Quarterback situations are iffy for Tennessee and Jacksonville as the AFC South doormats prepare to meet in Florida on Thursday in a game that could help determine who gets the No. 1 draft choice. The Titans, losers of eight straight, will stick with third-stringer Charlie Whitehurst after he finished the team’s 16-11 loss to the New York Jets on Sunday. Rookie Zach Mettenberger (shoulder) remains sidelined while Jake Locker is on injured reserve after hurting his shoulder in the Jets game.
The Jaguars are also preparing for a possible change at quarterback as rookie starter Blake Bortles is questionable with a sprained foot. Chad Henne, who started the first two games of the season, would get the nod if Bortles cannot go. Bortles threw for a career-high 336 yards while Whitehurst had 233 in Tennessee’s 16-14 win in the first meeting Oct. 12. The Titans have not won since and enter Week 16 with the second-best chance to draft first overall, one spot ahead of Jacksonville.
TV: 8:25 p.m. ET, NFL Network.
LINE HISTORY: Oddsmakers opened the Jags as 3-point home faves and that line has not moved. The total opened at 41 and has dropped 40.5.
INJURY REPORT: Titans – TE Delanie Walker (Probable, knee), T Kamerion Wimbley (Questionable, hamstring), WR Kendall Wright (Questionable, hand). Jaguars – QB Blake Bortles (Probable, foot), DE Andre Branch (Doubtful, groin), RB Denard Robinson (I-R, foot).
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Titans (+8.75) – Jaguars (+8.25) + home field (-3.0) = Jags -3.5
WEATHER FORECAST: Temperatures expected to be in the mid-to-low-50s with wind blowing toward the south endzone at just two mph.
WHAT CAPPERS SAY: “After 13 straight weeks in the basement, the Jaguars have emerged from the bottom of the power rankings. They are favored for the first time this week since Week Four in 2012.” Covers Expert Matt Fargo.
ABOUT THE TITANS (2-12 SU, 3-10-1 ATS, 6-8 O/U): Tennessee has gone two straight games without an offensive touchdown as one of the league’s most meager attacks has bottomed out. One consistent issue has been an inability to sustain drives at all – the Titans have lost the time-of-possession battle for seven straight games and are 31st in the league in that category overall (27:03), ahead of only fast-paced Philadelphia. Tennessee is last in third-down percentage (29) although it was a bit better against New York, converting 6-of-16.
ABOUT THE JAGUARS (2-12 SU, 4-9-1 O/U): Regardless of who starts under center, they will likely face pressure that has made life difficult for Bortles and Henne this season. Jacksonville has given up 19 sacks over the last three weeks and a league-high 62 overall, which is one shy of the franchise record set in 2001. Bortles, who was sacked eight times in a 20-12 loss at Baltimore last weekend, was in a walking boot Monday but told reporters he expects to play.
* Titans are 1-6-1 ATS in their last eight meetings.
* Under is 4-0 in the last four meetings in Jacksonville.
* Titans are 5-1 ATS in their last six Thursday games.
* Jaguars are 1-4-1 ATS in their last six vs. AFC South.
COVERS CONSENSUS: According the Covers Consensus, the Jags are seeing 70 percent of bets.