For the AFC South champion Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday’s contest against the host Tennessee Titans is nothing more than a tune-up for the postseason. For the Titans, it means much, much more, as they can clinch a wild-card berth with a victory.
Tennessee, which has gone eight straight seasons without a playoff appearance, needs to break out of its funk in a hurry as it enters the matchup having lost three in a row - including last week’s 27-23 home setback against the Los Angeles Rams. The Titans also would reach the postseason with losses by Buffalo and the Los Angeles Chargers, but they may have to play their season finale without DeMarco Murray after the running back suffered a torn MCL versus the Rams. Jacksonville, which is locked in as the third seed in the AFC, will be fielding its starters as it attempts to avenge a 37-16 home loss to Tennessee in Week 2. The Jaguars lead the NFL in sacks (52) and rank second in points allowed (253) despite last week’s 44-33 defeat at San Francisco.
TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Titans -3. O/U: 42
ABOUT THE JAGUARS (10-5): Leonard Fournette needs to gain 29 yards on the ground to join Fred Taylor (1,223) as the only rookies in franchise history to rush for 1,000. The 22-year-old from LSU also aims to record a rushing touchdown for the fourth consecutive game. Blake Bortles, who threw for a career-high 382 yards last week, has passed for 995 and nine touchdowns with only one interception in his last three visits to Tennessee.
ABOUT THE TITANS (8-7): With Murray’s status in question, Derrick Henry is prepared to carry the load against the Jaguars. “I don’t know how many carries I’m going to get,” Henry, who leads the club with 693 rushing yards, told the team’s website. “But I’m going to make the most of my opportunities, and it’s all about how we execute those.” In addition to Murray, Tennessee also could be without cornerback Logan Ryan, who missed the loss to the Rams with an ankle injury and has not practiced this week.
1. Defense is not their only strong suit as the Jaguars top the league with an average of 145.3 rushing yards.
2. Tennessee S Kevin Byard is tied for second in the NFL with six interceptions.
3. Jacksonville DE Yannick Ngakoue leads the league with six forced fumbles.
PREDICTION: Jaguars 31, Titans 13