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Thursday Night Football: Titans vs. Jaguars will impact the AFC South race

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The Pittsburgh Steelers have a bye week, but many other teams are playing, including the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

This Thursday, the Tennessee Titans take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in Jacksonville. The Jaguars record is 3-6 while the Titans have only won two games so far this 2015 season and are going into Week 11 at 2-7. Despite their poor records, both teams are still playoff contenders in the AFC South where the best teams, the Indianapolis Colts and the Houston Texans, have records of 4-6.

The Titans performed so dismally this season, that their head coach, Ken Whisenhunt, was fired. Interim head coach Mike Mullarkey took Whisenhunt’s place, promoted from an assistant, and will be coaching the Titans in his third game in just twelve days. Under Mullarkey, the team is 1-1, winning against the New Orleans Saints in overtime on November 8 and losing to the Carolina Panthers at home last week.

The Panthers are undefeated, so the Titans are not alone in losing to them. The battle against the Jacksonville Jaguars is important for Mullarkey and the Titans. A win could signal a change in fortune, while a loss against one of the worst teams in the league would solidify the team’s fate this season as a atrociously bad team with little ability to win, despite their first-overall 2015 draft pick, quarterback Marcus Mariota.

The Jaguars are coming off of a victory against the beleaguered Baltimore Ravens, winning by the close score of 22-20 in Baltimore. Quarterback Blake Bortles was the third-overall draft pick in 2014 and faces some pressure to prove his worth to the organization. So far this season, Bortles is 197 of 356  for 2,381 yards and 19 touchdowns. He also has 11 interceptions.

Though the Jaguars have a terrible record, their defense has performed well under head coach Gus Bradley. They rank sixth against the run and lead the NFL in yards-per-carry allowed. These statistics shouldn’t come as a surprise since Bradley was the defensive coordinator at the Seattle Seahawks until he was hired as a head coach by the Jaguars. The Seahawks had one of the best defenses in the league under Bradley.

Since both teams are struggling, the Thursday night match up probably won’t be the most engaging game of the season. If you do want to watch the game, it will be broadcast on the NFL Network  at 8:25 p.m. EST. Jim Nantz and Phil Simms, along with Tracy Wolfson on the sidelines, have been in charge of commentating, analysis, and reporting on Thursday nights throughout the season. This Thursday will be no exception.

Week 11 is a bye week for the Steelers, but fortunately there are many NFL matchups that are more exciting on Sunday and Monday in addition to a few important college games that could determine teams’ post-season chances.