Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles squares off against Marcus Mariota

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Two of the most promising young quarterbacks in the NFL face off against each other Thursday night when Blake Bortles’ Jacksonville team meets Marcus Mariota’s Titans.

And guess what?

Despite a faltering start by both teams, both teams still remain in the race for the AFC South.

Granted, that says more about the AFC South than it does the Jags or Titans. But in this division, no one is ever quite out of it, not even at 3-6 (Jacksonville) or 2-7 (Tennessee). When Indy and Houston are sharing the division lead at 4-5, everyone has life.

The game returns Tennessee coach Mike Mularkey to Jacksonville, where he was 2-14 in his lone season. Mularkey is 1-1 with the Titans, which is a bit of a hot streak the way things are going lately. Jacksonville has won two of its last three.

One warning: In Mariota’s last three road games, he has 10 touchdown passes and no interceptions.

Tennessee was able to drop Carolina’s Cam Newton five times last week, and Bortles has already been sacked 28 times this year. If Bortles can stay upright, he should be able to take advantage of a depleted Titans secondary.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.