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5 Questions with Music City Miracles: Which team wins the AFC South title?

Dallas Cowboys v Tennessee Titans Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

This one is for all the marbles. The Jacksonville Jaguars (8-8) host the Tennessee Titans (7-9) at TIAA Bank Field on Saturday night, and the winner takes home the AFC South Division title. Kick off is set for 8:15 p.m. Eastern Time on ESPN/ABC.

The winner of this game will host a playoff game in the Wild Card round. In the event of a tie, Jacksonville will win the division.

We went to our go-to guy ahead of the matchup for insights about Tennessee: Jimmy Morris, editor-in-chief at Music City Miracles — SB Nation’s home for the Titans.

Our conversation is below:

1. Last time we spoke, the Titans were sitting atop the AFC South Division and seemed like a lock to win it. Now, the team has lost six-straight games, including a head-to-head loss against the Jaguars. Outside of the injury to quarterback Ryan Tannehill, what has gone wrong for Tennessee during this stretch?

Jimmy: The injuries have been the biggest factor. The Titans have lost Tannehill, starting center Ben Jones, starting right guard Nate Davis, EDGE Bud Dupree, inside linebacker Zach Cunningham, and inside linebacker David Long to injury reserve since the last time these two teams met. They have also had starting defensive lineman Denico Autry, cornerback Kristian Fulton, and starting safety Amani Hooker miss time with injuries. This is the second year in a row they have been crushed by injuries.

The Titans are going to need to figure out something this offseason to try and prevent that next year because it feels like more than bad luck at this point.

2. Entering the year, did you expect Jacksonville to be in a situation where it could win the division title over the Titans in Week 18? What do you make of the Jaguars now/how has your view of the team changed?

Jimmy: Not at all. The Jaguars were so bad last year. Apparently, that was in large part due to the ineptitude of Urban Meyer. This Jaguars team is scary for sure. Trevor Lawrence is playing like the quarterback they drafted him to be when they took him with the first pick in the draft. Doug Pederson has done a great job scheming this offense. I heard this week that Christian Kirk, Zay Jones and Evan Engram have all set career-highs in receptions already this season. That’s crazy. They are the team that is proverbially “getting hot at the right time.” The Titans are no doubt walking into a buzzsaw Saturday night in Jacksonville.

3. Outside of the four turnovers, what do you think was the biggest factor for the Titans in the Week 14 loss to the Jaguars? What do the Titans need to do to win it in Week 18?

Jimmy: Well, the turnovers forced them to get away from what they want to do on offense. Derrick Henry had 96 yards rushing in the first quarter of that game. They were driving before the half when Henry fumbled. It’s a different game if they get points there or even if they don’t give up a touchdown before the half.

There were also missed opportunities in that game. Roger McCreary let a ball go right through his hands that ended up in Zay Jones’s hands for a touchdown. If McCreary makes that play it’s a different game, but he didn’t and the Jags rolled.

This time, the Titans need to win the turnover battle and have their big players make big plays. They have to keep it close enough that Henry is a factor the entire game and they have to get pressure on Lawrence. He wasn’t sacked in the first meeting. Jeffery Simmons and Denico Autry need to make him uncomfortable on Saturday night.

4. If The Titans were to win on Saturday, how far would you expect Tennessee to go in the playoffs and why?

Jimmy: They COULD win a first-round game against whoever the five-seed ends up being. This team has been able to keep it close against some good teams. They lost to the Chiefs in overtime and lost one-score games to the Bengals and Chargers. I don’t have any delusions that this is a team that could compete for a Super Bowl, but they have the ability to play better than they have over the last seven games. To be in those types of games, they are going to have to play good defense and feed Henry. That’s the only shot they have against anyone with this offensive line and Josh Dobbs at quarterback.

5. According to the DraftKings Sportsbook, the Jaguars are 6.5-point favorites and the over/under is set at 40. Will the Titans cover the spread, are you taking the over or under and which team wins the game (and thus the AFC South)?

Jimmy: I think the Titans win this game 21-17. I love Titans +6.5 and the Titans’ moneyline here. My score means the game goes under, but I don’t have a great feel for that one. I’m sure those will be very popular picks here at BCC!

Thank you to Jimmy for providing his thoughts and analysis on Tennessee. Jimmy can be found on Twitter, and to keep up with news on the Titans, please follow Music City Miracles as well.

If you would like to read my responses to Jimmy’s questions, please check here.