The Jacksonville Jaguars will visit Nashville in Week 8 to battle the Tennessee Titans in a Thursday Night Football matchup with divisional implications. The winner of this matchup will have at least a share of second place in the AFC South and be within a game of the division-leading Texans entering Sunday.
The game will be airing on NFL Network and will kick off at 8:25 p.m. ET. Unlike the last few Thursday Night Football games, it will not air on CBS or stream on Twitter.
The Jaguars enter Thursday’s matchup on a bit of a hot streak, winning two of their last three games after starting the season 0-3, putting their overall record at 2-4. Despite a virtually nonexistent ground game — the Jaguars have gained the third-fewest rushing yards from scrimmage on average this season — they have survived in part due to decent play from quarterback Blake Bortles.
The third-year QB out of UCF has scored five total touchdowns in the past three games, including one on the ground. Bortles has nine passing touchdowns on the season, yet none of them have gone to wide receiver Marqise Lee, who still leads the team in receptions. Lee has hauled in 29 of 38 targets for 337 yards, good for a close second behind team leader Allen Hurns.
Allen Robinson, meanwhile, has had a disappointing campaign, with three receiving touchdowns and just under 300 receiving yards. After a breakout 2015 in which he caught 14 touchdowns and accumulated 1,400 receiving yards, Robinson has not kept up that pace this season. Nevertheless, Robinson will look to bounce back against the Titans. Last time he faced them, Robinson torched the Titans for 10 catches, 153 yards, and three receiving TDs.
The Titans enter Thursday at 3-4 in a situation pretty much the opposite of the Jaguars, with their success coming largely through the rushing attack. As a unit, the Titans are tied for third in rushing yards per game, and running back DeMarco Murray ranks third among all running backs with 633 rushing yards. Murray has also found the end zone for five rushing touchdowns and happens to have the most catches of any Titans player, with his 27 receptions ranking him ahead of any Titans receiver.
Quarterback Marcus Mariota still lacks consistency this season, but he is on pace to exceed his rookie numbers. Mariota has thrown 12 touchdowns and just six interceptions in seven games this season and he is poised to improve on his 19:10 TD:INT ratio in 12 games last season.
Another key for the Titans will be their ability to get pressure on Bortles. The Titans’ defense currently is tied for third in the NFL with 20 sacks. Titans linebackers have done a particularly good job of getting to the quarterback lately. Brian Orakpo ranks third among all defensive players with seven sacks, while Derrick Morgan has accumulated all 4.5 of his sacks in his last three games.
The Titans’ secondary will also try to make life tough on Bortles, as their six interceptions tie for seventh in the NFL. Cornerbacks Perrish Cox and Jason McCourty each have two interceptions and tie for the team lead. The Titans still have allowed a relatively pedestrian 250.6 passing yards per game, however, a number that ranks 18th among all teams.
Still, if the Titans’ defensive unit can contain Bortles and the Jaguars’ passing game, Tennessee should be able to cap Jacksonville’s offensive output.
How to watch Jaguars vs. Titans
When: 8:25 p.m. ET
Where: Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tenn.
TV: NFL Network
Announcers: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson
Online Streaming: Sunday Ticket