Titans vs Jaguars Week 18 Picks and Predictions: Jones Cashes in AFC South Title Game

The stakes are high and clear in Jacksonville in Week 18: Win and take the AFC South crown. The Jaguars are trending in a much better direction than the Titans — but how will Saturday play out? Check out our NFL betting picks for Saturday's headliner.

Last Updated: Jan 7, 2023 4:33 PM ET Read Time: 4 min

No game on the NFL Week 18 odds board carries the weight of Saturday night’s showdown between the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars.

The winner of this regular season finale claims the AFC South title and the ticket to the playoffs that goes along with it, landing the No. 4 seed in the AFC postseason picture.

You couldn’t find two teams more opposite in their present form than the Titans and Jaguars. Tennessee has dropped six games in a row while injuries plagued its depth chart on both sides of the ball. Jacksonville, meanwhile, had won five of its last six and ranks among the analytical elite during that stretch.

I run down the point spread and Over/Under total for this Saturday primetime tilt and give my best NFL picks and predictions for Titans at Jaguars on January 7.

Be sure to also check out our Titans vs. Jaguars player prop picks for more great bets!

Titans vs Jaguars best odds

Titans vs Jaguars picks and predictions

The AFC South crown and a trip to the playoffs isn’t the only thing on the line for the Jaguars in Week 18. 

Receivers like Zay Jones have contract incentives up for grabs in the final week of the season and while winning the game and keeping the season alive is priority No. 1, let’s not forget that pro football is a business. 

Jones, who currently sits with 78 receptions on the season, can secure $250,000 in bonus bucks with 80 grabs on the year and he’s 98 receiving yards out from a $500,000 windfall that’s activated at 900 yards. 

Luckily, for Jones and Jacksonville, this finale with Tennessee could check all the boxes and his receptions total prop for Saturday is sitting at 4.5 catches with the Over paying out as much as +102.

The Titans come into Week 18 ranked among the worst pass defenses in the NFL, sitting 28th in pass defense DVOA at Football Outsiders. Tennessee is especially susceptible to slot receivers, which was on full display against Dallas last Thursday. The Cowboys targeted the slot 22 times for 11 completions and a total of 148 yards. 

Tennessee is hoping to get some bodies back on defense, but this secondary is still running thin with several key pieces done for the season. Jones caught eight of 12 balls his way for 77 yards in the first matchup with the Titans in Week 14. 

His current Week 18 prop total on receptions is tempered a bit because of quieter days vs. the Jets and Texans (books never released reception totals for Jags) the past two weeks, but that had more to do with Jacksonville holding bigger second-half leads and going run heavy to secure the victory. 

Before those last two outings, Jones had topped his receptions Over/Under number in six of the previous eight outings and went for five or more catches in five of his last six appearances. On the season, he averages 5.2 receptions on 7.7 targets a contest. 

Jones has emerged as one of Trevor Lawrence’s favorite options, collecting 115 targets and boasting a snap rate of 82.3% — both ranked second on the team. And wouldn’t you know, the Titans also stink at covering WR2s, owning the 24th-ranked DVOA vs. those second options.

If you read my NFL Underdogs column, I’m taking the +6.5 with Tennessee and expect this game to be much closer than this spread would indicate. With the Titans getting healthier on defense and returning key cogs of their front seven, Jacksonville will be passing more than what we saw the past two weeks, which means more chances for Jones to go Over 4.5 receptions and cash some incentives.

Zay gets paid. We get paid. That’s a pretty good Saturday.

My best bet: Zay Jones Over 4.5 receptions (+104)

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Titans vs Jaguars spread analysis

With the contrast in momentum and the Titans going with backup QB Joshua Dobbs under center in Week 18, the Jaguars opened as big as 7-point home favorites for this high-stakes finale. However, the market settled at Jacksonville -6.5 quickly.

The Jaguars absolutely look like the better team heading into this contest, having won five of the past six games, including a 36-22 victory over the Titans in Week 14. Jacksonville closed as a 3-point underdog in that matchup, taking advantage of a Tennessee defense decimated by injuries.

