Jacksonville won the AFC South and Tennessee earned a wild-card playoff berth out of the division last season.
Now, they get the prime-time spotlight on Thursday even though both are also-rans.
Oh, the Titans (6-6) still are in the playoff chase. But it’s difficult to take serious a team that needs a late rally to beat the Jets.
What’s happened to the Jaguars (4-8) is stunning. One quarter away from winning the AFC in January, they snapped a seven-game slide last Sunday by shutting down Andrew Luck and the Colts 6-0.
The Jags will have running back Leonard Fournette, who was suspended for the Indy game. Tennessee has been vulnerable to the run.
“Getting him back is going to be a huge boost, especially for our team,” safety Tashaun Gipson says. “We’re a physical team and we want to run the ball, get your playmakers the ball, and obviously he’s the best player we have on the offensive side of the ball.”
The Titans’ best offensive player is, well, that’s a tough one. They rank 28th overall in yardage and only four teams have scored fewer than Tennessee’s 221 points.
No. 16 (tie) Tennessee is a 4½-point favorite over No. 26 Jacksonville. This should be a defensive standoff but, no, we can’t go with 6-0.
KNOCKOUT POOL: Seattle did the job with a romp last week, and now we expect something similar from DENVER.
No. 14 Denver (minus 5 1-2) at No. 32 San Francisco
Broncos believing they have playoff shot. Can’t stumble here.
BEST BET: BRONCOS, 27-17
No. 25 Detroit (minus 2) at No. 29 Arizona
Not feeling any good vibes for Lions, especially when favored on road.
UPSET SPECIAL: CARDINALS, 19-16
No. 15 Indianapolis (plus 4 1-2) at No. 5 Houston
Texans can clinch AFC South if Titans lose and they win.
No. 11 Minnesota (plus 2 1-2) at No. 9 Seattle, Monday night
Winner here has straight road to NFC wild-card spot.
No. 27 Cincinnati (plus 14) at No. 6 Los Angeles Chargers
Chargers figure they can win AFC West. Guess what: they still might.
No. 12 Baltimore (plus 6 1-2) at No. 3 Kansas City
Ravens could give Chargers’ hopes a boost. But …
No. 2 New Orleans (minus 8) at No. 20 Tampa Bay
Time to secure NFC South for Saints, and avenge opening defeat.
No. 1 Los Angeles Rams (minus 3) at No. 7 Chicago
Toughest remaining test for Rams, who should handle it.
No. 4 New England (minus 8) at No. 18 Miami
Patriots still eyeing top seed in AFC.
No. 13 Philadelphia (plus 4) at No. 10 Dallas
Cowboys can pretty much waltz away with NFC East with win. Start the music.
No. 8 Pittsburgh (minus 11) at No. 31 Oakland
Oh, for the days of John Madden vs. Chuck Noll.
No. 23 (tie) New York Giants (minus 4) at No. 19 Washington
Oh, for the days of Bill Parcells vs. Joe Gibbs.
No. 16 (tie) Carolina (minus 1 1-2) at No. 22 Cleveland
Panthers have lost their mojo. This loss will shatter playoff chances.
No. 23 (tie) Atlanta (plus 5 1-2) at No. 21 Green Bay
Aaron Rodgers’ first start without Mike McCarthy as coach.
No. 30 New York Jets (plus 3 1-2) at No. 28 Buffalo
Countdown is on for Todd Bowles as next coach fired.
Last Week: Against spread (8-8). Straight up (9-7)
Season Totals: Against spread (95-85-7). Straight up: (127-63-2)
Best Bet: 4-9 against spread, 9-4 straight up
Upset special: 8-5 against spread, 7-5-1 straight up
Source: The Associated Press