Week 17 always features teams that are simply looking to pick up a victory and head into the offseason on a high note. This game definitely features some of that. The Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars have endured a couple of embarrassing campaigns. I suppose that is expected from the Jaguars, but this isn’t at all what the Titans were planning. Speaking of embarrassing, the Titans last week against the Packers was the epitome of embarrassing. Without much resistance, the Packers steamrolled them for a 55-7 final, with the Titans appearing like they wish they were on a beach, not at Lambeau. Jake Locker was on his back almost every play and the offense, as well as the defense, looked completely lost.
The Jaguars are coming off their own little Super Bowl against the New England Patriots. This was a game they had circled all season long and gave a resilient effort against one of the NFL’s best, but still came up short, 23-16. The Jaguars had glorious chances to win or send this one to overtime; however, Chad Henne made costly mistakes to doom the comeback bid. After taking over the starting job, Henne has done all he can to keep the Jaguars afloat. When you’re depending on Henne to keep a team afloat it can’t be a good sign. I can’t knock Henne much, as many quarterbacks would suffer the same fat e in Jacksonville. Nevertheless, Henne and the injured Blaine Gabbert have been equally bad. Gabbert’s QB rating before going down was 77.4 and Henne currently sits at 72.7. Of course, another downfall this season has been the injury to running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who was placed on the IR earlier. MJD is the only offense this team really had and that evaporated with his injury. Rookie receiver Justin Backmon has come on of late and little known Cecil Shorts was a pleasant surprise in the wide out spot. Shorts will be sitting this one out, however, after suffering his second concussion of the month last week. The offense ranks 31st in the league, averaging only 294.2 yards a game and 15.7 points.
They’ll have a chance to do well against a bad Titans’ defense, but with this offense that could be a tough task. The Titans’ defense once one of the most feared in the NFL during their playoff days has turned into a paper thin group. The departure of cornerback Courtland Finnegan has taken the edge out of their defense. There is no mean streak, no determination, no will to compete this season in the Titans. They are the 25th best defense in the NFL, allowing 174.9 yards a game and a pathetic 30.1 points. The Jaguars are the perfect team for this defense to finish up strong against.
The offense got off to a fast start, making the Titans a solid team to bet the over on, but they have been sputtering to close out the season. They have only eclipsed 20 points once since their week 11 bye week, a 27-23 loss to the Colts. Second year quarterback Jake Locker figured to take big steps in his sophomore season. Needless to say, Locker has fallen flat on his face, compiling only 2024 yards and 10 touchdowns. He has had to battle injuries through this season and a bunch of below average players around him, but a lot of people were expecting a flash of the future in 2012 from Locker. Not only is the Jaguars’ starting running back out, but speedy Chris Johnson will most likely be absent in week 17, as he nurses an injured ankle. Similar to their defense, the Titans rank 25th offensively. The offense will get a minimal test against the 31st best defense in the NFL, allowing just over 27 points per game and 391.1 yards.
Jaguars vs. Titans Spread and Betting Odds:
Jacksonville Jaguars +4 (-110)
@ Tennessee Titans -4 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Jaguars vs. Titans Pick:
This game features two of the most awful teams in the NFL, but there is money to be had with any game. Money doesn’t discriminate and doesn’t know if you won money off of the Super Bowl or a Jaguars/Titans matchup. The Titans are entering this one after a complete humiliation, in a game so bad that the owner actually turned the game off. Players are going to being playing in this game for one reason and one only: to keep their jobs. While the Titans are a complete pile of trash, the Jaguars aren’t even on that level. With the injury to Cecil Shorts, the Jaguars are shorthanded from all angles. No offense, no defense in sight.
The Titans should feed off of the criticism they received this week after a deplorable effort in Green Bay. They aren’t that bad as the game last week showcased, they simply gave up after getting behind. The Jaguars won’t be getting the same push up front as the Packers were getting and that should make Locker look much better this week. The Jaguars busted their load last week against the Patriots, they should not be up at all for this one.
PICK = Titans -4