NFL Week 18: Titans vs. Jaguars, Vrabel’s Underdog Mastery


Jan 5, 2024

As the NFL heads into Week 18, a noteworthy clash is on the horizon, with Mike Vrabel and his Tennessee Titans set to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars. Despite what appears to be a lackluster matchup for the Titans, Vrabel’s record in these games is anything but ordinary.

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Vrabel, known for thriving under pressure, boasts an impressive 13-5 record against the spread (ATS) when the Titans are underdogs. More remarkable is his ability to lead the team to outright wins in 12 of those 18 games. This statistic alone underscores the Titans’ propensity to rise to the occasion, especially in scenarios deemed less significant by outsiders.

The figures are equally striking when examining the Titans’ performance at home with a losing record under Vrabel. In 14 such games, they’ve only lost once by more than three points – a game where they were positioned as a 13-point underdog. Their record stands at 10-4 straight up and ATS in these matchups, a testament to their resilience and competitive spirit.

However, concerns loom over the Titans’ secondary, particularly with the limited passing attack and the health status of the Jaguars’ quarterback, Trevor Lawrence. The absence of Jeffery Simmons poses a question of whether the Titans can contain the ground game effectively. Despite a slight dip in their run defense since Simmons’ injury, the team maintains a league-average performance in this area.

The Jaguars, led by running back Travis Etienne, showed potential in their rushing attack against the Carolina Panthers, but consistency was lacking. Despite a breakout 62-yard run, the Jaguars averaged only 2.6 yards per carry across their other runs. This statistic dwindles further to just 2.3 yards per carry in the first half of the game. Historically, their performance against the Titans hasn’t been much better, with an average of only 3.7 yards per carry in their last encounter.

Given these insights, the Jaguars’ success against the Titans may hinge on their aerial strategy. Under Vrabel’s leadership, the Titans are known for their preparedness and tenacity, making this matchup more than just a game of statistics and records. It’s a testament to Vrabel’s coaching acumen and his team’s unyielding spirit.

As the Titans and Jaguars gear up for their Week 18 showdown, all eyes will be on whether Vrabel can continue his remarkable run when the odds are seemingly stacked against him. With both teams bringing unique strengths and weaknesses to the field, this game is poised to be a gripping display of strategic football.

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Thumbnail photo via Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

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