fire early. By the time the Titans backed off, it was 30-3 and MJD got to sit down for the rest of the game. I would expect to see him get more action this week with a hostile Tennessee crowd.
The absense of Albert Haynesworth has obviously had a negative effect on the Titans defense. Haynesworth was the most dominant defensive linemen in the league for two years. A stout run stopper and pocket collapser, his presence has been missed. In addition, 2nd round pick Sen'Derrick Marks has yet to even crack the active roster. Marks was expected to help fill the void Haynesworth left, but has been a major dud for the team so far.
As I said previously, I see no reason why this offense shouldn't score 28+ points on Sunday. This is an offense that has begun to find itself going against a defense that has been flat out bad the last few weeks. Barring another case of turnovers or a surprise suspension, this should be one of the Jaguars best offensive outputs of the season.