Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Tennessee Titans Pick
Jacksonville Jaguars (4-8 SU, 4-6-2 ATS) vs. Tennessee Titans (6-6 SU, 6-6 ATS)
NFL Football Week 14
Date/Time: Thursday December 6th, 2018. 8:20PM (EST)
Where: Nissan Stadium Nashville, T.N.
By Jay Horne, NFL Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: JAX +4.5/TEN -4.5 (5Dimes Sportsbook)
Over/Under Total: 37
Thursday Night Football returns in the NFL this week with an AFC South showdown between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tennessee Titans. Online sportsbooks have the Titans favored between 4 and 4.5 points. If you are looking at the side here be sure to line shop the best sportsbooks. The Titans halted a two game losing skid with a 26-22 victory over the Jets last week to climb back to the .500 mark. Meanwhile, the Jaguars halted a 7 game losing streak with a bewildering 6-0 shutout over the Indianapolis Colts and delivering their best defensive performance of the season. This Thursday the Jaguars will get the opportunity to restore faith in their once dynamic defense and perhaps salvage some hope in the direction of this franchise under Head Coach Doug Marrone.
Over/Under at 37 tied for lowest mark this season
In today’s NFL, we rarely see many games where defenses shine throughout a full 60 minutes of football. Perhaps that is why Jacksonville’s shutout last week against one of the better offenses in the NFL was thoroughly surprising. However, the Jaguars are not exactly exempt from low scoring expectations. There have been only 5 games this season in the NFL that have closed with a over/under below 40, the Jaguars have been involved in 3 of those 5 games. Obviously Jacksonville has become a defensive minded team under Head Coach Doug Marrone which was part of their breakout success in 2017. The defense has not been nearly as dominant this season but they are still a solid group.
This week Jacksonville’s defense gets the opportunity at another upside match-up against a struggling Titans offense. In week 3, these teams combined for 5 field goals in a 9-6 victory for the Titans. While most low scoring games that feature just 15 combined points would be written off as anomaly, both of these offenses have been downright pitiful in recent weeks leading many to wonder if this Thursday’s game may become another snoozefest. As a result, this Thursday’s meeting in Nashville is currently tied with Chicago/Buffalo’s week 9 match-up as the lowest over/under of the season at 37 points. The good news for those hoping for some fireworks is that of the 5 games in the NFL this season that closed under 40 points, all 5 hit the “over.”
Leonard Fournette returns for Thursday Night Football
In the first meeting in week 3, star Jacksonville running back Leonard Fournette was sidelined with an injury that kept him out of the lineup for several weeks. Fournette’s health has been a major concern over his first two years in the league but most recent Fournette was sidelined by a suspension rather than injury woes. In the week 12 loss at Buffalo, Fournette came off the bench in a post-play scuffle that led to punches being thrown with Bills DE Shaq Lawson. Both players were handed suspensions with Lawson getting an additional fine. Oddly enough, the Jaguars were able to win in Fournette’s week 13 absence despite the offense scoring just 6 points in the 6-0 shutout over the Colts.
For Thursday, Fournette will return to the lineup in effort to jumpstart this struggling Jaguars offense. I know I mentioned earlier that the Titans offense had experienced recent woes but perhaps Jacksonville’s struggles have been even greater. The team finally benched long-time starter Blake Bortles for Cody Kessler. The jury is still out on Kessler but his first start last week against Indianapolis was decent. Kessler hit 18 of 24 passing for 150 yards despite throwing any touchdowns or interceptions. Bortles biggest problem was turnovers and inefficiency. Therefore if Kessler can provide efficiency and protect the ball, perhaps the offense can build around Fournette’s return. Regardless of opinion, Fournette is still a highly dangerous back when he suits up.
Thursday Night Football expectations between Jaguars and Titans
If you play fantasy football, hopefully you do not have any players in this game that you are hanging your hat on. Despite the fact the prior 5 over/under listed below 40 all reached the “over”, I feel like this Thursday’s match-up could break the trend. The reason is primarily due to the match-up. The Titans do not have any type of legitimate running threat despite juggling running back responsibilities between Dion Lewis and Derrick Henry. Quarterback Marcus Mariota is having to make things happen by rolling out of the pocket, extending plays, and being very accurate. I think Mariota has done a great job considering the situation but Thursday’s match-up against the Jaguars will be very difficult. The Jaguars disguise coverages as well as anyone and have the talent to match-up in coverage against the Titans receivers. This game has stalled drives and failed opportunities written all over it for Tennessee. On the other side of the ball, I just can’t see Jacksonville going crazy offensively and I am sure they will ride Fournette heavily considering the quarterback situation. Both offenses continue to struggle in this one.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Under 37