Tennessee Titans tight end Jonnu Smith (81) celebrates his touchdown catcha with running back Khari Blasingame during the second half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) runs during the first half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Tennessee Titans tight end MyCole Pruitt (85) celebrates his touchdown with quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
Jacksonville Jaguars safety Andrew Wingard (42) celebrates after intercepting a Indianapolis Colts pass with teammates safety Daniel Thomas (20) and Chris Chaisson, right, during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
Jacksonville Jaguars safety Andrew Wingard, left, intercepts a pass in front of Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Parris Campbell (15) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew (15) throws a pass against the Indianapolis Colts during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Starting 2-0 is an opportunity the Tennessee Titans simply haven't seized in a very long time.
Sure, they've won some season openers only to lose the next week. This franchise hasn't won its first two games since 2008, and that's also the most recent time it won the AFC South. The biggest lesson learned in the Titans' run to the AFC championship game was the importance of starting the postseason at home.
They can take a big, early step toward that goal Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
''Obviously, the No. 1 goal every single year is to win the division,'' Titans safety Kevin Byard said. ''So we have to start by beating our division opponent.''
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The Titans have won six straight over the Jaguars in Nashville with the past two victories coming in big routs. Tennessee is coming off a 16-14 win in Denver where this franchise hadn't won since 1987, so the Jaguars beating Indianapolis 27-20 got their attention.
''I think the Colts kind of underestimated them, and they win in a dogfight,'' Byard said of the Jaguars. ''So hopefully it won't be a dogfight for us. Hopefully we can get up and score a lot of points. But at the end of the day, it's all about trying to be 1-0 this week.''
The Jaguars also have their eye on staying undefeated, which would be only the eighth such 2-0 start in franchise history and the second time they've done that inside the division.
''I feel like (there's) always going to be that doubt when people think about us, and that's just the status quo we have to change around here,'' Jaguars defensive end Josh Allen said. ''So, yeah, I think it's a big game for us, it's a big game because it's a divisional game. It's a game we must have.''
WATCH THE KICKER
Stephen Gostkowski hit the practice field after missing two field goals and an extra point with a third field goal blocked in Denver. The four-time Pro Bowler never missed that much in a single game during 14 years with the Patriots. Special teams coordinator Craig Aukerman said all the issues are fixable.
''When he was missing a couple, he was like, 'Man I've never had this happen,''' Aukerman said. ''And it's kind of like, 'Hey we've got to refocus, talk about a few things.'''
Jacksonville started three rookies in Week 1, and each had memorable debuts. The Jaguars hope they can build on those against Tennessee.
Undrafted running back James Robinson ran 16 times for 62 yards and leapt a defender during a 28-yard reception. Cornerback CJ Henderson, the ninth overall pick, broke up four passes including his first interception. He also sealed the victory knocking away a fourth-down pass. Second-rounder Laviska Shenault caught three passes for 37 yards and a score and had two carries out of the wildcat formation.
''So much more, so much more,'' Shenault said, predicting more down the road. ''I'm not the type of guy to talk. I'm a very humble guy and I'm just ready for the opportunities to come my way.''
Just about every defensive move Jacksonville made in the offseason was designed to better stop the run, specifically Derrick Henry. The Jaguars ranked 28th in the NFL against the run in 2019, and Henry managed 203 yards and three touchdowns on the ground in two games against them.
General manager Dave Caldwell and coach Doug Marrone revamped their D-line, moved Myles Jack back to outside linebacker and signed in-the-box safety Josh Jones. Jack and Jones led the way Sunday as Jacksonville held Indy to 88 yards rushing - more than 50 yards under what it allowed last year.
READY TO RUN
The Titans aren't about to hold back the NFL's rushing leader in 2019, and coach Mike Vrabel said they don't have a ''pitch count'' for Henry. The 2019 NFL rushing leader carried 31 times in Tennessee's opening win, just the third time Henry has topped 30 carries in a game in his career.
Tennessee is 14-0 when Henry rushes for 100 yards or more. Henry also is averaging 104.3 yards rushing against AFC South teams since becoming the starter in 2018. His 1,251 yards rushing inside the division lead the NFL in that time, a total that includes 498 yards rushing against the Jaguars.
IMPROVED PASS RUSH
Linebacker Jadeveon Clowney played 47 snaps in his Titans' debut and had a tackle for loss. Now the Titans might have their other free agent signed to help pressure quarterbacks available for the first time on Sunday.
Linebacker Vic Beasley Jr. didn't pass his physical until Sept. 5 and was inactive against Denver. Beasley practiced fully for the first time Thursday since joining the Titans.
Five Waiver Wire Adds: Week 7
Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram II's (ankle) MRI exam showed a mid- to high-ankle sprain that isn't considered serious, according to a source. With the Ravens on bye this week, head coach John Harbaugh said on Monday that Ingram will likely be back on Nov. 1 for the Week 8 game against the Steelers. Those types of ankle sprains can often sideline players for multiple weeks, so we wouldn't consider it a lock that the 30-year-old veteran will be ready for the Week 8 showdown with Pittsburgh. Rookie J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards would see more work in the backfield if Ingram is limited or out in Week 8, making them worth waiver wire pickups if you're looking two weeks into the future. Ingram has rushed the ball 50 times for 225 yards (4.5 yards per carry) and two touchdowns in six games in 2020.
