Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) looks to pass during the first quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 12, 2023 at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla. The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 34-3. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union]

Jaguars Look to Bounce Back Against Titans

After getting humiliated at home in Week 10 against the San Francisco 49ers 34-3, the Jacksonville Jaguars will face off against the Tennessee Titans. The Titans come into Sunday with two straight losses, and they may be falling out of the AFC South division race with a record of 3-6.

Sunday’s game will give us the first Lawrence-Levis matchup, and Titans running back Derrick Henry returns to his hometown team.

Quarterbacks of the Future

Former Titans starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill requested to be released earlier this week, so it appears the Titans will be rocking with rookie Will Levis for the remainder of the season. Sunday, Levis threw for 199 yards against a struggling Tampa Bay Buccaneers pass defense, which ranks second-to-last in the NFL. Levis has not been asked to do much in the offense, but if the Titans view Levis as their future franchise quarterback, Levis will need to show some signs of stardom Sunday.

The same sentiment goes for Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Multiple analysts had Lawernce taking a step forward coming into the season. Though, he has struggled to take that stride. Lawrence ranks 16th in yards per game and 22nd in passing touchdowns. While the Titans pass defense is no slouch, it is not stellar either. The Titans traded Pro Bowl safety Kevin Byard in October, making way for a younger secondary. Tennessee is 17th in passing yards per game but rank 12th in the league in sack percentage. The Titans sack the quarterback on 7.74% of drop backs, a notable number that will likely rise given the struggling Jaguars offensive line.

Return of the King

Former Yulee High School star Derrick Henry grew up 26 minutes away from Jacksonville. In his eight-year career, Henry has dominated the Jaguars. In 13 games, Henry has amounted to 1,373 yards and 16 touchdowns on 5.3 yards per carry. Additionally, Henry has rushed for over 100 yards in six of his last eight games.

However, in 2023, Henry is tied for last in his career in terms of YPC, but he has been the vocal point of the offense. Henry is fifth in the league in carries and is second in yards. The load is still high for the 29-year-old running back who may be on the tail end of his career. Jacksonville ranks fifth in the league in terms of rushing yards allowed per game. The Jaguars run defense has allowed just two running backs to rush over 75 yards against them, this season. Henry has been held under or at 75 yards in four of his nine games this year but hasn’t been under this feat against Jacksonville since 2020.

Jaguars Struggle to Stop the Pass

While the Jaguars rank in the top five in run defense, they are 30th in passing yards allowed. They have let quarterbacks pass for over 280 yards in six of their nine games. Sunday’s game will be an excellent indicator on where both the Jags defense and Titans offense sit entering the final stretch of the season.

If Levis does succeed against the Jags, the future in Tennessee will be brighter than what many imagined coming into the season.

Kickoff for Sunday’s game is at 1 p.m.

About Nick VanZandt

Nick VanZandt is a senior journalism student at the University of Florida and this is his third semester working for WRUF.

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