Week 16 kicks off tonight with an AFC South matchup between the Jaguars and Titans. This is not one of the exciting games between title contenders but it is a battle to avoid finishing last in the division. It is also likely that one of these teams will be holding the first pick in the NFL draft next May and this game will play a part in determining which team that is. Tennessee is coming off a mostly awful performance against the Jets last week while Jacksonville lost a tough game in Baltimore. Both teams are really more suited to begin looking towards next year but that starts with tonight’s contest. We should see some young players getting a shot to impress the coaching staff and earn themselves a job for next season.
<span “font-size:13.0pt;mso-fareast-font-family:”times=”” mso-bidi-font-family:arial”=”” roman”;=””>Tennessee has been a mess this year. They have had three different starting quarterbacks in as many weeks now with Charlie Whitehurst getting tonight’s start. The only other quarterback on the roster is the recently sign Jordan Palmer. If Whitehurst were to get hurt, Palmer would be thrust into action, who has only attempted 15 regular season passes in his six-year career. The running game has not been very effective for Tennessee either ranking in the bottom quarter of the league. Defensively Tennessee has managed to hold up through the air, sitting around the middle in terms of yards allowed per game but on the ground, the defense has gotten blasted for a league-high 140 yards per contest. Tennessee might be able to hold their own tonight though as Jacksonville’s running back Dennard Robinson is out injured. Look for the Titans to work hard shutting down the running game, making Jaguars’ rookie Blake Bortles have to start carrying the offense. Bortles has been turnover prone this year and the Titans will be hopefully the rookie coughs up a couple more if he forced to throw a lot. On offense, look for a lot of shorter passes, or at least passes that don’t travel too far in the air. Whitehurst does not have the strongest arm, but he can be very accurate on the short to intermediate distance throws.
The Titans are falling apart while the Jaguars are starting to build some momentum. The Jaguars beat the Giants a few weeks back and had an impressive defensive showing last week in Baltimore. That is not exactly stringing together strong performances but it is a start. Jacksonville will also be looking to avenge a two-point loss to Tennessee earlier this year. The Jaguars have improved since the last matchup as well. Jacksonville’s defensive line has been playing better. Unfortunately, the offense is still sputtering. The offensive line has been abysmal and the running game has faded a bit. However, I still think this team has enough talent to beat Tennessee, whose offensive line, and offense in general is banged up.
Prediction: The Titans have lost two many players on offense to compete. Between the two quarterbacks ahead of Whitehurst, the versatile Dexter McCluster and several offensive linemen out for tonight, I don’t expect much. Jacksonville manages to run the ball enough to keep all of the pressure off of Bortles and the Jaguars win 20-10.