The Titans, however, received a gift from the schedule makers ahead of this win-and-in matchup. Tennessee last played on Thursday, losing to Dallas with a skeleton crew on both sides of the ball, but allotting this roster a mini bye to heal and get many key players back for Week 18. 

The positives coming out of Titans practice have forced a move down to Jaguars -6 and we’re even starting to see some -5.5 lines bubble up at select sportsbooks. One player returning from injury in Week 18 is Tennessee star running back Derrick Henry, who has dominated the Jags during his career. 

Henry averages more than 105 yards rushing with 15 total touchdowns over 12 career matchups with Jacksonville, including 121 yards on the ground in the Week 14 loss to the Jaguars. Henry’s ability to pick up gains on the ground, move the chains on key downs, and let Tennessee set a slow tempo is a major factor in Jacksonville’s ability to cover this bigger spread.

A successful ground-and-pound approach also helps out Dobbs, who put in a solid showing versus a very good Cowboys defense last Thursday. Dobbs will have Henry influencing the Jacksonville defense in Week 18 and has shown a good connection with Titans targets Treylon Burks and Robert Woods.

According to Covers Consensus, 63% of picks are laying the points with Jacksonville. 

Titans vs Jaguars Over/Under analysis

This Over/Under total opened at 39.5 points and has climbed as high as 40.5 as of Thursday morning. 

The total for the Week 14 meeting between the Titans and Jaguars opened at 41.5 and closed as high as 42.5, with Jacksonville winning 36-22 and blowing away that shorter number. 

The Jags' offense has been humming over its past six games. Jacksonville ranks out 11th in EPA per play in that span, with the passing attack erupting behind improved play for QB Trevor Lawrence (ranked No. 6 in EPA per dropback since Week 12). 

You have a contrast in tempo between these two AFC South rivals, as Jacksonville is 12th in second per play and averages 67 plays per game over the past three outings. Tennessee, on the other hand, is a plodding attack that chews up the third most time per play (29.7 seconds) and averages the second-fewest plays per game.

Defensively, Jacksonville has been among the elite stop units since Week 12, owning the lowest EPA allowed per play in that span. The Jaguars have taken advantage of two terrible offensive opponents in the past two outings, in Houston and the N.Y. Jets, and haven’t been able to slow Henry and the Titans in recent meetings.

As for the Titans' defense, this stop unit was performing above expectations before a rash of injuries thinned out the stop unit. Tennessee sat No. 12 in EPA allowed per play in the first 10 weeks of the schedule but has since slipped to 31st. However, as mentioned, a number of defensive contributors appear to be on track to play in Week 18 after practicing the past few days.

Jacksonville owns an 8-8 Over/Under record on the year while Tennessee enters this final game of the season with a 5-11 O/U count. 

Titans vs Jaguars same-game parlay

Jones Over 4.5 receptions (-105) + Burks Over 38.5 receiving yards (-110) + Henry anytime TD (-120) + Titans +6.5 (-110)

Jones will get paid playing plenty of snaps out of the slot. Burks and Dobbs connected last week and the rookie WR is an underrated route runner. The Jags will once again bow to the King, especially on the goal line.

I have this spread set at Jaguars -4.5, so I’ll gladly take the extra two points on the other side of the key number with a Titans team getting healthy at the right time.

SNF SGP odds: +850 at bet365

Learn how to bet a same-game parlay with these helpful tips and strategies.

Titans vs Jaguars betting trend to know

Tennessee head coach Mike Vrabel is 24-16-1 ATS as an underdog (60%) during his tenure with the Titans, including a 9-4 ATS record when getting six or more points. Find more NFL betting trends for Titans vs. Jaguars.

Titans vs Jaguars game info

Location: TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville, FL
Date: Saturday, January 7, 2023
Kickoff: 8:15 p.m. ET
TV: ESPN
Opening odds: Jaguars -7, 38.5 O/U

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