Titans vs Jaguars:
Four years ago, the Titans and Jaguars played on Thursday night in what was famously declared the poop emoji game. The AFC South rivals entered Week 16 with just two wins apiece. The Titans finished the season with the same number of wins.
No game epitomized, in the immortal words of Richard Sherman, the “poopfest” reputation of Thursday Night Football more.
But in 2018, things are different.
Thursday Night Football was once the Suddenly Susan/Veronica’s Closet/Union Square of the NFL week — the drivel NBC would sneak in between Friends and Seinfeld or between Seinfeld and ER during its “Must See TV” heyday, hoping we’d watch out of laziness. This year, the duds on TNF have, thankfully, been few and far between. Even last week’s low-scoring Saints-Cowboys was entertaining in its own chaotic way.
The Titans and Jaguars have come a long way in those four years, too. Both teams not only made the playoffs last season, but they got their first postseason wins since the aughts — one for Tennessee and two for Jacksonville. Then the Patriots, as they so often do to the rest of the AFC, snapped their Thanos-like fingers as both teams’ Super Bowl hopes faded into the ether.
This season hasn’t been as promising for either team. They’re not where they were in 2014 at their scatological worst, but at the same time, this game isn’t going to register on the Rams-Chiefs fun scale. That’s OK. In fact, let’s welcome it, like a trip down memory lane — even if it happens to be nostalgia for laughably bad Thursday Night Football.
Here are seven mostly real reasons the penultimate Thursday game of the season is worth watching.
1. Soooo, are the Jaguars gonna score any touchdowns?
This year is on pace to be the NFL’s highest-scoring season ever. Through the first 13 weeks of the season, teams are averaging 23.9 points per game. If that holds, it’ll be a record. So far, 1,055 touchdowns have been scored around the league.
So how the hell have the Jaguars played TWO all-field goal games, in 2018 of all years?!
I’m not excusing it, but two factors are:
- Their defense is still one of the NFL’s best, ranking in the top five in scoring and total yards allowed.
- Their QB situation is … pretty much the opposite. The Jaguars have only totaled 303 passing yards in their past three games (lol).
Last week, Jacksonville ended its seven-game slide with a 6-0 win over a Colts team that had been rolling. It was Cody Kessler’s first start since taking over for the benched Blake Bortles, and the win improved his record as a starting quarterback to 1-8 — Kessler did, after all, spend the first two years of his career in an even more hopeless place, with Hue Jackson’s Browns. Kessler didn’t have to do much in his first win, passing for just 150 yards. But he also didn’t make throws like this: