Jaguars hope to continue Payback Tour by solving rival Titans

Stephen A. not sold on Jaguars as favorites in AFC (1:39)

While praising Jacksonville for its win over New England, Stephen A. Smith explains why he isn't ready to pick the Jaguars as AFC favorites. (1:39)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- As good as the Jacksonville Jaguars players felt after beating the New England Patriots last Sunday -- avenging a loss in the AFC Championship Game eight months earlier -- that won't even compare to how happy they'll be if they win this Sunday.

Beating the Tennessee Titans (1 p.m. ET, CBS) for just the second time in six seasons will be the next bit of revenge for a team that's still stinging from losing both games last season to its biggest rival. Players have been eagerly awaiting Sunday's game at TIAA Bank Field -- some even more so than the Patriots game.

"Losing to a team twice, at their house and here, that wasn't cool," linebacker Myles Jack said. "We're not too happy about that. That's obviously being talked about this week. The New England game was one thing, but this is a team that literally beat us twice in one year.

"We've got to fix that."

Unfortunately, Titans angst is nothing new for the Jaguars.

Outside of New England, which has beaten Jacksonville twice in AFC Championship Games, no other franchise has caused the Jaguars more heartache than Tennessee. The Titans ruined the Jaguars' best chance to reach a Super Bowl, handed them the most embarrassing loss in franchise history, and have beaten them more times than any other team.

Topping that list is the AFC Championship Game after the 1999 season. After rolling through the regular season with a 14-2 record, the Jaguars played host to the Titans in the AFC title game. They had a 14-10 halftime lead, but the Titans scored 23 unanswered points in the second half and won 33-14.

Three of the Jaguars' six turnovers came in the second half. They also gave up a safety when Mark Brunell was sacked in the end zone and allowed a touchdown return on the ensuing free kick. Making that game sting even more: The Jaguars' other two losses that season also came against the Titans. The Jaguars committed 13 of their 26 turnovers (including playoffs) that season against Tennessee.

During Super Bowl week, then-Titans coach Jeff Fisher joked that TIAA Bank Field (then called Alltel Stadium) was like a second home to the Titans.

That two-week stretch ensured the Titans would forever be the Jaguars' most hated rival for the fans.

"I always hated them anyways," said former offensive tackle Tony Boselli, now a member of the team's radio broadcast. "They were a division rival, so you didn't really like any of them. So I think it definitely cemented it for the fan base, that's for sure."

As if that wasn't enough, the Titans also handed the Jaguars the most embarrassing loss in franchise history: 36-22 in Nashville on "Thursday Night Football" in 2016. The final score doesn't capture just how bad it was. The Titans outgained the Jaguars 354-60 in yardage (135-5 in rushing) and 20-3 in first downs in the first half, which ended with Ryan Succop's 22-yard field goal to give the Titans a 27-0 lead.

"They really did just beat the s--- out of us," said defensive tackle Abry Jones, one of seven current Jaguars defenders who also started that game. "I mean, that's pretty much how it was. Mostly what I don't like about it is when you watch it, I feel like we didn't give up, but it kind of looked like it. Late [in] the game, those late runs, stuff like that. That's off-putting to me."

Other hurt the Titans have inflicted on the Jaguars:

  • The Titans -- then the Houston Oilers (the franchise moved to Nashville in 1997) -- beat the Jaguars in the franchise's first regular-season game. Chris Chandler completed 9 of 14 passes for 61 yards and the game's only touchdown, a 4-yarder to Haywood Jeffires.

  • The Jaguars have lost more regular-season games (26) and allowed more points (956) to Tennessee than any other team. They've also played more regular-season games (46) and have more victories (20) against the Titans than any other franchise.

  • The Jaguars have lost four of the past five and seven of the past 11 meetings with the Titans, including last season's sweep. The Jaguars scored only two offensive touchdowns, gave up 295 yards rushing, and turned the ball over seven times in the two games.

  • Titans defensive tackle Jurrell Casey mocked the Jaguars after the 15-10 victory closed out the regular season, saying the Jaguars couldn't be called the "King of the [AFC] South" because they couldn't beat the Titans. The Jaguars had clinched the division title before the game kicked off.

"The Titans were the one team we really didn't have an answer for by no means," safety Tashaun Gipson said. "They out-physicaled us. They outplayed us in every facet of the game. We were truly outmatched, from the home opener last year to the game before the playoffs. Obviously, we want to get our lick back in a sense.

"I think one of the chatters coming out last year was they were saying they won the AFC South. I know a lot of people heard about that. We feel like we're the better team, and we feel it's time for us to show it."