Are they really better than last year?: Game Preview against the Raiders
By Zoltan Paksa
X-factor which favors the Jaguars:
The Jaguars have suffered in recent years when they must travel to the West Coast. Hopefully, that will swing the other way for this game. Oakland has their own travel woes this season, when they’ve left California. They have had 4 road games outside their home state, compiling a 1-3 record, with the only victory coming against a familiar foe and divisional rival, Denver. Both of their 1 o’clock games were losses.
X-factor which favors the Raiders:
John Henderson. This week he made comments about how the Jaguars treated him unprofessionally and to be honest, I too didn’t like the way the front office cut him after openly shopping him for the entire draft. Sadly, he is not the first great ex-Jaguar to have made negative comments towards the franchise in recent years. I’m sure he will be fired up and will come to exact some revenge on Sunday. He knows this offensive line, he knows Maurice Drew, so the Jaguars won’t be surprising him and I think he can play a major role in this game. I’m also really interested to see how Kirk Morrison plays against his former team. I hope he will be as great an impact as Big John will be for Oakland.
Now let’s return to the opening points of the article. The Jaguars are still in the driver’s seat and even if they lose this weekend, they control their fate in the division. But it will be a huge difference to go into Indianapolis with a one game lead, rather than just tied for the first place. How huge? If the Jaguars beat the Raiders and the Ravens beat the Texans on Monday Night Football, the Jaguars can clinch the division with a win in Lucas Oil Stadium. 3 games must fall in the Jaguars’ favor if they are to fulfill the wildest dreams of the fan base – winning the division for the first time since 1999, with their first sweep of the Colts as a delicious little cherry on top.
At this time last year, the Jaguars were also 7-5 and played a team very similar to the Oakland Raiders at home on Week 14 – the Miami Dolphins. We all know how well that game turned out. The Jaguars couldn’t move those chains on offense and the Dolphins out-rushed the Jaguars all day long (ironically, John Henderson did not play in that game). Lately, we hear how this 7-5 team is different and stronger then last year’s 7-5 team. For me, this game will be the ultimate test if this theory is right or wrong. I expect a very close dogfight once again and a 1-3 point win at best for the Jaguars. But if the Jaguars win with a bigger difference and dominate this game – then they are for real and I think they will win the AFC South!
Prediction: Jaguars 24- Raiders 23