The Jacksonville Jaguars entered the NFL in the 1995 season and quickly made a rival out of divisional foe Tennessee. When the Jaguars entered the league, the Titans were still the Houston Oilers, but the rivalry has remained the same since the relocation of the Titans to Nashville and their new moniker. The rivalry has remained one of the top in the AFC South, despite the relative distant locations of the two home cities and fan bases.
History of Titans vs. Jaguars Rivalry
The NFL expanded in 1995 with two additional franchises, the Carolina Panthers and the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars were slated to play in the AFC Central with the Cincinnati Bengals, Houston Oilers, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Cleveland Browns, thus the rivalry between these two franchises started right out of the block. On September 3, 1995, the Jaguars played their inaugural game in Jacksonville against the Oilers, who had existed since the founding of the AFL in 1960. In 1998, the Houston Oilers relocated to Nashville and thus was born the rivalry that you see today.
In Jacksonville on September 26, 1999, the Titans defeated the Jaguars in a close game between two of the AFC’s best. Three months later the Titans crushed the Jaguars 41-14. Despite the two losses to the Titans, Jacksonville won the AFC Central and finished the regular season with a 14-2 record, both losses to Tennessee. Jacksonville was the No. 1 seed in the AFC and the Titans managed the #4 seed. The Titans dramatically defeated the Bills 22-16 with the Music City Miracle and then defeated the Colts in the divisional round to move on to the AFC Championship. On January 23, 2000, the Titans and Jaguars played for the third time during the season for the AFC Championship. The Titans won that game 33-14 and then were beaten by the St. Louis Rams in dramatic fashion as it came down to the final play.
The NFL realigned in the early-2000’s, but the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars remained in the same division, now called the AFC South. After the departure of Steve McNair and Mark Brunell from the respective teams, the franchises started a period of poor quarterback play and decreasing win returns. However, this was also the period where each franchise was blessed by top-tier talent at the running back position, with Maurice Jones Drew and Chris Johnson being constant fixtures at the top of the NFL running back tier. With the loss of the quarterback talent, the two teams spent the late 2000’s mostly festering towards the bottom of the division. This was not helped by the emergence of divisional foe Peyton Manning and the Colts having a monopoly on the AFC South.
The early 2010’s found both teams looking for their first franchise quarterbacks since the McNair/Brunell days of the late 90’s. After experiments with Vince Young and Jake Locker, the Titans seemingly found their heir with the drafting of Marcus Mariota. Likewise, the Jaguars went through some down years with the quarterback play of Blaine Gabbert, but thought they found their man with Blake Bortles. 2017 marked a year of success for both franchises as they took advantage of the injury to Colts quarterback Andrew Luck and made the playoffs. The Titans were awarded a berth by beating the Jaguars in Week 17 of that year.
Head to Head Analysis of Titans vs. Jaguars
The Tennessee Titans hold a 29-20 record over the Jacksonville Jaguars since Jacksonville entered the league in 1995. The only playoff matchup between the two was a victory by the Titans in the 1999-2000 AFC Championship game in Jacksonville. The Titans are 15-9 in games held both at Vanderbilt Stadium and their current venue in Nashville while the Jaguars are just 11-14 in Jacksonville. Since 2010, only the last two seasons have shown a sweep in this series, with the Titans winning both games in 2017 and 2018. 2017 marked the first time in eight years where the season series were not split between the two divisional foes. Jacksonville has not won in Nashville since a 29-27 win in the 2013 season. The largest margin of victory in this series was a 37-7 win by Jacksonville in the 2006 season. Tennessee currently has the longest winning streak in the series of four games, dating back to the beginning of the 2017 season.
A glance at Postseason Success in Titans vs. Jaguars
The Tennessee Titans have been in the league for 59 seasons, and won just 15 playoff games. Jeff Fisher is the winningest coach in franchise history with 142 wins, and led them to their only Super Bowl appearance. The Titans last won a playoff game in 2017 as they downed the Kansas City Chiefs, before losing to the Patriots. On the other side, the Jacksonville Jaguars have also never won a Super Bowl, and never played in the Big game. Tom Coughlin won 68 games for the Jaguars as the head coach, but never got ot the final game. The Jaguars also reached the postseason in 2017 beating the Bllls and Steelers before losing in the AFC title game to the Patriots. Before that – 2007 was the most recent trip.
Titans vs. Jaguars Rivalry Outlook
The Tennessee Titans entered the 2018-2019 NFL season with a new head coach, Mike Vrabel, who was tasked with getting the most out of Marcus Mariota. Mariota continued his up and down tenure as the Titans quarterback and they missed the playoffs. Jacksonville was the surprise team of the NFL in 2017-2018, emboldened by a core of young, talented, outspoken players. The wheels fell off the Jaguars in 2018-2019 as they could not score any points and fell towards the bottom of the league. Perhaps more importantly for the franchise, quarterback Blake Bortles was benched during the season and now there are major question marks for the Jaguar offense going forward.
These two teams will continue to battle it out in the AFC South, but the other two foes, Houston and Indianapolis, have tremendously more solid quarterback situations moving forward. Tennessee may be nearing its last straw with Mariota while that straw is completely gone with Bortles in Jacksonville. Much like what happened in the 2000’s after the departure of McNair and Brunell, these two teams are showing signs of falling into obscurity if nothing is done about the quarterback position. Unless something changes, you can expect to see these two rivals fighting to stay out of the cellar in the AFC South until the next franchise changing signal caller makes their way to Nashville and Jacksonville.