Did you know that all four AFC South teams — Tennessee, Jacksonville, Indianapolis and Houston — are tied atop the division with identical 3-2 records? I know, it’s weird.
This week, though, at least part of the deadlock will be broken as the Titans and Jags lock horns on Monday Night Football. If last year was any indication, this should be a tightly-contested affair — the Jaguars and Titans split two meetings last season with the Jags winning 37-17 at home on Oct. 4, 2009.
For Jacksonville, the key to this game will be maintaining the offensive production that’s carried them throughout the last two weeks. The Jags racked up 67 total points in beating Indianapolis and Buffalo in back to back weeks — a far cry from the 40 they put up in their first three. Not coincidentally, Jacksonville was 1-2 to start the year.
For Tennessee, this game is all about running the football. RB Chris Johnson is off to another stellar start — he’s second in the NFL with 485 rushing yards and, if history tells us anything, he should be drooling at the prospect of facing Jacksonville on Monday. Last year, Johnson ran for 228 and two TDs in a 30-13 home win over the Jats — the most yards the Jaguars allowed on the ground in a single game in 2009.
Oakland Raiders (2-3) at San Francisco 49ers (0-5)
The Raiders are looking for that one win that will get them back to .500. The 49ers…they’re just looking for one win.
That’s the big story coming into this one, as everybody and their dog want to know when San Francisco will finally bump the slump. The 49ers have lost in seemingly every fashion available this year — their first four weeks included two blowout losses and two last-second defeats, and they were unable to overcome five turnovers in a 27-24 home loss to Philadelphia last Sunday night — and you have to think that, eventually, the Niners will run out of bad luck and start to get some good.
A sign things might be turning for the better was the play of San Fran QB Alex Smith late in last Sunday’s loss to Philly. He led two late TD drives to spark an impressive comeback attempt and could take advantage of a Raiders pass-defense that was torched by Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers last week.
Speaking of quarterback play, it will be interesting to see who lines up under center for the Raiders this weekend. Bruce Gradkowski injured his shoulder against San Diego and Jason Campbell came in and led Oakland to victory. Head coach Tom Cable said Gradkowski would remain the starter if he’s healthy, but it’ll be hard to bench Campbell after he went 13 of 18 passing for 159 yards and a touchdown in relief duty.