Week 1 recap
Tennessee fell at home 26-16 in their season opener to Oakland. It was a disappointing loss because the stat sheet showed a game almost dead-even in most key areas. Playing from behind most of the day, the Titans still had a shot when a Ryan Succop field goal cut the lead to seven with less than five minutes to play. But Oakland ground down the clock and kicked a field goal late to put the game out of reach. Marcus Mariota threw for 256 yards and ran for the team’s only touchdown. The Raiders moved the ball pretty freely against the Tennessee defense, racking up 22 first downs.
The Jaguars put together a defensive performance for the ages in a 29-7 victory over Houston in an AFC South matchup. Jacksonville’s defensive line wreaked havoc on Texans quarterbacks to the tune of ten sacks and four turnovers. New defensive end Calais Campbell had four of the sacks, while Yannick Ngakoue added two, one of which included a fumble that was returned 59 yards for a touchdown by Dante Fowler. The offense didn’t need to do a lot, but rookie first-round pick Leonard Fournette had an excellent debut performance, running for 100 yards and a touchdown.
New-look Jaguars Offense – For the past few seasons, the Jaguars have taken a kind of heave-and-hope approach to offense, resulting in regression of the quarterback play of Blake Bortles. But the drafting of Leonard Fournette changed their outlook significantly; they ran the ball 39 times in Week 1, with Fournette leading the way with a 100-yard day, against 21 passes. The Titans struggled to contain Marshawn Lynch late in their Week 1 loss. They’ll have a lot of chances to improve against Fournette on Sunday.
Where Have You Gone, Mr. Robinson? – Allen Robinson’s season-ending injury robbed the Jaguars of their finest receiver and biggest game-breaking threat. The Jaguars have decent veteran depth in Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee, but neither have ever been the go-to guy in an NFL offense, a position which carries with it a lot of responsibility. Then again, Bortles often locked in on Robinson; maybe his absence will force him to spread the ball around.
Remember The Titans Running Game? – The Titans ran the ball just OK in the loss to Oakland, managing 95 yards on the ground, 26 of which came from quarterback Marcus Mariota. They tended to look to throw a bit more often in Week 1, perhaps realizing that Mariota has more options at receiver than he’s had in the past. But this team should try to find their identity in the run game again, something that won’t be easy against a Jaguars defense coming off an outstanding performance in Week 1.
Matchup to Watch
Titans OT’s Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin vs Jaguars DE’s Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue – The fastest way to rebuild in the NFL is to build a powerhouse defensive line, and the Jags appear to have done that with Campbell, the reigning AFC Defensive Player of the Week, and Ngakoue leading the way. Pass protection was one area where the Titans excelled in Week 1, allowing just five hits on Mariota all game. Lewan and Conklin were brilliant last season too, but they’ll see less help this week, especially when Campbell slides inside and Dante Fowler in the mix.
Fantasy football tip
Jaguars WR Marqise Lee – Lee is the guy to own among the Jaguars receivers now that Robinson is out. Granted, it could be a low-volume passing attack, but the guy getting the most targets should always be considered a fantasy factor. He’s a former high draft pick who started coming into his own a season ago and might be ready for bigger things starting this week.
Prediction: Tennessee Titans 23-14 Jacksonville Jaguars
It’s tempting to go the other way based on Week 1, but the Titans lost to one of the best teams in the league and the Jags beat one with bad quarterback play. It turns around this week.
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