Jaguars vs. Titans 2012 game preview: Draft position is the only relevance of formerly fierce rivalry

USA TODAY Sports

With a pair of coaches that could be coaching their final games with their respective teams on Sunday, losing for draft position is the last thing on the minds of Mike Mularkey and Mike Munchak.

Once upon a time, the Titans and Jaguars had a fierce rivalry that even resulted in a matchup in the 1999 AFC Championship Game. It has been a while since the two teams have had a game anywhere near that level of relevance and Sunday's Week 17 matchup is no different. In fact, the only relevance it has is for the 2013 NFL Draft.

With a loss and an unlikely win from the Chiefs over the Broncos, the Jaguars would be the owners of the first overall selection in the draft, while a loss for the Titans would ensure a top five selection. But with a pair of coaches that could be coaching their final games with their respective teams on Sunday, losing for draft position is the last thing on the minds of Mike Mularkey and Mike Munchak.

One of only two wins in 2012 for the Jaguars came against the Titans in Week 12 with a 24-19 score. However, trips to Nashville, Tennessee haven't boded well for the Jaguars as of late, as the Titans have been able to defend their home turf from the division rival in three of the last four weeks.

Meet the Titans

After a slow start to the season, Chris Johnson has bounced back and needs just 13 yards on Sunday to record a fourth 1,200-yard season in his five year career. In his last game against the Jaguars, Johnson recorded 80 yards rushing on 21 carries and two receptions for 29 yards, but did not find the end zone. The Jaguars were able to record two interceptions from Jake Locker in that game, as the second-year quarterback has thrown two or more in four of his last five games. However, he has eclipsed 300 yards passing in two of his last three starts at home.

Rookie linebacker Zach Brown had one of the best games of his young career against the Jaguars, recording 1.5 sacks and 10 tackles. The rest of the Titans defense had success as well, bringing down Henne a total of seven times, the most sacks recorded by the Tennessee defense all season. Rookie defensive tackle Mike Martin has made an impact in his first season as well, with three sacks despite not yet making a start.

Meet the Jaguars

Quarterback Chad Henne has had some success in his career against the Titans, including a Week 12 victory against them in which he completed 17-of-26 passes for 261 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. In 2009 with the Dolphins, Henne made his only start in Tennessee and passed for 349 yards. He'll have to find that success in Week 17 without a few key offensive figures, though, as the Jaguars will be without Maurice Jones-Drew, Uche Nwaneri and Cecil Shorts III.

The Titans defense will be facing Jason Babin for the first time in 2012 as he still on the Eagles during the two teams' first matchup of the season. During the 2010 season, Babin recorded 12.5 sacks as a member of the Titans and earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl. In four games since being claimed by the Jaguars off waivers, Babin has recorded 1.5 sacks and two forced fumbles.

Local Takes: Titans

SuperHorn from Music City Miracles wrote an open letter to Bud Adams asking for sweeping changes, including the firing of head coach Mike Munchak.

While the circumstances are unfortunate and much of it has been out of Munchak's control, it's time for him to go. Hiring a new coach provides more stability and a better environment for good coordinator hires. This may not be the comfortable or easy thing to do, but it's likely what is best for this franchise long term.

Local Takes: Jaguars

Matthew Fairburn from Big Cat Country says that Jason Babin against Michael Roos is the most interesting matchup to watch on Sunday.

Jason Babin has shown flashes since joining the Jaguars, but it's still tough to tell exactly what the team has in him. After last week's strong performance, Babin has a difficult test against Michael Roos, who has been rock solid this season. Let's see if Babin can get the better of him.

Follow the Fun

Be sure to check out SB Nation's team blogs, Music City Miracles and Big Cat Country, for more analysis and highlights from the game.

Add these fine follows to your Twitter timeline:

@TitansMCM

@BigCatCountry

Titans beat writer, @JWyattSports

Jaguars beat writer, @RyanOHalloran

Prediction

From the Week 17 picks:

This game has no playoff implications. But it does have NFL Draft order implications. The Jaguars need to lose and the Chiefs need to win for Jacksonville to secure the No. 1 pick. If both teams lose, the Chiefs will likely get the No. 1 pick.

The pick: 13-9, Titans

Odds

Although they lost the first matchup earlier in the season, the Titans are four-point favorites at home, according to OddsShark.

Next Week

Both teams are long eliminated from the playoffs and will conclude their seasons on Sunday.

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