|Date:||October 18th, 2010
|Time:||8:30 PM EST
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|SBN Coverage:||Music City Miracles||Coverage Map
PS: You can use this as an open thread for today's games as well
Monday Night Football returns to the River City, as does the Tennessee Titans. Both teams enter the contest 3-2, and depending on how things go today, could be dueling for first place in the AFC South. The Titans come in on a high after dismantling the Cowboys in Dallas, while Jacksonville had one of the ugliest double digit wins you'll ever see vs Buffalo.
All eyes will be on the running backs. With two QBs who have serious cases of Jekyl and Hyde, it will be up to Maurice Jones-Drew and Chris Johnson to lead their teams to victory.
Jaguars Offense vs Titans Defense
The key for the Jaguars is going to be to keep the Titans pass rush honest. Tennessee comes into this game 2nd in the NFL in sacks, and with the 4th best pass defense according to Football Outsiders.
It is going to be up to Maurice Jones-Drew to deliver in primetime. The Titans have been susceptible to being gashed in the running game, particularly off the edge. One of the Jags favorite plays in camp was to line up Marcedes Lewis, Eben Britton, and Greg Jones all to one side and dare the defense to stop it. I think we'll see that plenty on Monday Night.
Also expect to see a lot of carries for Deji Karim and Rashad Jennings. If the Jaguars are going to go with a 2-1 run pass ratio again, then they'll need to spell Jones-Drew effectively.
When the Jaguars do throw the ball, they'll need to make sure to watch out for what happened last year in Nashville. The big reason for the blowout last year was because the Titans baiting David Garrard into checking into a play they ran effectively earlier in Jacksonville. When the ball was snapped, Tennessee readjusted and things went downhill from there.
The offensive line will need to keep up their good work. This maybe a bigger task than stone walling the Colts pass rushers as Tennessee has a very physical defensive line.
Jaguars Defense vs Titans Offense
I'll be honest, Vince Young doesn't scare me at all. He had a nice game vs Dallas, but he's never managed to follow up on any previous games. The Jaguars should only care about one man, and that is Chris Johnson.
Johnson is going to break at least one or two carries for a big gain. It's what happens the rest of the game that matters. Johnson isn't a guy who is going to power through tackles for extra yardage. Jacksonville has to get to him at the line of scrimmage and wrap him up.
When the Titans do throw the ball, it'll be important to get as much pressure on Young as possible. Young has had quite a few stinkers vs Jacksonville, and that was without much of a pass rush. If Kampman and Alualu introduce themselves early and often, Monday Night shouldn't be any different.
Special Teams and Intangibles
Both the Titans and Jaguars feature some scary special teams. Obviously Jaguar fans know about Deji Karim, but the Titans feature Marc Mariani. This is going to be a fun sub-plot on Monday Night. Both players have the ability to take one back for a touchdown, or at least consistent put their team in excellent field position.
The Jaguars have played a lot of great games recently in prime time, but sadly haven't won any. The Jaguars haven't won a prime time game since the 2007 Wild Card game vs Pittsburgh, and haven't won a regular season prime time game since beating the Giants on Monday Night in Week 11 of the 2006 season.
Player On The Hot Seat
David Garrard, QB
The offense will still be run based, but David has to keep the Titans honest. Garrard's had some of his worst games ever vs Tennesee and can't afford to have another one here.