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Jaguars look to overcome demons, history in Nashville this weekend

The Jaguars have not won in Nashville against the Tennessee Titans since 2013.

Jacksonville Jaguars v Tennessee Titans Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

History is meant to be broken, and the Jaguars will have an opportunity this weekend to do just that as they face off against arch-rival Tennessee Titans in Nashville.

The Jaguars have not won a game in Nashville since Nov. 10, 2013. To put it into perspective, the victory in 2013 was former Jaguars coach Gus Bradley’s first victory as the team’s head coach that featured a wild finish as cornerback Will Blackmon earned a strip-six to close out the game and seal the victory for Jacksonville.

The team was coming off of an eight-game losing streak to begin the season that ran with Chad Henne as its starting quarterback, facing off against quarterbacks Jake Locker and Ryan Fitzpatrick to go along with retired RB Chris Johnson on the Titans.

Retired running back Maurice Jones-Drew was still playing football in Jacksonville. For added perspective, current Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew was just 17 years old, yet begin his wild journey as a collegiate quarterback.

Simply put, it’s been a long time since the Jaguars emerged victorious against the Titans in Nashville, and they’ll have to overcome the odds to break the streak on Sunday.

The first hurdle will be defeating the Titans in general. The next hurdle? Stopping Titans running back Derrick Henry, who - as of late -, has become a nightmare for the Jaguars to defend.

In the team’s last two meetings in Nashville, Henry has run the football 36 times for 397 yards and six touchdowns, a staggering 11 yards-per-carry, able to quite literally bulldoze his way through Jaguars defenders.

While the team has had success against him in Nashville in the past, holding him to a combined 111 rushing yards on 44 attempts in 2016 and 2017, the recent matchups are the ones that stick out, ingrained in memories.

This season, though, is new and Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone feels there’s no sense in looking back.

“I think that’s one of the things I’ve changed this year. I used to do that. You kind of look back and you look at things, whether it’s positive or negative,” Marrone told the media on Wednesday when asked if he looks at previous losses to the Titans to plan for Sunday’s game.

“Last week, right before the game, someone told me, ‘Hey, you know the team you’re playing really hasn’t won here?’ and I’m like, ‘What does that mean? That doesn’t mean crap.’”

The Jaguars are heading into a new season with plenty of new faces. Just 25/53 (47%) of the team’s current 53-man roster has even played the Titans as members of the Jaguars over the past two seasons. It will be the new players who look to reshape history, creating their own destiny against the archrival.

“At least we’re going up there [and] I know it’s not going to be cold. [In 2017] it was the coldest game I think I’ve been in and I’ve been in some cold places. To answer your question, no. This is our first road game and I’m really curious to see how our young guys on our team play on the road.”

While the Jaguars have not been able to defeat the Titans on the road, they’ve also had trouble beating them, period. Since Marrone became head coach of the team in 2017, the Jaguars have defeated the Titans only once, last season in what would be Jalen Ramsey’s last game as a Jaguars cornerback. They’ve been outscored 140-81 over that same time span.

In history, the Titans own the winning record at 30-21-0, including the post season. The Jaguars have always had trouble with Tennessee, and this Sunday is its first chance to rewrite history, overcoming the demons that, regardless of the circumstances, continue to haunt them.