Week 2 Picks: Jaguars vs. Titans
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) vs. Tennessee Titans (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS)
Week 2 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, September 20, 2020 at 1PM EDT
Where: Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee
Point Spread: JAC +9/TEN -9 (BetNow - This week only! 100% Bonus up to $500!)
Over/Under Total: 42.5
The Jacksonville Jaguars come to Nissan Stadium on Sunday for a week two AFC South showdown with the Tennessee Titans. The Jags will be looking for their second upset of the season already in their own division, coming off a 27-20 win over the Colts on Sunday, as nearly double-digit underdogs. With a big fourth quarter, the Jags served notice that those already relegating them to the scrap heap may have been premature in their prognostications. They now face another AFC contender in the Titans, who were able to get their season off to a good start on MNF with a hard-fought 16-14 win over the Broncos in Mile High. Who can get to 2-0 this weekend and cover the spread?
Looking at the Jaguars Differently
The general word on the Jags this preseason was that they were going to be terrible. A stripped-bare roster and a lack of star-power had them looking like a bottom-end team. And a week one win over Indy doesn’t mean those predictions won’t end up being correct, but let’s take a different look. Gardner Minshew didn’t light it up aerially, but his 19-for-20 passing performance with three TDs was pretty darn good. He has some new pieces like Laviska Shenault, Jr., who caught a TD, and with DJ Chark, Keelan Cole, and guys like Tyler Eifert, this offense could surprise. Though he is an undrafted rookie free agent, James Robinson showed his teeth at running back, even making a long pass play in his NFL debut. What they lack in players with name-recognition, they could make up for with sound game-planning and a cast where the roles are spelled out. It didn’t look anything like the slapstick-show some were expecting.
Granted, the Jaguars’ O-line didn’t look that great against Indy’s front, and that equation could get worse this week. The defensive front also didn’t make much of an impact, and this type of dodgy play along the line of scrimmage is going to cost them at some point this season. The defense, after all, has seen just about every worthwhile contributor from the team that made a run a few years ago leave the team. They were still able to curb a strong Indy run game. And while Rivers did pick them apart at times for 363 yards, two interceptions were key to the win and shows that even with all the new faces, they still have a nice playmaking component.
What Last Season Tells Us
Maybe not so much. The Jags were really down, and the Titans, a team that went through a few different incarnations throughout the season, going from readily-exploitable to a team that was hard to stop late in the season. Case in point were last year’s two games between these two teams, with the Jags pounding Tennessee in week two, 20-7, before falling to a more-together Titans team in week 12, 42-20. That was when Derrick Henry put it into overdrive, as the Jags could not keep up. Does the timing of this game favor those picking the Jags? After all, Derrick Henry was a huge part of the Tennessee success last season. And with Henry more of a late-surging back, maybe an early-season spot is better for Jacksonville in this matchup.
First Impressions on Tennessee
Things did not go their way on MNF, and they still managed to get out of a tough place to play with a win over a team that is supposed to be climbing in Denver. The Titans didn’t get much going in the run game early, as Henry was stood up more often than not, before surging late. Still, Ryan Tannehill and Company kept at it, with a big final drive that led to the game-winning FG. And after missing four kicks, that was hardly a “gimme.” That kicking situation will need to be ironed out, as it nearly cost them the game on MNF.
Offensively, there were issues early and Henry never really got going until late. His 116 yards in a game where he was struggling shows what he can do even when the conditions are unfavorable. Corey Davis looks to have started filling his potential and was big on Monday, with Adam Humphries chipping in with some key grabs. And in the red zone, Tannehill has big bodies to hit, with tight ends Jonnu Smith and MyCole Pruitt each hauling in scoring grabs.
On defense, the Titans did well to hold the Broncos to 14 points. The Broncos did a fairly good job of undermining themselves, though the playmaking Tennessee defense was a big part of that equation. A playmaking secondary, led by Kevin Byard, Malcolm Butler, Kenny Vaccaro, and others, made a lot of plays. The pass-rush wasn’t really firing on all cylinders, a situation that should improve as newly-acquired Jadaveon Clowney comes around to speed.
While Denver had some success in keeping Henry in check during stretches on MNF, can we be so sure that the Jacksonville front will be able to be as rigid? And while there aren’t any stars around Henry, there is a rising cast of receivers, giving Tannehill a lot of options. Jacksonville got the big win against Indy, but also emerged from that a little banged up in their secondary, with three guys listed as questionable. And when Tannehill gets rolling, and Henry is ripping off chunks of yardage, he can sit back and pick apart defenses. What may have worked last week against a mistake-prone Indy offense might not resonate so well this week in this divisional spot.
Take the Points
I think Tennessee should win the game, but week one should at least raise your antennas that Jacksonville might not be the sure-win people thought heading into the season. Tennessee could certainly cover this big number, but I’m not sure they really have the offense flowing well enough now to put that much distance between themselves and their opponents, especially in a divisional context with a team they split two games with in ’19 that looks to be better than advertised. I’ll take the points in this one.
Loot’s Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Jacksonville Jaguars plus 9 points. Did you know that you can bet on football/basketball/baseball games at reduced odds? Stop laying -110, start laying only -105 TODAY at BetAnySports! You’ll be so glad you made the switch!
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