NFL Expert Picks Against the Spread: Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans
Sometimes, a game doesn't have to be high scoring to be entertaining. Last Thursday's Saints at Cowboys matchup was just such an example. If I told you the final score was 13-10, it probably sounds like a yawner, but it was great. It also was the highest-rated Thursday night game ever. Not a shock considering the Saints were the hottest team in the NFL on a 10-game winning streak and the Cowboys are … well, ratings gold no matter what.
I feel very confident proclaiming that this Thursday's Jaguars at Titans AFC South game will not break that one-week-old TNF ratings record. Not quite the national cache of Cody Kessler vs. Marcus Mariota as Drew Brees vs. Dak Prescott.
The Jaguars (4-8) have nothing to play for at this point but pride. Jacksonville definitely can play spoiler in a few playoff races as it closes the season hosting Washington and then visiting Miami and Houston.
At three games behind the red-hot Texans, Tennessee (6-6) will not be winning the division but still could claim a wild-card spot for a second year in a row. Right now, though, the team is 10th in the AFC standings and behind not just the 7-5 Ravens but also 6-6 teams Miami, Indianapolis and Denver. Either the Chargers or Chiefs are getting one wild-card spot, so that leaves just one for all those clubs to fight over. The Titans lose head-to-head tiebreakers with the Dolphins and Ravens, still have a game left with the Colts and don't play the Broncos. Doesn't look good. Tennessee closes at Giants, vs. Redskins and vs. Colts. So it's possible it wins out and sneaks in.
Jaguars at Titans Betting Story Lines
Has there ever been a game where a team fired its offensive coordinator and benched its starting quarterback and then went out and scored six points and it was considered a success? Jacksonville did just that last week, with Nathaniel Hackett fired and replaced with QBs coach Scott Milanovich - even though the quarterback play has been atrocious.
That's why Blake Bortles was benched for Kessler, who had been 0-8 as a starter in his NFL career. Kessler didn't do much Sunday but at least didn't turn the ball over and the Jaguars ended a seven-game losing streak by upsetting the surging Colts 6-0. That's the defense we saw last year when the Jags reached the AFC title game. Still, I'm not exactly sure the offense was cured considering it had 211 yards. Top running back Leonard Fournette missed it due to a one-game suspension.
The Titans were absolutely set up for a trap game Sunday off a big one in Houston on Monday in Week 12. That's exactly what happened as Tennessee fell behind the visiting and lousy Jets 16-0 but would rally for a 26-22 victory. Mariota hit Corey Davis on an 11-yard TD pass with 36 seconds to go. It was Mariota's seventh game-winning drive since the start of 2017, tied for the most in the NFL. That stat surprised me. Taywan Taylor had been sidelined since Week 9 but returned with three catches for 104 yards, all in the fourth quarter when the Titans outscored the Jets 13-0.
This century, including playoffs, it was the ninth time the Titans came back to win from a deficit of nine or more points in the fourth quarter. The Titans recorded a season-high 403 total net yards, their first game to hit 400 total net yards since Nov. 12, 2017 against Cincinnati (416). Tennessee has 14 won its past 17 home games.
Jaguars at Titans Betting Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes , Tennessee is a 4-point favorite (-110) with a scant total of 37. On the moneyline, the Titans are -210 and Jaguars +175. On the alternate lines, Tennessee is -4.5 (-103) and -3.5 (-118). The Jaguars are 4-6-2 against the spread (1-3-1 on road) and 5-7 "over/under" (3-2 on road). The Titans are 6-6 ATS (3-2 at home) and 5-7 O/U (2-3 at home).
The Jags are 1-3-1 ATS in their past five vs. the division and 1-5-2 ATS in their previous eight overall. The Titans are 6-2 ATS in their past eight vs. the AFC South and 7-3 ATS in their past 10 at home vs. teams with a losing road record. The under is 4-1 in Jacksonville's past five vs. the AFC South. It's 6-1 in Tennessee's previous seven vs. the division. The home team is 5-2-1 ATAS in the past eight.
Jaguars at Titans Betting Prediction
Tennessee has won the past three in the series. It was an unwatchable 9-6 slog in Week 3 with no touchdowns scored. Ryan Succop won it on a 28-yard kick with 4:06 left. Mariota didn't start due to an elbow injury but relieved Blaine Gabbert and led each scoring drive. Neither team reached 240 yards. Fournette missed that one. I'll probably wait for an alternate line of -2.5, but for now we'll go Tennessee at -3.5 and the under even with how low that is.
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