The Jacksonville Jags (4-8), playing their second straight game with Blake Bortles on the bench, take on the Tennessee Titans (6-6) on Thursday Night Football.

Blake Bortles
The Jacksonville Jaguars snapped a seven-game losing streak after the benching of starting QB Blake Bortles. (Image: AP)

In this AFC South divisional game, the Titans are trying to keep their playoff hopes alive. Meanwhile, the Jaguars are searching for an identity after finally benching beleaguered QB Blake Bortles. Backup Cody Kessler gets the start for a second week in a row.

Jacksonville Jaguars (4-8) at Tennessee Titans (6-6)
Kickoff: 5:20pm PT
Location: Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN
Point Spread: Titans -5
Over/Under: 37.5

Two of the best defenses in the league are up against each other once again, which is why the total is way south of 40 points.

D Slog

The Titans only score 18.4 points per game and their defense allows 20.4 ppg, or fifth best in the NFL.

The Jags are one of the lowest-scoring teams in the NFL with 16.9 ppg, but their D is fourth best in the league allowing 20.3 ppg. The Jags also boast the fifth-best defense in terms of DVOA.

These teams will have a difficult time passing considering they are both facing a top five pass defense. The Jags are third best in the NFL in passing yardage allowed with 207.2. The Titans are not far behind in fifth overall.

If there’s a week point on the Titans defense, it’s their run game. It’s strong, but they’ll be tasked with stopping a feisty Leonard Forunette.

Shutout Luck

Last week, the Jags D looked like their old selves and they snapped a seven-game losing streak. The Jags didn’t beat a cream puff either in a 6-0 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. They pitched a perfect shutout against Andrew Luck and the Colts, who were riding high off a five-game winning streak.

Luck had come into the game on a clip where he threw at least three touchdowns a game for eight straight games. Frank Reich engineered a highly-potent offense that had the Colts looking as good as they had been in years.

The Jags were a live home dog at +4.5 and they stopped Luck cold.


Blake Bortles (13 TD, 10 INTs, and 7 fumbles) struggled this season and finally got benched. After Bortles’ demotion, Tom Coughlin cleaned house and fired the offensive coordinator. It went without saying that head coach Doug Marrone was on the hot seat as well.

Backup Cody Kessler had a winless record as a starter with the Cleveland Browns. Kessler went 0-8 with the Browns. However, Marrone had no choice to turn to his backup after he lost confidence in Blake Bortles.

Kessler won his first start with the Jags and it was not pretty. He threw for 150 yards and most importantly, he did not commit any turnovers.

The Jags stole a win without Leonard Fournette. In the previous game, Fournette got involved in fisticuffs with numerous players on the Pittsburgh Steelers. He sat out the Colts game and even without their star running back, the Jags squeezed out enough offense to get two field goals. Six points was enough to beat the Colts, after an air-tight game from the Jags D.

“We’re all professionals and take pride in our game,” said Jags defensive tackle Malik Jackson. “We want to finish as strong as we can and put together a winning streak. There’s no reason we can’t win these final five games and at least get to 8-8. That’s not the record we wanted, but right now that’s the goal we’re striving to get.”

The Jags D showed up and their backup QB guided them to one of their most emotional wins of the season.

Titans Hunt

The Titans are only a game behind the Ravens (7-6), who occupy the last spot in the AFC Wild Card race. The LA Chargers (9-3) currently occupy the other Wild Card spot.

The Texans have been on fire with nine straight wins and they are running away with the AFC South crown. Both the Titans and Colts thought they could potentially catch the Titans in December, but that seems like a pipe dream. At this point with 6-6 records, both the Colts and Titans are vying for the final spot.