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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group

5 Jaguars players to watch vs the Titans in Week 18

The Jacksonville Jaguars aren’t completely out of the woods, but fans can breathe again. The team ended its four-game losing streak in Week 17, beating the Panthers in a 26-point shutout.

The Jaguars have now guaranteed themselves a winning record, but a win could move the Jaguars to 10-7 and clinch the AFC South title.

Tennessee is in a different place than it was last time the teams met, and a few key Jaguars will need to be at the top of their game to secure another win for Jacksonville.

Here are five Jaguars players to watch against the Titans in Week 18:

QB Trevor Lawrence

Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports

Jaguars starting quarterback Trevor Lawrence missed the first game of his career Sunday when Jacksonville played Carolina.

While Lawrence is one of the most important players on the team, the team managed fine with backup C.J. Beathard at the helm. Despite Beathard’s solid play, Jacksonville could use Lawrence against a division rival.

Lawrence is back at practice, but he’s still considered day-to-day, so there’s no guarantee he will return to the lineup. Beathard has shown ability as the next man up, but it’d be a nice time to have a Lawrence — a proven Titans killer — available again.

WR Christian Kirk (or his absence)

Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union

Wide receiver Christian Kirk’s return is finally on the horizon. But it may not happen this week.

Kirk has spent the past few weeks on the injured reserve list, but Jacksonville opened his 21-day return window Wednesday. Kirk has been sorely missed since his injury.

The receiver has 57 catches for 787 yards and three touchdowns, but he’s been out of action since suffering a core muscle injury Week 13 against the Bengals. Calvin Ridley, Zay Jones, and Parker Washington haven’t quite filled the void, and the Jaguars went 1-3 following the injury.

They need Kirk back in the lineup sooner rather than later.

S Rayshawn Jenkins

Bob Self/Florida Times-Union

Rayshawn Jenkins will need to be a jack of all trades this Sunday. He’ll have to help slow Tennessee running back Derrick Henry, wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, and whichever quarterback ends up starting for the Titans.

Jenkins is a versatile defender who could be valuable in Jacksonville’s attempt to stifle the Titans’ top talents. He can step up as an extra body in the box, prevent deep throws, or help play in coverage across the middle of the field.

Jenkins had only three tackles last week, but he may be counted on against Tennessee.

OLB Travon Walker

Bob Self/Florida Times-Union

Travon Walker may not be a top-tier pass rusher yet, but he’s shown improvement throughout the season. Last week, he had one of his most productive outings, even if it was against the lowly Panthers.

He had two of his nine sacks on the year against Carolina, and hasn’t finished without a sack since Week 14.

Last time Jacksonville played Tennessee, Walker had 0.5 sacks, so he’s shown he can contribute to pressure against the Titans.

K Brandon McManus

Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Kicker Brandon McManus needs his game against the Panthers to be a good omen.

Last week, he made all four of his field goals and both extra point attempts. But he hasn’t been doing so consistently this season. Before last week, he had missed five of six field goal tries.

His six-for-six performance against the Panthers could give McManus the confidence to finish out the season strong. And with Titans head coach Mike Vrabel leading a notoriously scrappy defense, he could be kicking in a close division game to end the season.

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