Our Tennessee Titans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars prediction takes a look at the Week 18 matchup that features a battle for the AFC South title. Let’s dive into the current NFL betting odds, key storylines to watch, and make a prediction for the game. Note that all odds are from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Tuesday, Jan. 3.
Titans vs. Jaguars Odds
Jaguars -275, Titans +230
Titans vs. Jaguars Prediction
It wasn’t that long ago that we were discussing the Titans as a team that could make a lot of noise in the NFL postseason. They were 7-3 and seemed to be a lock to secure the AFC South divisional crown.
Unfortunately, Tennessee’s been hit hard with injuries at several key positions and now find themselves on a six-game losing streak going into a must-win game in Week 18. If the Titans win this game, they will have locked up the AFC South and will host a playoff game. However, if they lose to the Jaguars they will almost certainly find themselves on the outside looking in of the 2022 NFL postseason.
The big storyline for Tennessee going into this game is that Ryan Tannehill has been placed on IR and is highly unlikely to return at any point this season. Last week, rather than go with their explosive rookie playmaker at QB, Malik Willis, the Titans chose to deploy Joshua Dobbs as their starting quarterback, and he’s set to make another start in this crucial matchup.
The key for Tennessee to win this “win and in” game is to rely on Derrick Henry and the run game. The Jaguars are a top-12 defense when it comes to stopping the run this season, but they’ve always struggled to contain Henry.
In their meeting just a few short weeks ago, Henry rushed for over seven yards per attempt and finished with 121 yards on the ground and a score. If the Titans want to have any hope of competing with the best of the best this season, they’ll need to feed No. 22.
As for the Jaguars, it’s absolutely remarkable that they’re in a situation where they can win and they’re in the 2022 NFL postseason. It wasn’t all that long ago — in the grand scheme of things — when Urban Meyer was Jacksonville’s head coach, and he left this team in total disarray.
Doug Pederson has done a masterful job of righting the ship and keeping this Jags team focused on closing out tight football games. Jacksonville now holds an 8-8 record going into this AFC South showdown and have won their past four games.
Trevor Lawrence has been sharp and accurate, and he’s started to live up to the hype that he had coming into the NFL. The offensive playmakers have stepped up around him, and Jacksonville’s defense is doing its part, too, to keep these games close.
The defense will be needed this week as they face the tough test of slowing down Henry and the Titans’ rushing attack. The passing game is unlikely to be lethal with Dobbs as the starting QB, but Jacksonville could lose this game on the back of Henry running for 200+ yards.
If the run defense can show up in a big way this week for the Jaguars, we could see Jacksonville back in the postseason for the first time since 2017, when they made it to the AFC Championship Game.
Titans vs. Jaguars Score Prediction
Jaguars 24, Titans 18