It was upset city in the SEC last week as Georgia bowed to LSU and Tennessee broke their 11-game conference losing streak against tumbling Auburn. With a full slate of action, this week has the chance to be just as shocking.
Player to Watch
Alabama has tons of talent. They arguably have more talent on their roster than any team in the country. That is especially evident at the wide receiver position. Sophomore Jerry Jeudy has become a household name through the first half of the season thanks in part to his ridiculous stat line. He already has nine touchdowns and 705 receiving yards. What is even more impressive about those stats is that he has managed to do all that while only catching 26 balls. That comes out to an average of 27.1 yards per catch. Those are ridiculous numbers. If he continues that pace he will hold all the single-season receiving records at Alabama.
His athleticism and speed are what help him separate from defenders. It, of course, helps that he has the best quarterback in the country throwing him the ball, but the same argument can be made for Tua Tagovailoa that he has the best wide receiver in the country to throw to. Expect Jeudy to torch the Tennessee secondary on Saturday. He may have a career day against a young and inexperienced secondary who have had trouble with speedsters.
Games of the Week
Texans vs. Jaguars
Heading into the season, the AFC South looked to be one of the toughest divisions in all of football. So far, they’ve been mediocre at best. The Titans looked strong early, but haven’t scored a touchdown in 8 straight quarters. The Colts were supposed to be a team to watch with Andrew Luck back, but they’ve been awful. The Texans with their young phenom quarterback Deshaun Watson coming back from injury were thought to be a top 15 team. They’ve been questionable. The Jaguars made it all the way to the AFC championship game last season, but they’re coming off of a 40-7 trouncing by the Cowboys. In short, the AFC South hasn’t lived up to the hype, but that doesn’t make this matchup any less crucial.
The Texans need a win against a division foe in they to want to make a late playoff push. Their time is now. They need Deshaun Watson to play up to the potential he flashed last season before suffering his season-ending knee injury. They also need their incredibly gifted defense to put the clamp down on their opponents if they want to win ball games. They have JJ Watt back this year, and he’s been dominant early. Opposite Watt, they have once in a lifetime athlete Jadeveon Clowney (South Carolina). He’s had a slow start to his career but has put up increasingly better numbers. One only has to watch the hit he delivered in college against Michigan to understand his talent level. Add to that mix former Arizona Cardinal safety Tyrann Mathieu (LSU) who was signed in free agency this offseason, and you have a fearsome defense.
As scary as the Texans defense is they aren’t even the best in their division. That distinction belongs to the Jacksonville Jaguars. They don’t call them Sacksonville for no reason. Their front seven is the best in football bar none. Their secondary is nothing to scoff at either with a couple of all-pro cornerbacks in Jalen Ramsey and AJ Bouye. The big question mark for this team is if starting running back Leonard Fournette (LSU) can play. He’s dealing with a hamstring injury which can be notoriously unpredictable. If he’s ready to go, that will provide a boost to the Jags offense which might make the difference in the game.
This will be a low scoring affair with these tremendous defenses facing off. However, I think the Jaguars bounce back after a tough loss.
Sun 10/21 1:00 ET- FOX
Final Score: 17-13 Jaguars
#1 Alabama vs. Tennessee
The third Saturday in October is akin to a National Holiday in the states of Tennessee and Alabama. Anytime two of the biggest programs in the country face off it’s going to be a huge deal. But when those teams play each other every year, it becomes a tradition unrivaled in its passion and intensity. Folks look forward to this game all year long. Family events and occasions are planned around this date. Go ahead and mark it out on the calendar because you’ll be on a couch somewhere surrounded by friends, family, food, and football. Regardless of team rank, this game is always competitive. Alabama is once again the top-ranked team in the nation. That is fact Tennessee has become accustomed to when these two face off. The all-time record has grown in Alabama’s favor in the past decade, but this rivalry runs deep with some legendary games and moments. You’ll want to be tuned into this one for sure.
Tennessee is coming off a massive win against Auburn on the road. First-year coach Jeremy Pruitt has checked one of the huge boxes of his early tenure, and that’s winning an SEC game. His young squad did that against the 21st ranked Tigers which is even more impressive. They still have a long, long, long way to go before they become a contender, but Pruitt has his team playing hard and in synch. They’ve gotten better each game which is all you can ask of this team after the Butch Jones era. They’ll face their toughest test of the season with Alabama though.
Alabama is beyond a well-oiled machine at this point. They are the best team in the country year in and year out. It’s reached the time where fans are becoming bored with all the winning. This Saturday is a good chance for the fan base to get engaged again. Vol twitter is one of the most savage places on the internet, so I’m sure there will be some fun online entertainment all week long.
As much as I was impressed by Tennessee’s upset win against Auburn, and as much as I’m a sucker for rivalry games, there’s just no way Alabama loses this game. Add in the extra caveat of Saban destroying all his proteges in head to head matchups and it’s Alabama all the way. I do think Tennessee will keep this a close game for much of the game though.
Sat 10/20 3:30 ET- CBS
Final Score: 42-31 Alabama
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