Titans vs. Jaguars 2013 game preview: AFC battle for pride in Jacksonville

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars will host the Titans in Week 16.

An AFC South battle for pride will take place in Week 16. The Jaguars will host the Titans in Jacksonville with both teams out of playoff contention and nothing on the line but hate for one another. The Jaguars have played surprisingly well as of late, while the Titans have been formidable in several tight games this season. This game could greatly impact May's draft.

Meet the Jaguars

The Jaguars rank near the bottom of the league in almost every offensive category. The combination of Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne has not equaled success for Jacksonville, but the latter has been able to scrap out some wins as of late. Since the Jaguars' bye week, the team has greatly improved.

Running back Maurice Jones-Drew has been in and out of lineup this season, which has not helped matters. The Jaguars were once seen as the worst team in the league, but have now gone 3-2 in their last five games.

Meet the Titans

The Titans have dealt with their fair share of injuries as well. The Titans are 5-9, but looked very good at the beginning of the season with quarterback Jake Locker. However, Locker was injured in the middle of the season and Ryan Fitzpatrick was forced to take his place. The Titans have spoiled their opportunity for the playoffs and were officially eliminated last week after an overtime loss to the Cardinals.

The Titans are average on both offense and defense. Their offensive statistics sit in the middle of the league and the team has struggled to put up points. Tennessee's running and passing offenses have both been weak this season.

Local Takes: Jaguars

Alfie Crow of Big Cat Country believes injuries have actually helped the Jaguars:

On the opening day roster, the Jaguars trotted out Blaine Gabbert, Will Rackley, Eugene Monroe, Luke Joeckel, Cecil Shorts and Maurice Jones-Drew. You could argue including Justin Blackmon in that list as well, but the point being on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, none of those players will likely be on the field.

That means on Sunday the Jaguars will start six (seven) different players than they started on opening day for the 2013 NFL season on the offensive side of the ball.

The odd thing with that however, is that they've been better (still not good) on offense in the second half of the year than the first, even with all of the shuffling.

Local Takes: Titans

Daniel R. of Music City Miracles has apparently had enough of Mike Munchak and is rooting for a change:

Mike Munchak's teams are simply awful. They can't beat teams with winning records and only occasionally beat the ones with losing records. That's not good enough to even pretend to be a Super Bowl contender, and I don't think I'm going out on a limb when I say that it's impossible to see Munchak leading this team to a Super Bowl.

If you believe that Munchak is the problem (or likely one of the problems) then it's understandable why you want his contract terminated at the end of the year. Most MCMers seem to have reached this point. The question then becomes, "What pushes us to that endpoint?"

Losses.

That's the only thing that will do it. In Tommy Smith's pre-game press conference on Sunday he stressed what sort of organization he wants to become: a winning one (video link, couldn't find the transcript). It was that simple for Smith. I believe the only way he makes a change at coach is if he feels this organization is heading away from his stated goal.

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:

@jmorrisMCM

@BigCatCountry

Prediction

Four of SB Nation's six experts picked the Titans to win on the road. David Fucillo and Matt Ufford went with the Jags.

Odds

The Titans are 5-point road favorites against the Jaguars, according to OddsShark.

Next Week

The Jaguars will visit the Colts in Week 17. The Titans will close the season by hosting the Texans. Both games kick off at 1 p.m. ET.

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