Well, this is easily one of the most intriguing matchups of an exciting week 1, including two teams that didn’t make the playoffs.
The Tennessee Titans (0-0) will travel to Jacksonville to face the Jaguars (0-0) a 1 pm on Sunday.
After a tumultuous offseason, the Titans have Chris Johnson in the backfield with a shiny new contract and a new quarterback.
Matt Hasselbeck will take the field for the first time in an official game for the Titans. Hasselbeck, who was added in the offseason after the early retirement of Kerry Collins and the release of Vince Young.
The Titans hope that Hasselbeck will allow them to open up the field and keep defenses from stuffing the box with extra linebackers. Expect a heavy dose of Johnson as the Titans will look to establish the run early against the Jacksonville D.
Jacksonville managed to stay under the radar this preseason up until just about a week ago. David Garrard, who has started for over five years for the Jaguars will now be replaced by Luke McCown in week one.
Head Coach Jack Del Rio stated that it was the inconsistencies by Garrard that eventually led to his release.
Now.. on to the predictions
Breakout Player : Damian Williams
Entering his second year in the NFL, this former USC Trojan has all the tools to be a great NFL receiver. His 6-1 frame allows him to go after any ball along with his great speed and hands will make for a great target in multiple receiver sets. Look for Hasselbeck to stretch the field a little and look for Williams.
Matchup to Watch : Titans D-Line vs. Maurice Jones-Drew
With a new quarterback under center, there is no denying that Jacksonville will look to get Jones-Drew the ball early and often. I’ll be watching to see if Dave Ball and others will be able to shut Jones-Drew down and force McCown to thrown towards Cortland Finnegan.
Prediction : Titans 17 – Jaguars 14
This could be a turnover plauged game as two solid, hard hitting defenses matchup against quarterbacks making their first starts for new teams. I think the defensive front of the Titans will bring pressure all day and frustrate McCown, who will force throws into the Titans secondary. Hasselbeck should have a short field to work with for most of the day, allowing C.J. to get his legs moving into the endzone…