The Jaguars team that defeated the Titans on opening day will look a lot different when the two take…
Jaguars vs. Titans Game Snapshot
TV: CBS, Bill Macatee, Steve Tasker
PREDICTION: Titans 20-10
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Jaguars' ability to compete will lie with their offensive and defensive lines. Rookie QB Blaine Gabbert too often shrinks in the face of pressure - and his receivers too seldom get open anyway. So RB Maurice Jones-Drew will once again be asked to carry the load on the ground and as an outlet receiver. Titans QB Matt Hasselbeck (calf) is expected to start. If RB Chris Johnson starts the game hot, Hasselbeck will take aim at Jacksonville's depleted secondary.
FAST FACTS: Jones-Drew needs two rushing touchdowns to break Fred Taylor's (62) franchise record. ... Johnson is averaging just 3.7 yards per carry at home.
INSIDE THE CAMPS
The Jaguars appear likely to be short of receivers again Saturday.
Cecil Shorts and Mike Thomas, who both missed the Atlanta game, may not be able to play on Christmas Eve.
Shorts didn't practice because of a hamstring injury and Thomas hasn't been cleared because of a concussion although he was listed as limited in practice because he did some individual stuff on the field.
That leaves them with a receiving corps of Jarett Dillard, Chastin West, Taylor Price and Kassim Osgood, who is mainly a special teams player.
Dunta Robinson, the Atlanta cornerback who used to play against the Jaguars twice a year when he was in Houston, called the Jaguars' receiving corps "(expletive) jokes" after the game and said they haven't had a good receiver since Jimmy Smith retired.
It doesn't help that tight end Marcedes Lewis was limited in practice because of a hamstring injury.
The Jaguars are expected to bring in two new starting receivers in the offseason with Thomas expected to be the slot receiver.
They need to upgrade the receiving corps to help them judge rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert, the lowest-rated quarterback in the league.
The lack of good receivers is one of the reasons it is difficult to evaluate Gabbert's struggles in his rookie year.
The Jaguars hope to find out next year if he will look better if he has better receivers around him.
Chris Johnson was practicing for the Tennessee Titans on Thursday, and barring a setback with his sore right ankle, should be ready to play when the Titans play host to Jacksonville on Christmas Eve.
Johnson was limited, but did manage to make some cuts on the ankle that he injured in Sunday's loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Coach Mike Munchak said he believes Johnson will be able to play against the Jaguars.
"CJ was limited, but he looked pretty good running," Munchak said. "He did some reps, and if there's no soreness for him tomorrow, I would assume he is in good shape."
If Johnson is limited, the Titans' next options are rookie Jamie Harper and fullback Ahmard Hall. Harper led the Titans in rushing in preseason while Johnson was holding out, but has just nine carries for 19 yards in the regular season. Hall, who has been getting some carries at tailback, has three rushing attempts for 14 yards.
While Johnson has had a disappointing season, he still holds out hope of reaching one milestone -- 1,000 yards. That pales in comparison to his 2,000 yard season a couple of years ago, but Johnson is within 70 yards of breaking that barrier, and says it means something to him.
"Any running back going over 1,000 yards, it puts you up there with an elite group of running backs and things like that," Johnson said. "Even though I'm not having the best of years, going over 1,000 yards is something that a lot of people thought wouldn't happen."
--WR Cecil Shorts, who didn't play in Atlanta, didn't practice Thursday because of a hamstring injury and probably won't play against the Titans.
--WR Mike Thomas, who didn't play in Atlanta, hasn't been cleared to play yet because of a concussion although he was limited in practice Thursday.
--TE Marcedes Lewis was limited in practice Thursday with a hamstring injury.
--OT Guy Whimper didn't practice Thursday because of a knee injury and it is uncertain if he can play Saturday.
--DE Matt Roth hasn't been cleared to play and may miss his fifth game in a row with a concussion.
--S Dwight Lowery, who lasted only one play against Atlanta before aggravating his shoulder injury, didn't practice Thursday.
--RB Maurice Jones-Drew was limited with an ankle injury Thursday but is expected to play.
--LB Gerald McRath sat out practice as he is still bothered by a sprained knee and ankle. Barring unexpected improvement, he won't play Saturday.
--LB Patrick Bailey, a key member of special teams, practiced on Thursday and should play on Sunday despite a hamstring issue.
--DE William Hayes practiced again on Thursday and should be past the groin injury that kept him out of Sunday's loss at Indianapolis.
--QB Matt Hasselbeck practiced all week and is mostly past the calf injury that plagued him last week. Hasselbeck is well enough to be off the injury report.
--DE Dave Ball was back at practice on Thursday after missing Wednesday as his wife gave birth to a son.
JagsInsider.com Recommended Stories
Michigan: Brandon Resigns, Hackett Interim AD
Michigan President Mark Schlissel officially announced the resignation of athletic director Dave Brandon Friday. Schlissel appointed Jim Hackett as the interim AD with the plan moving forward to hire…Read More
Hoops: Where are the Top Recruits Going?
The initial basketball signing period begins in less than two weeks and there are currently 22 players in Scout.com's 2015 top 100 still uncommitted. Who are those 22 players considering and who will…Read More
Catch Big Fall Bass on Natural Lakes and Rivers
Check out some great tips for bass fishing up north as the water cools on its way into winter. There is some great fishing to be had right now before it gets too cold.Read More
10 Creepy Trail Cam Pics For Halloween
Most of us would prefer to be sitting in our treestand on Halloween, waiting for a rutting buck to wonder past, than following our kids from house to house scrambling for treats. Here are a 10 spooky…Read More
2015 NFL Mock Draft 1.0
We're at the halfway mark of the NFL season, so here's our first crack at a mock draft. Hey, Oakland Raiders, you're on the clock!Read More