NFL Thursday Night Odds: Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars

Blake Bortles and the Jags are still improving and is a 3-point favorite over Marcus Mariota and the Titans.
Blake Bortles and the Jags are still improving and is a 3-point favorite over Marcus Mariota and the Titans.

Tennessee at Jacksonville
Time: 7:25 CT
Spread: JAX -3
Total: 42

Betting odds c/o Pincle

Mike Mularkey will coach the Tennessee Titans against the Jacksonville Jaguars who he coached for a full season before being let go. He is 1-1 as coach of the Titans and the Jaguars are 3-point favorites in the affair with an over/under of 42.

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Mularkey became the head coach after Ken Whisenhunt was fired on Nov. 3. The Titans won 34-28 over the New Orleans Saints his first game. Tennessee lost 27-10 to Carolina on Saturday, but the Panthers are still one of three undefeated teams in the NFL and it scored the only 10 points of the fourth quarter for the comeback win.

Mularkey is still aiming to see if he can retain the job and become a full-time coach of the Titans, and team president Steve Underwood commented, “We’ll get an opportunity to see him perform as a head coach, but we’ll cast a wide loop looking for candidates…he understands that, but it’s a great chance for him to have an audition.”

The comments seem to be slightly suggestive that this team is going to go after a higher profile coach, someone who may be able to maximize the immense gifts of QB Marcus Mariota.

The Titans only won two games in 2014-15, so this season is still likely to be an improvement having won two games finally after having ridden with a horrible QB in the pocket in Zach Mettenberger. Mariota has completed 65.6 percent of his passes for 1,795 yards and a 237 yard per game average. He has 13 TD passes and six INTs while having incurred 20 sacks. His passer rating is 98.3.

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The Titans use a combo of Antonio Andrews and Dexter McCluster in the backfield, with Bishop Sankey functioning as a third back and receiver. McCluster leads the backfield in receptions with 25 for 181 yards in addition to his 235 rushing yards on 49 attempts (4.8 yards per). Andrews leads the team in yardage with 298, but he is managing just 3.5 yards per carry. Sankey has rushed for 166 yards and has 73 receiving yards.

Delanie Walker is the No. 1 WR. The 6’0” TE is in his sixth season out of Central Missouri and has 508 receiving yards on 45 receptions. He is tied for the team lead in receiving TDs (3) while having averaged 11.3 yards per catch. Kendall Wright has been ruled out for Thursdays games due to a knee issue. He is the No. 2 WR and the No. 3 option is also on the injured list, as Justin Hunter is battling an ankle injury.

Anthony Fasano adds depth at TE, but except McCluster to function more heavily as a receiver with so many top wideouts out with injuries. Ideally Sankey could be targeted a few more times this game, given he has caught 8 of 14 targeted passes.

The Jaguars are coming off a 22-20 win over the Baltimore Ravens. Blake Bortles threw 22 of 45 for 188 yards with two TDs and one INT. He incurred three sacks for a loss of 20 yards and had a raw QB rating of just 36.3. Bortles rushed for an additional 25 yards and TJ Yeldon (probable, foot injury) had 61 yards on 18 rushes. The Jags had 22 completed passes with Allen Hurns (probable, abdominal) and Allen Robinson each catching five a piece for 62 and 51 yards, respectively, while each scoring a TD.

Robinson was targeted 11 times, but he was well defended by the Ravens’ secondary.

The Jags are in 3rd place in the AFC South and will face the Titans again in two weeks after a matchup with San Diego. The AFC is still wide open, so Jacksonville has to consider what making the postseason would even mean with a team still so inexperienced and flawed.

It should be able to take care of Tennessee, but the game will be close and NFL oddsmakers agree setting the line just three points in favor of Jacksonville. Bortles still has yet to really live up to his potential, and Mariota has too small a sample size after having battled injury most of this season.

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