The 8-8 Jacksonville Jaguars are set to host the 7-9 Tennessee Titans for the divisional crown and a spot in the playoffs. With a spot in the playoffs on the line, the Jaguars are 6.5-point favorites according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
These are the players I’ll be watching most on either side of the ball.
TE Evan Engram
Evan Engram enters the final week of the season trailing only Travis Kelce, T.J. Hockenson, and Mark Andrews in receptions and receiving yards among all tight ends this season. His best game of the year was against the Titans in Week 15, when Engram set career highs across the board (11 catches, 162 yards, 2 touchdowns).
#Titans-#Jags— Matt Bowen (@MattBowen41) January 6, 2023
Looking at the Week 14 head-to-head tape.
TE Evan Engram. Multiple route tree. Worked all three levels of the field.
Concepts to beat zone coverage. Plus, the crossers/unders on 3rd down to win the man matchups (below).
Engram: 11-162-2TDs (on 15 targets). pic.twitter.com/2L6UuQlm4P
It’ll be interesting to see what, if anything, Tennessee does differently this time around to defend Doug Pederson’s newest star tight end.
OLB Josh Allen
In the past six weeks, Josh Allen has three games with four or more pressures as well as two games with zero pressures. That inconsistency is reflective of his entire 2022 season, but hopefully Allen can maintain momentum after registering six tackles and three quarterback hits last week.
Allen will continue to drop into coverage as an outside linebacker in Jacksonville’s 3-4 scheme -- especially because Tennessee’s heavy personnel will keep the Jaguars in true base defense often with three down linemen and four linebackers.
The fourth-year pro can’t allow any big plays down the field when he’s asked to play coverage. More importantly, though, Allen has to take advantage of an obvious mismatch opportunity when rushing the passer. Offensive tackles Dennis Daley and Nicholas Petit-Frere have been liabilities on the perimeter for the Titans this season.
From Derrik Klassen of Football Outsiders:
Backup left tackle Dennis Daley has been among the worst tackles in the league since taking over the position when Taylor Lewan went down early in Week 2. Daley has the third-highest blown block rate among all offensive linemen and first among left tackles this season, per Sports Info Solutions. The other side of the line is in even worse shape. Starting rookie right tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere injured his ankle in Week 16, forcing Le’Raven Clark into the lineup. Clark was awful against the Cowboys last week and took losses to just about every edge rusher who suited up that day.
Jacksonville doesn’t have the same pass-rushing prowess as Dallas. They don’t have a Parsons and their overall rotation isn’t quite as deep as what the Cowboys are rolling with. Josh Allen, Arden Key, and Travon Walker are a solid trio, though, and certainly enough to give these Titans tackles fits.