Jaguars can sweep 1st season series vs. Titans since 2005
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — So far this season, the Jacksonville Jaguars have been streak busters of the wrong kind.
They lost in Tampa Bay on Oct. 11, helping the Buccaneers snap an 11-game home skid. Last week, the San Diego Chargers came to Jacksonville having lost six straight, a string they ended with a 31-25 victory over the Jaguars.
Now the Jaguars visit Tennessee, where the Titans also have lost 11 straight on their field, putting them three home losses away from the NFL record.
“Hopefully we can break that streak of breaking streaks,” Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles said.
If the Jaguars (4-7) need other incentive, they are falling off the pace in the AFC South, where they trail Indianapolis and Houston by two games. They also can become the first team to sweep this season series since Tennessee did in 2008; the Jaguars won 19-13 in Jacksonville on Nov. 19. The Jaguars haven’t swept the season series since 2005.
“I think it would be huge for us,” Bortles said. “We want to be able to own the AFC South and be competitive and consistent year in and year out. I think winning divisional games is how you start doing that.”
The Titans (2-9) had a lead over the Jaguars in the fourth quarter of that game, just like they did last week before losing 24-21 to Oakland. They have lost nine of their last 10 overall.
“We owe ourselves a win,” Titans wide receiver Harry Douglas said.
Interim coach Mike Mularkey said the Titans are very aware of this home skid and the need to end it.
“It’s going to happen eventually,” Mularkey said. “Is it Sunday? Is it whenever we play the next one? Is it next year? It’s going to happen. When is it? We’d certainly like to be the team that starts it.”
Other things to know about Jaguars-Titans:
SEEING RED: The Jaguars have been dismal in the red zone the last five games. They have just five touchdowns in their last 18 trips inside the 20-yard line, repeatedly squandering chances to score. It cost them in losses against the Jets and San Diego. And they have no common thread to the continued woes.
“Is it throwing too much? Is it running too much? Are we getting the ball to the right player?” offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. “All of those things are a part of it. We’ll look at it as players and make a commitment to get better.”
GET MARIOTA CLOSE: In Tennessee, Titans rookie Marcus Mariota leads the NFL with a passer rating of 115.7 in the red zone. Get him 19 yards out from the opponent’s goal line, Mariota is 23 of 35 for 162 yards with 13 touchdowns and no interceptions. But the rookie threw only three passes inside Oakland’s 20 last week, though his two completions both went for TDs. That puts Mariota on pace for the best passer rating in that area for this franchise in years.
Nick Foles set the NFL mark for single-season passer rating in the red zone with 122.4 in 2013 with Philadelphia.
HURNS HURTING: Jacksonville could be without second-leading receiver Allen Hurns for the first time in his two-year career. Hurns, who has played 27 consecutive games, is in the league’s concussion program after getting strapped to a backboard and taken to a hospital late in last week’s game. If Hurns doesn’t play, Marqise Lee will make his first start of the season.
TOUGH RUNNING: The Jaguars lead the NFL allowing a measly 3.33 yards per carry, and have been even stingier since Oct. 29, giving up just 2.98 yards per rush. The Titans rank just behind Jacksonville in that same span, giving up 2.99 yards per carry. That’s a big improvement for Tennessee, which ranked 29th defending the run through the first six games, giving up an average of 129.2 yards an outing. The Titans have allowed 82 yards per game since Oct. 29.
NOT-SO-TIGHT COVERAGE: Delanie Walker could be in for another big game against Jacksonville, which hasn’t covered tight ends very well. Tight ends have combined to catch 34 passes for 433 yards and four touchdowns against the Jaguars in the last five games. Walker had eight receptions for 109 yards two weeks ago in Jacksonville and leads all NFL tight ends with 59 catches this season.
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