Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Tennessee Titans
Date and Time: Sunday, December 31, 2017, 1 p.m. ET
Location: Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN
Opening NFL Odds: Check Back Later
Titans vs. Jaguars TV Coverage: TBD
The Jaguars have been ridiculously maddening this season. This is a team that beat the Ravens by 37 in London and the Steelers by 21 in the 'Burgh, yet it's also a team that was beaten by the Cardinals in Arizona and most notably, the Titans at home by three touchdowns.
It's like you never know what you're really going to get out of this team in spite of the fact that its form has generally been trending in the right direction over the course of the whole season.
Tennessee, a team that is facing 75 to 1 odds to win the Super Bowl heading into Week 15, largely has the same type of resume as Jacksonville. The Titans have a shocking loss to Arizona to their credit in Week 13, and it's starting to feel a lot like last season when they let their chances of winning the AFC South slip away in Week 16 while Houston merely took care of business.
Still, the Titans haven't lost at home since way back in Week 1, and destiny is still in their hands to win this division with three games left to play.
What's at Stake
The good news for both of these teams is that there are multiple roads to get into the playoffs.
Jacksonville may have done enough already to get into the postseason at 9-4. With a tiebreaker in hand over the Ravens and Chargers, it's going to take losses in each of these last three games for the Jags to have any chance of falling out of the playoff picture entirely.
BookMaker.eu released the Jags at -10000 to make the playoffs after Week 14. With games to play against the Texans and 49ers before heading to Nashville for the season-finale, there's virtually no chance they won't have at least the 10 wins required to get an "X" next to their name when you look at the NFL standings.
Jacksonville knows that a win against Houston would put it in a position where the worst it could do in Week 17 was be playing for the AFC South title regardless as to what happens in San Fran in Week 16.
Tennessee was outscored by 21 points through its first 13 games of the season, and though it is standing alone as the No. 5 seed in the conference with three games left to play, that margin could dissipate in a hurry.
The best news for the Titans is that no one really wants to claim these last playoff spots in the AFC. The best the second-best team in the AFC West can do is 9-7, and it feels unlikely that Buffalo could run the table either. That means that nine wins would almost certainly be enough to get into the playoffs, and the Titans should be there by the time this game gets played. If not, the AFC South will be off the radar, and the Titans will merely be hoping to backdoor in as a Wild Card, potentially to setup a meeting between these two teams in Wild Card weekend in Jacksonville.
But the Titans also know that wins in Week 15 at San Francisco and Week 16 at home against the Rams will set them up for an AFC South title game showdown at home. Tennessee can't clinch the division before Week 17, though it can nail down at least a Wild Card before that.
Jaguars vs. Titans Free Picks
Home field advantage generally isn't as crucial in this series as it would be for a lot of the other rivalries across the NFL. The Titans will surely have a great crowd behind them, but they just don't feel quite ready for this moment.
Obviously, our opinions will change if Tennessee is playing for its playoff life and Jacksonville is already locked into the No. 3 seed in the AFC. That said, if we go under the assumption that this game is going to be for the AFC South title, we have a lot more confidence in the Jacksonville defense than in any other unit playing in this game.
NFL ATS Pick: Take the Jump with the Jaguars at BookMaker.euNFL Score Prediction
: Jaguars 22, Titans 10