Jacksonville (2-4) at Tennessee (3-4)
When: Thursday, October 27th 2016
Where: Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN
Time: 8:25 ET | TV: NFL Network
The AFC South takes center-stage on Thursday night as the Tennessee Titans host the Jacksonville Jaguars to kick off Week 8 of the NFL schedule. The Titans blew a fourth-quarter lead to Indianapolis last week in a 34-26 setback, but sit just a game behind the Colts for first place in the division. Marcus Mariota has eight touchdown passes in his last three games and became became the only player in NFL history to have at least 250 passing yards with three touchdowns and more than 100 rushing yards in a single game in his last meeting with the Jaguars. Running back DeMarco Murray has been Tennessee’s primary source of offense with an NFL third-best 633 yards while his 27 receptions leads the Titans team. Tight end Delanie Walker, who has a team-leading 330 yards receiving and three touchdowns, has hauled in 16 receptions for 201 yards and a score in his last two meetings with Jacksonville. The Titans have the 10th best overall defense in the league and are led by LB Brian Orakpo, who’s seven sacks are third-best in the league. Tennessee will play three of their next four on the road after Thursday’s battle against the Jags.
After many predicted them to possibly win the AFC South, Jacksonville is off to a rough 2-4 start and the offense looks terrible. Quarterback Blake Bortles has accounted for 11 turnovers (9 INT) this season and he hasn’t been helped by the 30th-ranked rushing attack. Bortles threw a career-high five touchdown passes in a 42-39 loss to Tennessee on December 6th, with Allen Robinson catching three of those scoring strikes to highlight his 10-catch, 153-yard performance. Robinson was held to just two catches for nine yards in Sunday’s 33-16 loss versus Oakland. Jacksonville has a league-worst third-down conversion rate (27.6) and sits 24th in scoring (19.5). T.J. Yeldon leads the Jaguars with only 200 yards rushing, although the second-year running back accumulated 136 yards from scrimmage (79 receiving, 57 rushing) and a touchdown in his last meeting with the Titans. Tight end Julius Thomas is aiming to record his third touchdown in as many games versus Tennessee and fifth in six outings against a division opponent.
Jacksonville is a mess right now and Tennessee is really not a bad team. Their offense has really improved with Murray at running back. It has taken some pressure off Mariota and the defense is solid. The home team is 5-2 against the spread on these short-rest Thursday games. I think the Titans’ defense will disrupt Bortles all night and Tennessee rolls to a victory.
Pick: Titans -3