Titans have perfect opponent on tap to end skid: Jaguars
There’s no cure for a losing streak quite like playing the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Jaguars (2-10) have helped four opponents end multi-game skids this season, including three in the past six weeks.
The Tennessee Titans (8-4) can only hope the trend continues Sunday in Nashville.
The Titans dropped consecutive games for the first time this season before their bye week, scoring 13 points in losses to Houston and at New England. Turnovers were the main culprit in both games. Tennessee had five in the rain in a surprising home loss to the Texans on Nov. 21. They had four more against the Patriots.
“We just have to take care of the football,” quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. “A big emphasis for us as we move forward.”
Despite the two-game slide, Tennessee remains in first place in the AFC South. And the Titans’ schedule appears favorable down the stretch, with a five-game slate that includes just one opponent currently with a winning record.
“It doesn’t really matter what you have done up to this point, you have to be able to play your best football in December and January,” Tannehill said. “That is what we are looking to do. We are looking to come out and improve on a daily basis and play our best football starting with Jacksonville this week.”
The Jaguars might very well be the catalyst for change. They’ve done it all season.
The Los Angeles Rams ended a three-game slide against Jacksonville last week. Atlanta ended a two-game skids the week before. Seattle had dropped three straight before the Jags rolled into town in late October.
And Houston snapped a five-game losing streak when it beat Jacksonville in the season opener.
The Titans have a chance to join the list and add to Jacksonville’s misery. Coach Urban Meyer’s team has lost four in a row overall, seven straight in Nashville and eight consecutive in division play.
Jacksonville’s last win in Nashville came in 2013, a 29-27 stunner that was the Jags’ first win under then-coach Gus Bradley. Only four Jacksonville players even have wins at Nissan Stadium, and none of those came as members of the Jaguars.
“I want to headbutt someone when I hear that,” Jacksonville cornerback Shaquill Griffin said. “Hopefully we can get this turned around. We have been breaking curses all this year, so hopefully (we) break another one.”
Tannehill is no longer the most-sacked quarterback in the NFL, but he’s not far from that spot. He has been sacked 33 times this season and is ahead of only Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow (36) and Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson (37). He was sacked only 24 times all last season. But he is 11-3 inside the AFC South since taking over as the Titans’ starting quarterback in mid-October 2019.
LET IT RIP
Jaguars rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence is done playing tight and tentative football. Lawrence made a decision this week to “let it rip” against the Titans after weeks of futility that stunted his growth and confidence.
“As this season’s gone on, obviously, there’s been ups and downs and a lot of stuff going on, and that’s the one thing I need to be consistent on is just go out there and play and just be myself,” he said. “That’s something I want to do a better job of, don’t play in a box, just go play free.”
Lawrence has one touchdown pass in his last five games and no completions that gained more than 30 yards since Week 5.
Derrick Henry, the back-to-back NFL rushing champ, has had some of his best games against Jacksonville. He ran for 130 yards and three TDs in the Titans’ win over the Jaguars in Jacksonville in October. Henry being on injured reserve might not be much of a respite for the Jaguars, not with how well Dontrell Hilliard and D’Onta Foreman ran against the Patriots. Hilliard had his first 100-yard rushing game in his first career start, running for 131 yards. Foreman ran for 109 yards as the duo became the first for the Titans to run for at least 100 yards since Chris Johnson and LenDale White in 2008 at Detroit.
“This is going to be a physical game, man on man, block on block,” Jaguars defensive coordinator Joe Cullen said. “They’re going to tell you he’s running it there and you have to stop it.”
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