NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans face the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night at Nissan Stadium.
Here’s a look at six things to watch:
Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota has been on a roll of late. In his career, he’s also been special in primetime. Mariota is scheduled to make his seventh career primetime start against the Jaguars. In his first six primetime games, he’s thrown for 1,656 yards, eight touchdowns and five interceptions, with a passer rating of 106.4. Since the beginning of the 2000 campaign, no NFL quarterback with at least six primetime starts has a higher passer rating than Mariota in primetime games. The list of players with at least a 100.0 passer rating in night games also includes Russell Wilson (105.1), Drew Brees (105.0), Aaron Rodgers (103.9) and Peyton Manning (101.8).
Run the Ball
Running back Derrick Henry has stepped up his game since the bye week. He’s been more decisive, and more physical, and as a result he’s banged in five touchdowns on the last six games. Henry has been good against the Jaguars – he has 90-plus scrimmage yards and a TD in three of his five games vs Jacksonville, and in two career home meetings he has 214 scrimmage yards (107 per game) and two touchdowns. Look for a good dose of Henry and Dion Lewis.
Titans WRs vs Jaguars secondary
Titans receivers Corey Davis, Taywan Taylor and Tajae Sharpe all contributed in a big way against the Jets, which is exactly what the team needs on a regular basis. The group will be tested on Thursday night against a Jacksonville secondary that’s brash and physical. Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey will come to town with an attitude, and fellow corner A.J. Bouye is no slouch either. The Titans receivers better be prepared to fight off some physical coverage.
Stop the Run
Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette will return to action after being suspended for Sunday’s game vs the Colts. Fournette is a load, but he’s not the only back the Titans need to stop. Running back T.J. Yeldon leads the Jaguars in rushing yards (401), with Fournette (314), who has missed time this season, behind him. Expect the Jaguars to try and run the football against Tennessee, which has had some issues vs. the run of late. The Titans better be ready to tighten up.
Cody Kessler is now the quarterback for the Jaguars after he stepped in for Blake Bortles. Kessler managed the game in Sunday’s game against the Colts, and he did enough to lift the Jaguars to a win. The Titans need to make him uncomfortable in the pocket with pressure, and hits. In his only career start vs. the Titans (in 2016 with the Browns), Kessler completed 26 of 41 passes for a career-high 336 yards with 2 touchdowns and 0 INTs for a 105.3 rating. No one wants to see that happen again.
Special Teams Bounce Back
The Titans have been solid on special teams this season, which made Sunday’s performance – the Titans allowed a blocked punt, a blocked extra point, and a 59-yard return – so surprising. The Titans need to clean things up here against the Jaguars, who would love to be jumpstarted by some special teams miscues by the Titans. Wouldn’t it be nice to see return man Adoree’ Jackson get on track as well?
TitansOnline.com looks back at the all-time series against the Jacksonville Jaguars. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)