The Jaguars stay home this week as they square off against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals have gone through a youth movement like the Jags, which have spear headed their offense, namely their passing attack. Second year quarterback, Andy Dalton, has done a great job coming in for Carson Palmer, with fellow draftee AJ Green. This year, he’s seeing continued with receivers Armon Binns and Andrew Hawkins, who were signed by the Jaguars and claimed off waivers respectively. The Bengals lead one of the best offenses in the game, but there defense has struggled.
The Jaguars currently have the 28th overall defense, this in part is due to injury to all levels of the defense. The Bengals currently have the 29th ranked defense due in part to injuries located mostly in their secondary. According to NFL.com The Jags are only ranked significantly better in points allowed (17th) while the Bengals rank 31st. While Andy Dalton currently has almost double the amount of yards passing as Blaine Gabbert, it seems the odds favor Gabbert to throw for more yards this Sunday.
The Bengals have been hurting all (Pre) regular season with injuries to the secondary. Defensive backs Dre Kirkpatrick, Leon Hall, Brandon Ghee, Shaun Prater, and Jason Allen have all been injured and missed time. While the Jaguars have had their share of injuries, yet they have returned. Most of these players are either on I.R. or out indefintely. Couple this information with the Bengals being 31st against the run, Maurice Jones -Drew should have a fun day at the office.
Blaine Gaberrt has been improved this season, having completed 50.6 percent of his passes for 468 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. However, living off half of your passes being completed is not a way to live in the NFL. If he can draw closer to 60%, everything else should fall into place. Another slight knock on Gabbert is his yardage, but watching both his first and third games this season, (he left early game 2 against Houston because of injury). Gabbert has gone to Cecil Short III in the clutch to make the play and increase his yards total. While I would like the receivers to catch more balls, for Gabbert to be more accurate and for the offensive line to hold their blocks; it is still encouraging that the team has a player to get the go-ahead touchdown to win the game in a big way.
Last week the Jaguars ran more than they passed and it wasn’t hard to see why they wouldn’t with Jones-Drew tearing up the Colts on the group. This week I believe the Jaguars should play a classic style ball game and have Gabbert use Jones-Drew to set up the pass. Drew is the best player they have and having him draw defenders into the box will help Gabbert find more open receivers as they look to defend the run. While the Bengals nurse their injuries, Gabbert should be able take full advantage of a struggling defense.