After four up-and-down seasons since being drafted in 2009, left tackle Eugene Monroe was shipped off to the Baltimore Ravens for a fourth and fifth round pick. While this is a logical move in the long term, it puts the Jaguars at a pretty severe disadvantage heading into their week 5 game against the St. Louis Rams. Anchored by Chris Long and a suddenly monstrous Robert Quinn, the Rams pass rush is going to present a huge problem for the Jaguars and their reshuffled offensive line.
With that sunny outlook in mind, here are a couple off-the-cuff predictions about this Sunday’s game:
Robert Quinn will have a sack: FICTION
Wait, didn’t I just explain that the Jaguars are going to have a hard time against the Rams pass rush? I sure did, but I’m putting all my faith in Luke Joeckel starting at his natural position over at left tackle. Quinn has 5 sacks on the season to go along with 10 QB hurries, but Joeckel has actually played pretty well in pass blocking – especially given the added difficulty of switching over to the right side. Shutting down Quinn is a lot to ask of Joeckel, but I think he’ll rise to the occasion.
Blaine Gabbert will have +200 yards passing: FACT
Cecil Shorts III is tied for the league lead in targets (51) with A.J. Green. Clearly Gabbert needs other targets to emerge in the passing game and luckily he regains the services of second year player Justin Blackmon this week. Blackmon really cemented himself as a dependable option towards the end of last season and his conditioning, attitude, and overall approach has impressed head coach Gus Bradley. If Gabbert can manage to play even a mediocre game he should crack 200.
Maurice Jones-Drew will average 3.5+ yards/carry : FACT
According to Pro Football Focus, the Rams have the second worst run defense in the entire league. They’re giving up 4.6 yards per attempt and were shredded by Frank Gore and DeMarco Murray in the last two games. MJD is going to have a breakout game at some point and this is his best chance.
The Rams are not a good football team and they are being favored by as much as 11 points. Until the Jaguars play competitive football for more than a quarter spreads like that are going to continue. This is their last “winnable-looking” game in the near future, but I still don’t see them pulling off the upset.
Prediction: Rams 28- Jaguars 23
– Daniel Lago
Yell at me on Twitter @dlago89