The 2-2 Tennessee Titans look to avoid another letdown game as they travel to Jacksonville to take on the 0-4 Jaguars. The Titans are coming off one of their most disappointing losses in recent memory while the Jaguars… well, let’s just say they were grinding off the field in the worst way possible.
Regardless of all the dysfunction that has been surrounding Urban Meyer’s football team as of late, they cannot be overlooked on Sunday, Especially after what happened in New York last weekend.
There’s no telling how motivated this Jaguars team is going to be, but Tennessee can not take the talent on this team lightly.
The Titans have a brutal stretch coming up on their schedule after this game, so it is crucial that they leave Jacksonville with a win. With that said, let’s take a closer look at what the keys to a Titans victory are.
Protect Ryan Tannehill
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
— Paul Kuharsky (@PaulKuharskyNFL) October 7, 2021
Last week alone, Tannehill was sacked seven times and hit a whopping 14 times. Despite the non-existent protection up front, Tannehill is playing awesome football considering the circumstances surrounding him.
Took a lot at how QBs have graded under pressure versus when kept clean (the latter of which has been found to be much more stable + predictive going forward).
It's cool that PFF has made all this available! pic.twitter.com/WTSKpSc2Uk
— Computer Cowboy (@benbbaldwin) October 4, 2021
To put New York’s dominance into better perspective, coming into the game, the Jets had six total sacks and 21 pressures through the first three weeks. Last Sunday alone, the Jets produced a jaw-dropping seven sacks and 21 pressures.
The Jets pass rush pressured Ryan Tannehill on 21 of his 56 dropbacks (37.5% pressure rate). Four different Jets defenders generated 6+ pressures, tied for most in a game by any defense since 2016.
Jets Team QB Pressures:
— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) October 4, 2021
According to Pro Football Focus, the Titans quarterback has received a 90 for his grade through the first four games of the season. It makes you wonder how well he would be doing if his top two receivers were healthy and if he had better blocking upfront.
If Tennessee’s offensive line is going to start turning things around, they have a great opportunity this week. They head to Jacksonville to take on a Jaguars team that is seemingly waiting for someone to put the dagger in them.
Another way to ensure Tannehill is better protected is to get the ball out of his hands quickly with shorter throws.
Make no mistake about it, the Jags do have some talented defenders in their front-seven who are more than capable of wrecking the game if Tennessee isn’t on its Ps and Qs.
If the Titans are going to win, they must ensure that it’s a quiet afternoon from Josh Allen, K’lavon Chaisson, Myles Jack, and the rest of that Jaguars’ defense.
Give the Jags their annual dose of Derrick Henry
Syndication: The Tennessean
One of the more enjoyable developments for Titans fans over the last few seasons has been watching Derrick Henry go bananas against his hometown team. The Titans’ star running back grew up less than 30 minutes away from Jacksonville and he apparently loves to put on a show anytime he plays there.
In the 10 career games that he’s played against Jacksonville, Henry has rushed for 1,013 rushing yards on 184 carries (5.5 yards per carry).
However, it wasn’t until December of 2018 when the Alabama product truly began his reign of dominance. Henry ran for a 99-yard touchdown en route to a 238-yard, four-touchdown performance that helped jumpstart his Hall of Fame career.
Never forget the time Derrick Henry went 9️⃣9️⃣ yards against the Jaguarspic.twitter.com/VScMt15eVu
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) October 8, 2021
Since then, the King has rushed for 740 yards and nine rushing touchdowns (148 yards per game) in his last five contests with the Jaguars.
Derrick Henry's last 5 games against the Jaguars:
‣ 104 rush attempts
‣ 740 rush yards
‣ 7.1 yards per attempt
‣ 9 rush TD
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) October 6, 2021
Tennessee is in desperation mode after last week and they must bounce back, so look for Henry to try to continue his dominance over Jacksonville.
Make Jaguars offense one dimensional
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Despite being labeled as a generational talent at the quarterback position for much of the last decade, Trevor Lawrence has had his fair share of rookie woes to start the year.
Through four games, the Jaguars rookie quarterback has a QBR of 35.7 (28th best) after throwing for 873 yards, five touchdowns, and seven interceptions.
Things seemed like they were turning the corner when Lawrence had his best game of his young career during last Thursday night’s loss to the Bengals. Unfortunately for him and his teammates, that was ultimately over shadowed by their own head coach’s wild weekend.
If the Jaguars are going to get back on track, they are likely going to have to rely on running back James Robinson to open things up for Lawrence and the passing attack. In Week 3, Robinson helped take some of the weight off of the rookie’s shoulders by accounting for 78 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
If Tennessee is going to prevent another letdown game from happening, they must be able to contain the rushing attack with Robinson in order to force the rookie quarterback to solely beat them with his arm.
If the Titans are able to accomplish this later today, it should drastically increase the likelihood that they leave Florida with a victory.
Get A.J. Brown involved early and often
Syndication: The Tennessean
It wasn’t exactly the best performance the last time we all got to see extended action out of the Titans’ second-year wideout. Back in Week 2, A.J. Brown’s day was riddled with back-breaking drops and underwhelming play all around.
Fortunately, history told us that the former Ole Miss superstar was due for a massive bounce back since that’s what he tends to do after an off-game. That was not the case, however, as Brown suffered a hamstring injury early in Week 3 and has been sidelined ever since.
Titans head coach Mike Vrabel confirmed that Brown will be back on the field this Sunday. The Titans must ensure that they get their talented receiver involved early and often so they can get Brown’s swagger rolling again.
As of right now, Brown only has 92 receiving yards on the season. If everything goes to plan, I think it’s a safe bet that he will comfortably surpass that total by day’s end. If the Titans accomplish this goal, they should be looking at a 3-2 record come Sunday evening.