Jaguars could enter AFC South race with win over Titans

Jaguars could enter AFC South race with win over Titans
Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) throws a pass during Indianapolis' 19-17 win over the Titans on Sunday, September 15, 2019, at Nissan Stadium. (Austin Anthony/Daily News via AP)

The AFC South is shaping up as quite a division race. Should the Jaguars win at home Thursday night against the Titans, it would tighten up things early in the season.

But Tennessee, ranked 18th in the AP Pro32, is a 1½-point favorite over Jacksonville.

The Colts, even without Andrew Luck, and the Texans, even though J.J. Watt has not stamped his domination on a game yet, both are 1-1 with indications they’ll get stronger as the schedule progresses. Tennessee also is 1-1, and would be a threat in the division if it shows it can consistently win road games.

Though Jacksonville has not been any particular problem as an opponent: The Titans have won four straight and six of seven in the series. Tennessee needs one more victory to match its longest win streak in series history.

“I love playing when the lights are on, and I look forward to these challenges,” quarterback Marcus Mariota says. “I look forward to these division games. And our guys I think will be ready to go. It’s going to be a challenge, but we’re looking forward to it.”

It’s hard to pinpoint what the Jaguars (0-2) can be optimistic about. The defense needs to be its calling card with QB Nick Foles injured, and it stepped up a bit in last week’s loss to Houston. The uproar over standout cornerback Jalen Ramsey seeking a trade has drawn the headlines for Jacksonville, along with his sideline confrontation with coach Doug Marrone on Sunday.

Too many negative vibes for the Jags.

TITANS, 20-17

KNOCKOUT POOL: Wasn’t quite fair to pick Patriots over Dolphins. This week isn’t fair either, as we take DALLAS.

No. 15 Houston (plus 3) at No. 13 Los Angeles Chargers

Texans have a look we like, and Watt is bound to take charge soon.

UPSET SPECIAL: Texans, 27-26

No. 30 New York Jets (plus 22 1-2) at No. 1 New England

Have to feel for the Jets, but the Patriots won’t and will pile it on.

BEST BET: Patriots 40-10

No. 32 Miami (plus 21) at No. 4 Dallas

Have to feel for the Dolphins, but Cowboys won’t and will pile it on.

No. 25 at Denver (plus 7 1-2) at No. 7 Green Bay

Broncos were 1 second from fulfilling our UPSET SPECIAL vs. Chicago. Not going there this time.

PACKERS, 23-17

No. 20 Detroit (plus 6 1-2) at No. 8 Philadelphia

Eagles are banged-up group and Lions showed a lot against Chargers. Still …

EAGLES, 26-23

No. 5 Baltimore (plus 6 1-2) at No. 2 Kansas City

Lamar Jackson vs. Patrick Holmes. Such a juicy matchup won by …

CHIEFS, 28-20

No. 10 New Orleans (plus 3) at No. 6 Seattle

What a juicy matchup this would have been with Drew Brees healthy.

SEAHAWKS, 21-16

No. 17 Atlanta (plus 1 1-2) at No. 16 Indianapolis

Despite being Luckless, Colts are looking pretty good.

COLTS, 30-26

No. 21 Oakland (plus 8) at No. 9 Minnesota

Vikings could use a big rebound game. So could Raiders.

VIKINGS, 28-25

No. 31 New York Giants (plus 6 1-2) at No. 23 Tampa Bay

Don’t trust the Bucs much, but Giants are going with rookie QB Daniel Jones.

BUCCANEERS, 26-13

No. 24 Carolina (minus 4½) at No. 28 Arizona

Not many teams that Panthers would be favored over right now.

CARDINALS, 20-16

No. 29 Cincinnati (plus 6) at No. 11 Buffalo

Hard to believe Bills could be 3-0. No, we don’t see them as threat to Patriots. Anyway …

BILLS, 24-19

No. 22 Pittsburgh (plus 6 1-2) at No. 12 San Francisco

Hard to believe 49ers could be 3-0. Don’t see them as threat to Rams or Seahawks. Anyway …

49ERS, 19-16

No. 3 Los Angeles Rams (minus 3) at No. 19 Cleveland

Another prime-time spotlight for the Browns. Aaron Donald might spoil their night.

RAMS, 30-20

No. 14 Chicago (minus 3 1-2) at No. 26 Washington, Monday night

Still annoyed at how Bears won last week. But can’t pick Redskins.

BEARS, 22-14

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2019 RECORD:

Last Week: Against spread (7-9). Straight up (9-7)

Season Totals: Against spread (18-13-1). Straight up: (20-11-1)

Best Bet: 2-0 against spread, 2-0 straight up

Upset special: 1-1 against spread, 1-1 straight up

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