Two Titans players to keep an eye on during the Jaguars’ Week 11 matchup.
The Jacksonville Jaguars take on the Houston Texans this Sunday at 1:00 p.m. ET, and while the team still sets at 6-3 and atop the AFC South, their performance last Sunday was not one to remember. A great sign of a good team is their ability to respond to adversity, and the Jaguars will need to focus to right the ship and get ready for a better start to the second half of the season.
If you read my last article about the players to watch in last week’s game, you will see that these players had a day in Jacksonville and helped the 49ers beat the Jaguars pretty soundly. George Kittle led the team in receiving yards with 116 while Fred Warner solidified the defense with 4 tackles and an interception.
The goal in this article is to highlight Texans players who will make an impact on the game. If the Jaguars are unable to stop these players, it will be a long day in Jacksonville, and there will be lots of doubt and concern for this Jaguars team.
First, the defensive side of the ball, an asset that Titans coach Mike Vabrel absolutely loves. This defense will always play extremely tough and physical. Leading that unit is defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons. At 6’ 4” and 305 pounds, Simmons is an absolute monster on that front and can really get to opposing quarterbacks. After the Jaguars’ offensive line performance against the 49ers, they better get ready for this freight train of a human being. With 4.5 sacks and a forced fumble on the year, Simmons is on pace to have double-digit sacks in one big game, which will be a real test for this offensive line.
Because this is a division game, these teams are very familiar with each other, and some players play much better against certain teams for whatever reason. In the 7 games Simmons has played against the Jaguars, he has 10 solo tackles, 6 assists, and a surprising 0 in the sacks column. While Simmons has yet to get a sack against the Jaguars in his career, this is not the Sunday to start, and this offensive line better be ready for him.
Now for the offensive side of the ball and a name that haunts Jagaurs fans young and old. I’m talking about the absolute beast of a running back in Derrick Henry. If you look at Henry, you would think he is a linebacker or a defensive end, but instead he carries the football on the offensive side of the ball and does it very well. Vrabel has built this offense around Henry for many years now and has made him an excellent argument for one of the best running backs in the last decade.
Henry is quietly having one of the best seasons of a running back this year, with an impressive 148 rushes totaling 625 yards and 4 touchdowns. In fact, PFF has him rated as the best backer in the AFC and only behind Chrisitan McCaffery in all of football.
As I mentioned with Jeffery Simmons, the scary thing about facing a division rival is the familiarity these two teams have with each other. Henry’s 99-yard touchdown run when stiff-armed pretty much Jacksonville’s entire defense still haunts me to this day. In 13 games against the Jaguars, Henry has 260 carries for 1,373 yards (5.4 yards per attempt) and a whopping 16 touchdowns. Unfortunately, this success has come recently too, when he rushed for 109 yards on 30 attempts against the Jaguars in that thrilling last regular season game of the 2022-23 season. Travon Walker has proved his ability to stop the run in recent games and will have to continue to do that against Henry, or it’s going to be a long Sunday for Jaguar fans.
This Titans team has definitely not been a great team this season and has traded away most of their star players to the Eagles. Even though they are not the same team that won the AFC South in 2020 and 2021, the team is still good, and the quality always plays a factor in these divisional games. If the Jaguars want to bounce back and get back into the winning column, they will have to stop Henry and Simmons, or there will be lots of question marks surrounding this team come Monday.
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Title: Jaguars vs. Titans: Opposing players to watch in Week 11