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VOL. 41 | NO. 37 | Friday, September 15, 2017

Titans at Jaguars: What to watch

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Taylor Lewan vs. Calais Campbell. Campbell had four of the Jaguars’ 10 sacks Sunday. Yes, you read that right, 10 sacks by the Jacksonville defense. Lewan and the Titans defense did a decent job of protecting Marcus Mariota against Oakland. Keeping Mariota upright is key, because, remember, this is where Mariota suffered the broken fibula on a sack last year.

Corey Davis vs. Jalen Ramsey. Davis had a nice debut for Tennessee, gaining 69 yards on six catches, including a 23-yarder to set up the Titans’ only touchdown. Middle Tennessee native Ramsey might have been Defensive Rookie of the Year last season had he not been on a such a bad overall team.

Dick LeBeau vs. Blake Bortles. With Leonard Fournette’s arrival, it is clear that the Jaguars want to run the football and turn the turnover-prone Bortles into a game manager. That said, LeBeau should have a few tricks up his sleeve to try and get Bortles to make a costly mistake or two.

Four downs

First down: Win the turnover battle. The Titans forced no turnovers in Sunday’s loss to the Raiders. The Jaguars had four takeaways against Houston. If anything close to that happens in Jacksonville, it will be a long day for the Titans.

Second down: Establish the run. The Titans had 95 yards rushing against Oakland, which on the surface doesn’t sound that bad. But 36 of that belonged to QB Marcus Mariota. The Titans have to get more than 18 combined touches for running backs DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry.

Third down: Shore up the pass defense. The Titans didn’t get enough pressure on Derek Carr last Sunday, but they have to make life uncomfortable for Blake Bortles, who will be without his top receiver in Allen Robinson, out for the year with a torn ACL. Even an inconsistent QB like Bortles and burn the Titans if they don’t get consistent pressure, and leave the secondary exposed.

Fourth down: It’s not a must win, but it’s close. It would be crazy to say Sunday is a must-win for the Titans just two games into the season. But it’s closer than you think. Jacksonville is 1-0 and has an AFC South win in hand at Houston, while the Titans are 0-1. While the Jags are long shots to win the division, if they get to 2-0 with both wins in the division, and the Titans drop to 0-2, the advantage is obvious. Winning division games is a priority after a 2-4 mark last year in the AFC South cost the Titans the division title last year.

-- Terry McCormick