The Jacksonville Jaguars decided to stay on the West Coast after their week 2 loss to the Oakland Raiders to prepare for their game in Seattle. Avoiding the jet lag from two round-trips across the country will certainly benefit the Jaguars; unfortunately they’re going to need a lot more help to upset the Seahawks this Sunday.
After two straight weeks of almost no offensive production, the Jaguars face a defensive unit that shut down Colin Kaepernick and held the San Francisco 49ers to 3 points last week. The odds don’t look very good for the Jaguars (Vegas agrees, holding the Seahawks as 19 point favorites), but they might have a chance if a few players can step up.
Luke Joeckel – Right Tackle
Luke Joeckel had a rough go of it in his regular season debut against the Chiefs, but he improved in week 2 against the Raiders, allowing just one QB hurry compared to the 4 he allowed in week 1. He’s going to have to be at his best this Sunday when he faces off against one of the best pass rushing tandems in the NFL. Even with Bruce Irvin out, the Seahawks still pose a serious threat to the quarterback with Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett. Avril and Bennett were the two highest rated players by Pro Football Focus against the 49ers thanks to a combined 2 sacks and 7 quarterback hurries. In fact, the top four rated players for the Seahawks were all defensive linemen – Avril, Bennett, Red Bryant and Brandon Mebane. If Joeckel and the rest of the offensive line want to keep Chad Henne alive, they need to be on their game.
Jason Babin – Defensive End/LEO
The Seahawks offense has been uncharacteristically low-gear over the first two weeks, probably due to facing two pretty good defenses to start the season. To prevent their offense from breaking out this week, the Jaguars need Jason Babin to improve significantly from his first two games. Babin has been ineffective as a pass rusher and hurt the team with two penalties against the Raiders. The Seahawks’ offensive line has given up 5 sacks and 17 QB hurries so Babin should be able to get some pressure on Russell Wilson.
Roy Miller – Defensive Tackle
The Jaguars gave up some big runs to Darren McFadden last week and they should expect a lot of work from Marshawn Lynch. After a light load in week 1, Lynch got 28 carries against the 49ers and really wore out their defense. Roy Miller was brought in to eat up blocks and he’s going to have to do that consistently to give guys like Geno Hayes and Paul Posluszny lanes to get to Lynch. The Jaguars need to do a lot of things right to win this Sunday, but it starts with stopping Lynch.
– Daniel Lago
Yell at me on Twitter @dlago89