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SD Entertainer’s Five Players to Watch: Titans vs Jaguars

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In a meeting pitted between two lackluster teams, one may surmise that the outcome between the Titans (3-4) and the Jaguars (2-4) will be somewhat unpredictable. However, one way to determine the result is to analyze each player on their own individual merits which can shed some light on the result of the match.

Marcus Mariota, the quarterback for the Titans, has thrown for two or more touchdowns in his last three games—all of which have come against less-than-stellar teams like Cleveland, Indianapolis and Miami. While we think that this may be a low scoring event, Mariota should be able to garner yardage both on the ground -detracting from Jacksonville’s sub-par rushing defense- and through the air. His quarterback rating (QBR) has been phenomenal in his last three matches as he has thrown for a seldom one interception in his last three contests.

Quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) looks downfield against the Minnesota Vikings during a game last season. The second-year quarterback threw for 232 yards and two touchdowns last week.

Quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) looks downfield against the Minnesota Vikings during a game last season. The second-year quarterback threw for 232 yards and two touchdowns last week. Source: Wikipedia

Perhaps the most glaring weakness of Jacksonville’s defense comes from the ground. They have allowed 110 yards and seven touchdowns per game on that front—which is currently tied for the fifth worst in the NFL. Therefore, we expect DeMarco Murray -who ranks third in the league for total rushing yards and sixth in rushing touchdowns- to have a breakout performance. This should come as no surprise to fans who have watched him completely dismantle both stalwart and inferior opposing defenses.

Running back DeMarco Murray, a previous Dallas Cowboy player, attempts to juke Seattle Seahawk's defenders. By J-Ham2000 - at CenturyLink Field in SeattlePreviously published: https://www.flickr.com/photos/65077698@N00/15596084069/, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36759082

Running back DeMarco Murray, a previous Dallas Cowboy player, attempts to juke Seattle Seahawk’s defenders.
By J-Ham2000 – at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. Previously published

The x-factor for the Titans, Delanie Walker, will serve as a true measurement of success for their passing game. The versatile tight end, who leads the team in receiving yards, will make an impact and ultimately affect Mariota’s ability to find a rhythm throughout the contest. If Walker can assert a dominating presence during the nascent stages of the match, then that can create other offensive opportunities in other facets on the field.

On the other side, we have a team that has yet to find its stride this season, most noticeably on offense. After seven weeks, the Jacksonville Jaguars have accumulated a measly 1,944 yards—third worst in the NFL. Perhaps the most obvious reason is due to their 76.7 rushing yards per game, which leads us to conclude that the best hope for the Jags is to throw the football.

And throw often.

With T.J. Yeldon‘s abysmal 200 rushing yards -which ranks him at 36th among other running backs- coupled with Tennessee’s decent rushing defense (86 yards per game, which ranks sixth in the league) and superior defensive line, you can expect the Jags to believe in a player who has provided a faint yet reliable glimmer of hope—Blake Bortles.

The third pick of the 2014 draft will look to dismantle a defense that gives up 250 yards per game through the air, which can be considered sub-standard in quality. After watching any Jaguars game this season, one can guess that the team will either live or die by the passing game.

Let’s all hope that what may be a tawdry showing will instead turn out to be an enthralling one that is full of surprises for both Titans and Jaguars fans alike. For Chargers fans, the game has little meaning; however, the Titans are currently in the running for a wild-card spot, so San Diego would automatically elect to cheer for the Jaguars.

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