NFL fans have long suspected that Week 18’s Titans vs. Jaguars game might have playoff implications — they just never dreamed those implications would involve the Jags as much as the Titans.
The winner of this game takes the AFC South, and with it an automatic playoff bid and the 4th seed in the postseason. The loser starts their offseason early. Vegas likes Jacksonville by 6.5 in this one, but it’s hard to trust either of these teams.
Both teams enter this one with similar records, both straight-up and against the spread. The Titans are 7-9 (8-6-2 ATS), while the Jags are 8-8 (8-7-1 ATS).
The O/U has been set right at 40 points (-110 at BetOnline); the Titans have hit the under in 11 of their 16 contests this year, while Jacksonville has split evenly between the two totals.
It sounds odd to say it, but Jacksonville is one of the hottest teams in the league right now, and would seem to be the clear favorite in this one. On the other hand…it’s the Jaguars. How comfortable could you be picking this team to play deep into January?
Should you ride the hot hand in this one, or trust the team that’s been there before? Read on to see what our experts think will happen in this one.
Titans vs. Jaguars Betting Odds
Tennessee Titans vs. Jacksonille Jaguars Game Info
- Teams: Tennessee Titans (7-9) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-8)
- Game Date: Saturday, January 7
- Time: 8:15 p.m. EST
- Location: TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville, FL
- Channel: ESPN
- Betting Odds: Click here
Titans vs. Jaguars History
While these two teams occupy the same division, this game has never been much of a rivalry. Tennessee leads the all-time series, 34-22.
The tide might be changing in this one, though. Jacksonville won the last matchup on December 11 handily, a 36-22 victory on the Titans’ home turf. Not only that, but the Jags clearly have the advantage at the most important position in the game.
Trevor Lawrence is finally beginning to deliver on the promise that made him one of the most-hyped QB prospects in recent memory, as he’s put up a 95.4 QB rating on the season to go with 24 passing TDs and just 8 INTs.
The Titans’ long-time starter, Ryan Tannehill, is almost 35 years old, and he’s never proven he can take the team to the promised land anyway. He won’t even be suited up for this one, as he’s on the IR with a bum ankle.
In his place, Tennessee will roll out Joshua Dobbs, a journeyman with just one career start under his belt. Of course, neither Dobbs nor Tannehill would ever be the showcase of this Titans offense — that honor belongs to bell cow back Derrick Henry, who’s had a quiet year by his standards. All he’s done is put up 1,429 yards and 13 TDs so far.
While the past might not have been kind to Jacksonville in this matchup, the future looks much brighter for the Jags than the Titans — it’s only a question of whether that future begins this Saturday or not.
A game like this is easy to predict. Both teams have clear styles that they’re hoping to impose on the other squad, and all that will ultimately matter is which team is more successful in doing so.
Will the Titans run behind Henry to the AFC South title? Or will Jacksonville drop bombs on this wounded team and stake claim to the division for the foreseeable future?
Tennessee Will Win If:
- The Jags Can’t Stop Derrick Henry: It’s no secret what Tennessee wants to do in this one — control both lines of scrimmage, hand the ball to the big fella, and have him grind out a 17-10 victory.
You would think that, with that being common knowledge, that the Jags would be prepared to stop it. However, that’s been common knowledge for 7 seasons, and the NFL still isn’t prepared to stop this man.
In most games, though, Henry has had at least the threat of Ryan Tannehill to keep defenses honest. Will Jacksonville respect Dobbs at all? Will he make them pay if they don’t?
The answer to those questions could determine how Henry’s day goes on Saturday.
- Josh Dobbs Plays Out of His Mind: “Out of his mind” is a relative term here, of course. We wouldn’t expect a 400-yard passing day from Dobbs, but an improvement on his first start might be enough for Tennessee to eke out a victory here.
Last week against the Cowboys, Dobbs was 20-of-39 for 232 yards, with a TD, an INT, and two fumbles. Simply eliminating the turnovers and making a big pass or two might be all the Titans need in this one.
Dobbs has one thing going in his favor: familiarity. He spent six seasons in Jacksonville, and while that was with a different coaching staff, he should be largely familiar with the team he’ll face on Saturday. Will it be enough to win? Only time will tell.
- They Shut Down the Running Game: The Titans have a stout run defense, but when it falters, the whole team suffers. They’re 0-3 on the season when surrendering more than 100 rushing yards.
Luckily for Tennessee, there’s only one Derrick Henry in the league, and he doesn’t play for Jacksonville. Still, Travis Etienne, Jr., is a dangerous all-purpose back, and he can certainly make the Titans pay if they don’t respect him.
If Tennessee can put the clamps on Etienne and force Lawrence to carry the offense himself, they have a real shot. That’s easier said than done, though.
Jacksonville Will Win If:
- They Don’t Make Josh Dobbs Look Like Tom Brady: You would think the fact that Josh Dobbs is starting for Tennessee is all the Jags need to win this one. However, while Dobbs is hardly an elite (or even replacement-level) QB, Jacksonville has lost to bad quarterbacks before.
The team has dropped games to Davis Mills and Matt Ryan this season, and neither of them are going to be starting for anyone next year. They are certainly capable of laying an unexpected — and inexcusable — stinker.
On the plus side, though, the Jags defense has tightened up considerably in the last few weeks, as they’ve only given up a total of 6 points in their last two outings. Granted, those games were against Zach Wilson and Davis Mills — but even those guys are better than Josh Dobbs.
- They Get Out to an Early Lead: Tennessee is 0-3 this season when trailing after the first quarter. That’s not something that’s entirely unexpected, as this is not a team built to play from behind.
