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Titans, Jags close out Thursday NFL Schedule

by Jeff Allen of Jeff Allen Sports

If you’ve been putting off your holiday shopping with the hectic football betting schedule and need to free up some time, Thursday night provides a perfect opportunity when the Tennessee Titans travel to Jacksonville to take on the Jaguars. Don’t worry about your fantasy football roster – if you drafted anyone from either of these two teams your season is long over.

But seriously, this week’s finale to the mid-week primetime NFL schedule does give the two defenses a time to shine against a pair of offenses who have struggled to find the red zone all season long. Jacksonville is 31st in red zone opportunities per game (2.1) and 32nd in converting those chances once they get there. You know what they say, “Lack of practice makes horrific.”

The Titans rank 28th in red zone opportunities at 2.5 per game and they’ve converted 48.6-percent of their tries into touchdowns but the most recent was four weeks ago against the Eagles. Injuries at the quarterback position are part of the problem. First it was Zach Mettenberger (shoulder) and then Jack Locker, whose start against the New York Jets Sunday was short lived when the fourth-year starter dislocated his shoulder late in the first-half. Both are likely done for the season and that puts Charlie Whitehurst in command of the offense. Whitehurst has five games on record for the Titans and he scored less 17 or less points in four of them. The fifth was in Week 5 when he took over for an injured Jake Locker and blew a 25-point lead to the Browns.

Jaguar starter Blake Bortles could miss this game after injuring his foot against the Ravens. The rookie has taken his lumps all season and might have enjoyed this start against a Titans team whose sack percentage away from home is fifth worst in the league (4.1-percent) but the Jags’ offensive line is horrible. Even Tennessee will find a way to get pressure on Bortles or backup QB Chad Henne.

Home teams off a game where they allowed four or more quarterback sacks are 8-16-1 O/U this year and on a short week with a potential change under center; don’t look for the Jaguars to suddenly light up the scoreboard. Tennessee had given up 27-plus points in four-straight before holding the Jets to 16 but the teams who rolled up all these points against the Titans each possessed a much stronger combination of overall talent than these Jags. Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Houston and the New York Giants have at least some element of better coaching and veteran QB or defenders to take advantage of a weaker opponent. The Jags may try to put on a show for all their ‘fan’ but we would expect the majority of this game to take place between the 20’s. This game opened at O/U 41 and there is pressure on the under. You don’t want to go too far betting a standalone total and risk starting off the week in the red but this is good line and even at 40.5, it’s worth a play.

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