• Alex Fleming

Jaguars Play Host to A Mad Titan

On a foggy day in Northeast Florida, a subdue mood surrounds TIAA Bank. A fight is coming. A fight has arrived. A fight is anticipated. The energy that we receive from others is construed by the body, shaped, processed and then reverted back to others. If, per se someone has been deeply loved and cared for, they will reflect back that positivity, or hold it in. The same as the abused; fear, anger and animosity would be visible from the victim. In the NFL, after one's been embarrassed and abused, you can't wait till next week to return the favor. The Tennesse Titans were embarrassed last week inside of their own home by the Cleveland Browns. Baker Mayfield had arguably his best day as a pro against them; throwing for 334 yards and connecting on 4 touchdowns to 3 different receivers (and 1 Lineman). Then again, his motivation came from animosity. Past scars of week 1 of 2019 emboldened Baker to have a good game. Nick Chubb outshined Derrick Henry, which isn't easy to do, and the Titans could only save face after the half, making the thrashing they endured a bit more respectable. Now, Tennessee is looking to bounce back against a divisional foe, while making a statement. The Titans have been unusually quiet this week, which doesn't spell good fortune for the Jacksonville Jaguars and their secondary. Derrick Henry has been a thorn in the side of the Jaguars defense. The Yulee Florida phenom is more than comfortable in Jacksonville; and his stats against the Jaguars recently shows it. Starting on December 6th, 2018, Henry rallied up 238 yards and 4 touchdowns against the Jaguars on only 17 carries. In week 2 of 2019, the Jaguars bottled up Henry, holding him to only 44 yards on 17 carries (2.6) and only 1 touchdown on September 19th, 2019. However, for Thanksgiving, Henry feasted on the Jaguars. Henry was in full beast mode, rushing for 159 yards and averaging 8.4 yards a carry; hitting pay-dirt twice. That game catapulted him to a string of big rushing performances, which led to a rushing title. It's the reoccurrence of these performances, which entitles him with the moniker of "King Henry"; a crown he has earned, and currently leads in today's NFL. Derrick Henry currently has 1,317 yards rushing, with 4 games left.... But now, another dimension to the Titan offense has emerged- the passing game. Ryan Tannehill has been a deity-sent relief since Marcus Mariota, supplying consistency and efficiency to the Titans offense. 108 inches away from 3,000 on the season, Tannehill has a better than 5 to 1 ratio on touchdowns to interceptions (26:5). With a 106.5 quarterback rating, Mike Vrabel can trust the decision making of his quarterback, and take chances down the field. Tannehill has quietly reached the conversation as an upper-echelon quarterback in the league (bottom of the top 10). The AFC South is never a runaway however; with the Colts breathing down the Titans neck, it would be a shame if the Jaguars were to enrage them with providing consecutive losses. How can the Jaguars pull off such a feat? Well with the running game of course. James Robinson is no longer a secret. The Illinois State product is 32 yards away from a 1000 yard season; not bad for an undrafted player coming out of college. Robinson is the heartbeat of this team, allotting for 79.4% (212 of 267) of the Jaguars rushing carries. He could become the fourth undrafted rookie in NFL history to total at least 1,000 yards rushing in a single season, and the third rookie to do so in Jacksonville's franchise history. Can you name the other 2? The ground is ripe for raw running, and game recognizes game on this Sunday; even Derrick Henry acknowledges Robinson's potential: "He's a good player, been doing a great job for them, plays hard, creates success by the way he runs the ball and how he plays, and how they're doing as an offense... Credit to him and what he's doing and all his efforts." Let's not forget about AJ Brown or Corey Davis being matched up against this young yet crafty Jaguars secondary. Remember, no C.J. Henderson or Chris Claybrooks for the Jaguars. However, Kenny Vaccaro and Adoree Jackson are inactive today, so there will be holes in the Titan secondary to exploit. The key to the game today will no doubt be the running games of both teams. Duval faithful have no doubt that the Jaguar's offensive line will have James Robinson's 6 at 12 pm central. We all win and lose as a team, so maybe we will see what the Jaguars can do against stiff competition inside of TIAA. Not an invasion of sorts, because Tennessee is a neighbor. Masked up, and leading by example, fans and frenemies will watch a heavyweight bout in the sunlight; as the Jaguars attempt to stop a mad Titan.

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