Jaguars vs Panthers: 3 reasons why the Jaguars will win
With the Jacksonville Jaguars’ first regular season game finally here, its time for all the offseason hype and predictions to come to the forefront.
The Jags were very active this offseason and they seem poised to show improvement.
Jacksonville will get their chance to display their progression when the bruised up Carolina Panthers come to town. The Panthers will likely be without star defensive tackle Star Lotulelei and wideout Kelvin Benjamin. They also have some key players who are limping into the first game, starting defensive end Charles Johnson missed the entire preseason due to calf and neck injuries and starting center Ryan Kalil has been dealing with a sprained knee.
However, the Jaguars are in a similar situation, and they will be without starting tight end Julius Thomas, star defensive tackle Sen’derrick Marks, defensive end Andre Branch, and likely second year wideout Marqise lee as well.
Despite the Jaguars also entering the regular season with some injuries, I am very confident that the Jags will start the season 1-0 for the first time since 2011 and here’s why.
1. The Jaguars improved offensive line
The Jaguars did a solid job of improving the offensive line this offseason with the additions of Jermey Parnell, Stefen Wisniewski, and A.J. Cann. New Jaguars offensive line coach Doug Marrone is a great addition to the coaching staff as well as he brings plenty of experience and knowledge to the offensive line.
A big reason why the Jaguars struggled so much offensively last season is because Blake Bortles was constantly being rushed by opposing defenses and their was little time for offensive plays to develop.
The hiring of new offensive coordinator Greg Olson should benefit the offensive line because his playbook seems to fit well with the zone blocking scheme. Olson’s offensive scheme should help open up the running game as well, and the addition of T.J. Yeldon should lead to more big plays.
2. The Panthers defensive line will struggle
With Star Lotulelei likely out, the Panthers won’t have the anchor of their defensive line. The Jaguars seem committed to leaning on the rushing attack to set up their offense and the loss of Lotuleli could make a serious impact. Also the passs rush of the Panthers has been far from consistent, defensive end Charles Johnson is getting up there in age and he hasn’t been healthy all preseason and left end Kony Early looked solid in the preseason but he is still unproven.
Aug 28, 2015; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars free safety Sergio Brown (38) reacts after breaking up a pass in the third quarter of a preseason NFL football game against the Detroit Lions at EverBank Field. The Detroit Lions won 22-17. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports
3. The improved Jaguars secondary
The Jaguars will have three new faces in the secondary this year with the addition of Davon House, Sergio Brown, and James Sample. Starting safety Johnathan Cyprien will be back in the starting lineup after missing the majority of the pre season and he is expected to show growth in his third season.
The secondary surely has more depth than it did last season and it should be evident against an unproven Panthers receiving core. Panthers rookie wideout Devin Funchess was expected to take Kelvin Benjamin’s spot in the depth chart but he is currently not listed as a starter because he has struggled to stay healthy as well.
Their current staring receivers are Ted Ginn Jr. and Corey “Philly’ Brown (a player who struggled with drops in the preseason), so the edge would seem to go the Jaguars secondary even with the Panthers having a healthy Greg Olsen.
The Panthers are favored to win by three but I am very confident that this young Jaguars team will be able to execute and start the season with a victory. This weekend will provide the ultimate proof but I believe Jaguars fans will be pleased with the teams progression after their first game.
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