The Jacksonville Jaguars play host to the Tennessee Titans with the ultimate stakes on the line. The Jaguars and Titans meet on Saturday for a scheduled 8:15 kickoff on ESPN and ABC.
The AFC South division crown is up for grabs after a complete free fall by the Titans. This is a reality that seemed unimaginable a mere five weeks ago.
However, as the Titans cooled down from a 7-3 start to the season, the Jaguars rattled off wins in five of their last six since its Week 11 bye.
The Jaguars gained the division lead after a Thursday Night Football win over the reeling New York Jets, and a pivotal Titans loss to fellow division rival Houston Texans.
The importance of this game is paramount: for both the Jaguars and Titans organizations, it is a win and you are in scenario in terms of the postseason.
How did we get to this point? Join along for a by-the-numbers deep dive behind why a Jaguars and Titans game is for all the AFC South’s marbles.
Jaguars and Titans By the numbers, 2017:
The Tennessee Titans have been on a good streak over recent years. The team has been part of the postseason tournament every year since 2019. Additionally, they have made it in four of the last five seasons.
The Titans, top-10 in playoff wins since 2017, have been one of the most impressive teams in recent memory.
Simultaneously, the Jaguars have only made the playoffs once in the last five seasons behind the vaunted “Sacksonville” defense.
Jacksonville was one down-by-contact call away from possibly winning a Super Bowl in 2017. However, the story goes down as follows: Tom Brady leads the Patriots to a comeback win in the AFC Championship en route to losing to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Since that game, the Jaguars have not been back in the playoffs. Still, the team is only one win off from equaling the amount of Titans postseason wins since 2017.
This is despite the Titans making a run to the AFC Championship game in their own right in 2019 and earning the top seed in the conference in the 2021 tournament.
Jaguars and Titans By the numbers, 10:
Since the Titans began their skid in Week 12, there has been a catalyst for their downward spiral. Since that week, Tennessee is tied for the bottom quarter of the league in offensive turnovers with 10.
What is worse is the Titans have a tie for the most giveaways since Week 14, also with 10. These turnovers played a role in the losses during the current 6-game skid, half of which were one-possession games.
Meanwhile, the Jaguars are in the top quarter of the league in terms of turnover differential since Week 14, with three more takeaways than giveaways.
During the last game the Jaguars and Titans met, the team from Duval county forced four turnovers. Jacksonville took the ball away from Derrick Henry twice and then Quarterback Ryan Tannehill twice.
Tannehill, the starting quarterback for the Titans, is out for the season now. If Tennessee wins this game, they will need to limit the turnovers and force some of their own against a Jaguars offense that has eight giveaways since Week 12.
The Jaguars and Titans By the numbers, 36:
In the previously mentioned Week 14 matchup between the Jaguars and Titans, the Titans gave up 36 points in defeat. This is the second-highest amount of points Tennessee allowed all season.
The typically stout Titans defense did nothing to stop the Jaguars in Week 14. This is a defense that has a season average of 21.2 points allowed per game.
#Titans S Amani Hooker on how the team is looking to relish the opportunity on Saturday in Jacksonville… and what challenges the Jaguars present:@RamonKaylaWill
📽️- WKRN pic.twitter.com/dTp9DXyo9j
— Kayla Anderson (@KaylaAndersonTV) January 4, 2023
To win, the Titans’ defense needs to come back to form for this matchup and tame a Jaguars offense averaging 28 points per contest since the bye week. To do so, the Titans signed a few defensive players to the practice squad.
However, there is one thing going in the favor of the Titans.
The Jaguars and Titans By the numbers, 9:
Seeing as the year 2017 has been such a big year as a turning point for both of these organizations, let’s take a look at the games these divisional rivals have played since 2017.
The Jaguars and Titans have met 11 times since that year, and it has not been much of a rivalry. The Titans have won nine of the last 11 matchups with Jacksonville. During these games, the Titans held the Jaguars in check with an average of 16 points per meeting.
Additionally, when Jacksonville is the home team during this matchup, the Titans defense plays them better, allowing just 14.2 points per contest.
The Jaguars and Titans By the numbers, 1:
Mike Tirico surely just misspoke when he said #Titans–#Jaguars is Sunday.
Earlier NBC said schedule is still TBD and game has always been TBD Sat/Sun. https://t.co/xlFs1dnSi0 pic.twitter.com/xAoP2qJ9TL
— Paul Kuharsky (@PaulKuharskyNFL) January 2, 2023
The magic number for this meeting is the number (1). One win for either team clinches a spot in the playoffs.
The rest of the season for the Titans up to this point is meaningless. Neither the torrid start nor the 6-game losing streak matter now. The season all comes down to this one game.
Meanwhile, the Jaguars could end up with a wildcard spot depending on how Sunday’s slate of games goes.
If the Titans win on Saturday, the Duval faithful will be rooting for the Jets to beat the Dolphins, the Bills to beat the Patriots and the Browns to beat the Steelers. If these outcomes happen, the Jaguars will take the seventh seed in the AFC playoffs by the skin of their teeth.
However, it is a win and in scenario for the AFC South title and the fourth seed in the playoffs for both teams. Will the 12th meeting between the Jaguars and Titans provide a 10th win (and third consecutive division crown to Tennessee), or will the Jaguars net their third win over the Titans since 2017 and officially turn over a new leaf in the Trevor Lawrence era?
Only time will tell when the Jaguars and Titans face off for the second time this season.
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