Buffalo Bills WR John Brown (knee) wasn't 100 percent recovered from injury against the Kansas City Chiefs Monday, Oct. 19, according to head coach Sean McDermott.
Fantasy Spin: It may help to explain Brown's disappointing catch-less performance. He scored a touchdown in each of the first two games of the season but has clearly taken a backseat to Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley. He'll be a risky FLEX play in Week 7, even against the New York Jets.
Los Angeles Rams PK Kai Forbath was placed on the Exempt/Commissioner Permission list Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Dallas Cowboys DE Randy Gregory was activated from the Exempt/Commissioner Permission list Tuesday, Oct. 20.
New Orleans Saints tight end Jared Cook was Drew Brees primary red zone threat while Michael Thomas remained sidelined, but with the All-Pro wideout expected back Sunday versus Carolina, Cooks time as a TE1 in season-long formats may have passed. While Cook managed to receive seven targets Week 1 when Thomas was alongside him, the veteran has been a touchdown-dependent option since then. In addition, the Panthers Defense has been stout against opposing tight ends this season, allowing just 221 yards and two touchdowns across six games. With a plethora of options at Brees disposal, Cook remains an appealing play, albeit a tenuous one that carries sizable risk.
New York Jets QB Mike White was designated as a protected practice squad player for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Pittsburgh Steelers WR Deon Cain, RB Trey Edmunds, DE Henry Mondeaux and RB Wendell Smallwood were chosen as protected practice squad players for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers PK Greg Joseph and DT Jeremiah Ledbetter were protected from selection off the practice squad for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Tennessee Titans LB Daren Bates, PK Tucker McCann, G David Quessenberry and QB Trevor Siemian were designated as protected practice squad players for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was given a vote of confidence from head coach Mike McCarthy on Tuesday, confirming that the star running back would be the starter for Sundays contest against Washington. Elliott lost two fumbles Monday versus the Cardinals, ceding way to Tony Pollard at times, but with Andy Dalton once again to likely receive the start, Elliott will need to be relied upon for Dallas to have success offensively. Unfortunately for Elliott, the teams offensive line is heavily banged up due to injuries. Factoring that in on top of his fumble woes (five in 2020, four of which have been lost), DFS fantasy managers may want to look elsewhere Sunday, especially considering his price tag. Season-long managers can continue to role Elliott out and bank on his perpetual upside paying off.
Jacksonville Jaguars TE Ben Ellefson, LB Joe Giles-Harris, DB Doug Middleton and TE Eric Saubert were protected from selection off the practice squad for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Las Vegas Raiders PK Dominik Eberle, DE David Irving, DB Dylan Mabin and DE Chris Smith were chosen as the team's protected practice squad players for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has made each of the five defenses that he has faced 2020 look rather pedestrian on his way to becoming the favorite to claim the NFLs MVP trophy this season. On paper, his matchup Sunday versus Arizona should be another such instance, which is backed up by his gaudy DFS price tag. But gleaning his numbers against the Cardinals over the past two seasons tells a different story; over their last four matchups, he has exceeded the 200-yard passing threshold just once and has not rushed for a touchdown in any of those outings. The Cardinals Defense ranks in the top half of the league in passing yards allowed per game this season (226.5), another notch in the belt of why DFS fantasy managers may want to consider other QB options during Week 7.
Cleveland Browns RB John Kelly, QB Kyle Lauletta, DE Cameron Malveaux and PK Matthew McCrane were chosen as protected practice squad players for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Denver Broncos LB Nigel Bradham, WR Fred Brown, RB Jeremy Cox and C Patrick Morris were designated as protected practice squad players for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Houston Texans DT Corey Liuget and C Greg Mancz were chosen as protected practice squad players for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen (back) was last seen dealing with back spasms when he took the field versus the Saints last Monday. Despite that, head coach Anthony Lynn has reiterated that Allen will not be hampered come Sunday versus Jacksonville, a matchup that is set to work in Allens favor due to the 270.7 passing yards per game that the Jaguars Defense is allowing. With the emergence of Justin Herbert as both a downfield threat and consistent pocket passer, Allens season-long fantasy outlook is only on the rise after having averaged 12 targets through his first four games. His recent injury should give DFS fantasy managers pause, but so long as he is given the green light to suit up, season-long managers should consider starting him in most formats where he is rostered.
Atlanta Falcons QB Kurt Benkert, DE Austin Edwards, LB Edmond Robinson and WR Chris Rowland were designated as the team's four protected practice squad players for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Chicago Bears QB Tyler Bray was protected from selection off the practice squad for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson should continue to see an unimpeded path to RB1 duties this Sunday against the Cardinals with both Carlos Hyde (shoulder) and Rashaad Penny (knee) unlikely to suit up. Carson was limited to just eight carries in his most recent outing, but that was primarily due to the nature of the game flow; fantasy managers can expect to see him rack up his usual workload and then some against Arizona. Having amassed three rushing and three receiving scores so far this season, Carson has retained a considerable role in the Seattle offense, with Travis Homer a distant second to cutting into his workload. Carson is a must-start in season-long formats and should have some considerable DFS appeal.