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Thursday Night Football Preview: Jacksonville Jaguars @ Tennessee Titans
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6 Dec 2018 02:40 PM EST

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota attempts pass against Baltimore. (Image Source: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

Here’s a look at the matchup between the Tennessee Titans and the Jacksonville Jaguars:

Series: Titans lead 27-20; Streak: Titans have won the past three; Last Meeting: Titans 9, Jaguars 6 (09.23.18)

Time: 8:20 PM ET; TV: FOX/NFLN/Amazon (Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews)

Where They Stand:

Both AFC South squads were playoff teams in 2017 but if the postseason were starting this week both of their seasons would be over. Tennessee (6-6) snapped their two-game losing streak with a thrilling come-from-behind win over New York on Sunday to stay in the hunt, one game behind the Baltimore Ravens for the sixth spot in the AFC. At 4-8, Jacksonville appears to be out of the playoff picture but they could make an impact in a spoiler role. They had lost seven-straight games before they upset playoff contender Indianapolis last week.

When the Jaguars Have the Ball:

Taking over for the benched Blake Bortles, backup Cody Kessler was 18 of 24 passing but for just 150 yards with 28 yards rushing. In his only start against the Titans (with Cleveland) Kessler threw for a career-high 336 yards. Wide outs Donte Moncrief and Dede Westbrook have proven they can make plays on the road, as Moncrief has 75-plus receiving yards in two of his past four away from home and Westbrook has found the end zone in two of past three on the road. Running back Leonard Fournette rushed for 95 yards with two touchdowns last week and has gone for 100-plus scrimmage yards with a TD in his past three games. The last time they played, T.J. Yeldon posted 90 scrimmage yards and he caught seven passes for 49 yards last week.

Second-year linebacker Jayon Brown is having a strong season and he recorded five tackles, including a sack along with a pass defensed last week. He’s one of two players with at least 70 tackles and six sacks this season. The linebacker leads them in sacks and is second to Wesley Woodyard (78 tackles, 3.5 sacks) in tackles. Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey had a sack last week, his second-straight game getting to the quarterback to give him 5.5 in 2018. He’s had a sack in his past two against the Jags and his eight tackles for loss leads the Titans.

When the Titans Have the Ball:

Quarterback Marcus Mariota threw for 282 yards and two touchdowns (1 INT) with a 90.4 rating, as well as a team-high 43 yards rushing in Week 13. It was the fifth game of his career with 250-plus passing yards and at least 40 rushing yards, which is second in the league since 2015. He’s third in the AFC with his 68.6 completion percentage and has eight TDs to two INTs (96.5 rating) in seven career games against Jacksonville. Wide receiver Taywan Taylor had a career-high 104 yards last week and leading-pass catcher Corey Davis has scored in each of his past two games. Derrick Henry has 214 scrimmage yards and two scores in two career home games against the division rival. He’s their leading rusher but neither Henry (3.7 YPC), nor Dion Lewis (3.4 YPC) comes close to matching Mariota’s production (5.7 YPC) on the ground.

Veteran defensive end Calais Campbell recorded two tackles for loss, a sack, and a pass defensed last week. He’s posted two-plus TFLs in the past two and had three, as well as two sacks the first time these teams played earlier this season. Campbell is one of three players since 2017 with 100 tackles and 20 sacks while his seven sacks this season are tied with fellow end Yannick Ngakoue for the team lead. Linebackers Telvin Smith and Myles Jack both had strong games in their shutout of the Colts last week. Jack had 10 tackles and a fumble recovery, while Smith recorded 12 stops, a TFL, and a forced fumble. Smith is their leading tackler with 101. Corner D.J. Hayden had a pick last week along with two PDs, the same amount as Jalen Ramsey, who leads the Jags with 10 passes defensed and three picks.

Score: Titans 20, Jaguars 13

Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards.

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