It’s almost here, it’s so close I can almost taste it. Kickoff of the 2011 season is less than mere hours away. While Thursday signifies the kickoff, the first full Sunday of football is this Sunday.
Though it will be a solemn Sunday as we all reflect on the 10 years that have passed since the twin towers in New York City were attacked, passion and desire to win will never be higher. In the normally tough AFC South, where quarterbacks are usually a very solid position, this offseason has shaken that notion to its core.
Two teams take the field with two new quarterbacks when the Tennessee titans and Jacksonville Jaguars meet at Ever Bank Field. Both teams have new veteran starters, the Titans have Matt Hasselbeck and the Jaguars go with Luke McCown, and both teams have rookies waiting in the wings to win the starting spot, Jake Locker in Tennessee and Blaine Gabbert in Jacksonville.
The biggest factor in this game other than the play of the quarterbacks is going to be how will Titans RB Chris Johnson do in his first game action, as he held out most of the pre-season asking for a new contract. The Jaguars have a re vamped defense, that they hope will help slow down one of the best backs in the league.
It’s almost Johnson is also learning a new offense as Chris Palmer has taken over as offensive coordinator, and Mitch Munchak is the new Titans head coach. The Jaguars also have a versatile running back of their own in Maurice Jones-Drew, who most believe will be used more heavily now that the team has decided to part ways with quarterback David Garrard and go with Luke McCown to start this season.
These two teams split the season series last year, with the road team winning the two games. With new QBs and a re-vamped defense for Jacksonville, there are plenty of things to watch for in this game, but ultimately I believe that the veteran presence of Matt Hasselbeck will give the edge to the Titans, that and Chris Johnson actually playing in the game will be too much for the Jaguars to overcome, especially with the turmoil that has brought onto the team will Garrards departure only days before the game.
My take on the game is that the Titans win this one by a score of 17-10, as Johnson will ultimately be too much to overcome.