The Titans’ game plan will always be to get out to an early lead and grind the clock out behind Derrick Henry. If Jacksonville can go up by a few scores early, that plan will go out the window.
It’s hard to imagine how this Titans team could possibly overcome a multiple-score deficit, so if Jacksonville comes out with a hot hand, they could put this one away early.
- They Win the Turnover Battle: The Jaguars haven’t been great at forcing picks this season, as they only have 6 INTs — second-worst in the league.
Again, though, they’re going against Josh Dobbs. There should definitely be a mistake or two they can take advantage of in this one.
If they can come away with a couple of turnovers (especially if they get points off them), then they should cruise to victory here. If Dobbs and the rest of the Titans play mistake-free football, though, this one could get interesting.
Week 18 Titans vs. Jaguars Betting Guide
This is the last week of the NFL regular season, so you might as well take advantage of it — after all, it’s a long time until we get more football betting.
Here are some of our favorite bets that we found, courtesy of BetOnline:
This one almost seems too easy. These are two teams headed in opposite directions: Jacksonville has won 5 of their last 6, while the Titans are on a six-game skid. And now Tennessee has to start a QB that was on the practice squad a few weeks ago.
It’s hard to see how Jacksonville doesn’t win this one comfortably. They’re healthier, they have momentum, and frankly, they’re the better team.
We know, we know — it’s still Jacksonville. The thinking here is that they finally get the monkey off their back and secure their first playoff bid since 2017.
As we mentioned previously, the Titans have hit the under in 11 of 16 games this season — and now they’re a MASH unit. While we could see Jacksonville lighting up the scoreboard in this one, it’s hard to imagine Tennessee carrying their share of the scoring burden at all.
We know we’re ragging on the Titans a lot here, but it’s just hard to imagine where their scoring will come from in this one. Unless they get a defensive or special teams TD, we can’t see them finding paydirt twice here.
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The Best Places to Bet on Titans vs. Jaguars
A simple Google search will reveal that there are tons of places to bet on this game — but we wouldn’t trust all of them. Our advice is to stick with big, established sportsbooks like BetOnline or Bovada.
These sites have long histories of treating players right. Smaller sites might be trustworthy — but they might not be, too.
Large sportsbooks like BetOnline can also give you:
- Great lines: established sportsbooks can give you better prices than their smaller competitors, and that means you’ll have a larger margin for victory. Over time, that can make quite the difference in your win rate.
- Tons of action: the NFL season might be coming to a close, but there’s always something to bet on at big sportsbooks. NBA season is in full swing, baseball is just around the corner, and there’s a whole lot of other action waiting for you as well like MMA betting.
- Rewards for betting: you’ll find all sorts of incentives to make bets at established sportsbooks, from generous deposit bonuses (like the one mentioned above) to season-long contests. Why bet for free when you can get rewarded for it?
Why Bet on the Titans vs. Jaguars Game?
If you’ve already been betting on the NFL, then this is one of your last chances to do it this season. If you haven’t, well…this is one of your last chances to do it this season.
Beyond that, there’s also the facts that:
- These two teams are well-established at this point: we have a pretty good idea of what to expect from the Titans and Jaguars in this one. If you’ve been paying attention this season, you may just find value in a few bets here that less-attentive fans would miss.
- There will be a lot of eyeballs on this one: this game is one of only two Saturday games, and it’s in prime time. It’s also one of the few matchups this weekend with any real intrigue, so there will be a lot of action on it.
- You can get ready for the playoffs: the playoffs begin next weekend, and getting a few bets in now will have you prepared for when the real action starts.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Titans vs. Jaguars Game
What’s at Stake in the Titans-Jaguars Game?
There’s a lot at stake in this game — most notably, the AFC South Championship and a playoff spot. Winner gets both of those things, while the loser likely sees their season end with the final whistle.
Can Titans and Jaguars Still Make the Playoffs If They Lose?
The Titans definitely can’t make the playoffs if they lose; the Jaguars theoretically could, but they’d need a lot of help. If the Titans win, Jacksonville could still sneak in as a wild card team if the Patriots, Dolphins, and Steelers all lose.
Which Team is Favored to Win between Titans vs Jaguars?
Jacksonville is favored by 6.5 points at press time. They’re on a hot streak, while Tennessee has lost their last six.
Where Will the Jaguars-Titans Game Be Played?
The game will be played at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville. The Jaguars don’t have the strongest home-field advantage in the league, but every little bit helps in a game like this.
What Happened the First Time Jaguars and Titans Played This Season?
These teams have already played once this season, with the Jaguars winning 36-22 on December 11. Titans starting QB Ryan Tannehill was healthy and active for that game, and yet the Jags were still better by two TDs — on the road.
Previously in NFL (Week 17):
- Bears vs Lions betting odds
- Bengals vs Bills
- Steelers vs Ravens betting lines
- Packers vs Vikings odds
- Chiefs vs Broncos betting odds
- Saints vs Eagles predictions
It’s been a long time since a Titans-Jaguars matchup has meant anything in the big scheme of things, but Week 18’s game will have plenty riding on it.
While both teams will likely be eliminated from playoff contention with a loss, these two franchises seem to be going in different directions, and the outcome of this matchup may well accelerate that.
If the Jags win, it will set them up as a Super Bowl dark horse — both this season and in the seasons to come. The Titans are likely seeing the sun set on their current roster, but a win here could keep the dream alive for at least another week.
Who do you think will win? We’d take the Jags and lay the points — but in a game like this, anything could happen.
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