Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Tennessee Titans
by Zman of Predictem.com
AFC South Division rivals collide when the Jacksonville Jaguars visit the Tennessee Titans in the 2008 week 1 regular-season opener for both teams Sunday afternoon in Nashville.
Gridiron bookies are listing Jacksonville as three-point road chalk for Sunday’s game, with a total of 37. The Jaguars are also posted at right around -160 on various Vegas moneylines, while Tennessee is getting +150 as home underdogs.
Tennessee won 10 games last year and made the playoffs, losing at San Diego in a wild-card game. And the Titans went 8-8 against the spread last year, and 1-1 as home underdogs. And the totals went 5-10-1 in Tennessee games, which averaged 37 total points.
Jacksonville went 11-5 last year and beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh in the other AFC wild-card game, before falling at New England in a divisional-round match-up. More important to bettors, the Jags went 11-5 ATS last year, and 5-3 SU and 6-2 vs. the numbers on the road. Also, the totals went 11-4-1 in J’Ville games last year, which averaged 45 total points.
For what it’s worth, both Tennessee and Jacksonville won three of their four exhibition games this summer.
Tennessee ranked just 21st in the league in total offense last year at 312 YPG, but 5th in rushing at 132 YPG. On the other side of the ball, the Titans ranked 5th in both total defense at 292 YPG and vs. the run at 92 YPG. Tennessee also ranked 4th in average time-of-possession at +3:44 per game and 12th in total yardage at +20 YPG.
Jacksonville ranked 7th in total offense last season at 357 YPG, and 2nd in rushing at 149 YPG. The Jaguars also ranked 12th in total defense at 314 YPG, and 11th vs. the run at 100 YPG. Add it up, and the Jags ranked 3rd in the league in TOP at +4:14 and 8th in total yardage at +43 YPG.
These two teams split their two meetings last season, each winning on the other’s home field. In the season opener, the Titans won 13-10 as 7-point road underdogs, ou-trushing Jacksonville 282-72 and holding a 37/23 TOP advantage. The game also stayed well under its total of 39.
Later, in week 10, the Jags turned the tables, out-rushing Tennessee 166-62, grabbing a 34/26 TOP advantage, and winning 28-13 as 4 1/2-point road dogs. That game snuck over its total of 36 when Jacksonville scored an insurance touchdown with under five minutes to go in the game.
In 2006, these two teams also split their two meetings, each winning and covering at home. During the ’05 season, J’Ville swept the two games from the Titans. And in ’04, the teams split their games.
Over those last eight meetings in this series, the totals have gone 5-3, as the games have averaged 40 points per.
Bettors will want to keep an eye on the injury list before playing this game. RB Maurice Jones-Drew and WR Jerry Porter are both mentioned on Jacksonville’s casualty list, while QB Vince Young, LB Keith Bullock and K Rob Bironas are all on Tennessee’s list.
Sagarin’s NFL PREDICTOR ratings at USAToday.com ranks the Jags 5th in the league at 24.5, the Titans 13th at 20.5. Sagarin’s current NFL home-field advantage figure is 3.2.
Zman’s Pick: With all the distractions involving this past week’s shooting, Jacksonville may get caught off guard here. We’re going to take Tennesee +3 at home.