Titans Keys to Victory: vs. Jaguars, 12/12/21

Stoney looks ahead to Sunday's game between the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars.

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The bye week could not have come at a better time for the Tennessee Titans. After dropping games to the lowly Houston Texans and the now 9-4 New England Patriots, the Titans limped into the break on an 0-2 skid. The string of injuries and battered nature that this team hit the bye with aren’t all going to be fixed in one week, but reinforcements are on the way as Dane Cruikshank, Julio Jones, and Racey McMath were all cleared to return to practice from the IR this week. Kevin Byard was removed from the covid list. And, names like Ola Adeniyi, Nate Davis, Jayon Brown, Rashaan Evans, Jeremy McNichols, and Greg Mabin were listed as full participants at practice on Thursday’s injury report.

As it gets healthier down the stretch, the Titans will also *checks notes* need to play better football than they did against the Texans and Patriots. A victory over the 2-10 Jacksonville Jaguars would do the trick. The Titans are 3-0 coming off of a bye under Mike Vrabel. Not only that, but they’ve won those games by an average of 20.7 points per game. The sports books are favoring the Titans heavily in this spot, with the spread currently set at Titans -8.5, with a point total set at over/under 43.5. ESPN’s match-up predictor gives the Titans an 81.1% chance of winning this game. But, I would caution Titans fans about getting too optimistic about this game just yet. Remember, this is a team that lost to the Texans and the New York Jets. This is a rivalry game, and these contests always feel physical and chippy. Not to mention, the Jags are playing defense better than the final scores of their recent games would indicate.

Titans Keys to Victory: vs. Jaguars, 12/12/21

*Stop the run – If you listen to this week’s episode of The Unofficial Titans Podcast (embedded below), you’ll find that this week’s guest, Phil Smith of the Bleav in the Jags Podcast, thinks simplifying things on offense and committing to running the ball is the recipe for the Jags to keep this thing close. What’s bizarre about this is the current struggle between Jags coaches and running back James Robinson. Robinson is one of the best in the league when he’s on, but for whatever reason, Urban Meyer and his staff seem non-committal to Robinson, and we have this weird situation where Trevor Lawrence is telling coaches Robinson needs to play more. It’s wild. But, Robinson is essentially the Jags’ best player on offense right now considering the injuries they have at wide receiver and tight end. If you can force this team into attempting to scheme the passing game open, it could get ugly for Darrell Bevell and company. That starts with limiting Robinson, or whoever is in the backfield in the event that Meyer wants to bench Robinson yet again.

*Neutralize the Jags pass rushDawuane Smoot is having a solid season, and it certainly looks as though Josh Allen is going to play on Sunday. Along with its run game, its defensive front could be the biggest key to a Jags victory on Sunday, so this needs to be a big game from your offensive line if you’re the Titans. Don’t allow Smoot and Allen to get going, run the ball with whoever you have, and pass protect in situations in which Ryan Tannehill is passing.

*Protect the ball – It’s easy. It’s common sense, I know. But, we’ve been talking about the dumbass turnovers that the Titans offense keeps committing. They’re just killers – maybe getting healthier, and getting some of their horses back will help. Maybe Tannehill developing more chemistry with the guys that -are- out there will help. But, this is a defense that’s fully capable of keeping the Jags in this game if the Titans make it easy on them. We’ve seen it time and time again this season. Protect the ball and don’t give this team hope.

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If you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe to The Unofficial Titans Podcast on Apple Podcasts or follow us on Spotify. Or, you can simply smash that play button on our latest episode below:

Listen to “Ep. 88: Phil Smith of Bleav in the Jaguars, Round Two” on Spreaker.

Stoney Keeley is the Editor in Chief of The SoBros Network, and a Dogs Playing Poker on velvet connoisseur. He is a strong supporter of Team GSD, #BeBetter, and ‘Minds right, asses tight.’ “Big Natural” covers the Tennessee Titans, Nashville, Yankee Candle, and a whole wealth of nonsense. Follow on Twitter @StoneyKeeley.

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