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Week 16 Preview: Tennessee Titans Head To Jacksonville

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The Tennessee Titans (8-6) head to Everbank Field firmly in control of their own destiny knowing the playoffs are within touching distance for the first time in eight years. A victory on Saturday against division rivals Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12) will see the Titans record their fourth consecutive victory, a feat they’ve not achieved since 2009, coincidentally it’ll also be the Titans third straight road victory since 2008.

Everyone’s pre-season darlings the Jaguars stand in the way and find themselves on a nine game losing streak with Doug Marrone at the helm on an interim basis following the dismissal of Gus Bradley moments after the conclusion of last Sunday’s 21-20 defeat by the Houston Texans. Marrone has been part of the coaching staff since January 2015 (assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line Coach) and will be looking to strengthen his position as the front runner going forward amid rumors of a Tom Coughlin/Jags reunion.

Doug Marrone on his first day as the interim Head Coach. It was a day going into it I thought would be a challenging day, Overall, as difficult as the day was, I give credit to the coaches and the players for going out and handling themselves in the correct way.

The task in hand for Marrone is a formidable one as quarterback Blake Bortles continues to struggle. Bortles‘ long windup coupled with poor decision making has held the offense hostage throughout 2016. Wideouts Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns have amassed 1,131 yards receiving and nine touchdowns, a total they’d surpassed by week nine of last season (1,342 receiving yards, 12 touchdowns). Injuries have ravaged the offensive line, in particular the left guard and should Marrone choose too start Tyler Shatley, he’ll be the Jags’ fifth different player to do so.

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For those glancing at the box score you’d be somewhat uninspired by Marcus Mariota’s numbers during the teams winning streak, however last Sundays fourth quarter was a superb display of leadership, poise and execution as he lead the team on scoring drives of 11 plays, 51 yards (field goal) 12 plays, 88 yards (touchdown) and 6 plays, 40 yards (field goal).

Expect the Titans to once again lean on the rushing attack as DeMarco Murray and rookie Derick Henry have combined for the third overall rushing attack, averaging 144.7 yards a game. Fans are clamoring to see more of the rookie Henry who’ll be looking to expose an Jags defense that’s surrendering an average of 110.8 yards per game.

The Titans defense now features two Pro Bowlers in the form of defensive lineman Jurrell Casey and linebacker Brian Orakpo (running back DeMarco Murray, tight end Delanie Walker and left tackle Taylor Lewan were also selected to the Pro Bowl). Whilst the front seven appears solid, improvement is needed within the secondary as it finds itself ranked 29th against the pass.

Mike Mularkey on the five Titans selected to the Pro Bowl.Very proud. I mean, I thought (they were) well-deserving, I thought they’ve had very good years and it was nice to see them recognized. I was hoping that was the case. Even the alternates, to be recognized, to have that many guys where your peers and fans are starting to take notice of your play, that’s something for them. I’m very proud of them.

The previous encounter between the two this season finished with an easy Titans victory (36 – 22) as the offense racked up a total of 494 yards on offense and found themselves up 27-0 at the half. Jaguars players and coaching staff are potentially playing/coaching for their futures, so this Saturdays matchup could prove to be an intriguing one.