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With a 2-5 record, the Jacksonville Jaguars sit in a rather curious position in regards to making the postseason. Despite manufacturing a 4-game losing streak, including 3 straight losses to the murderer’s row ofMatt Hasselbeck
, andBrian Hoyer
, the Jaguars are only half of a game behind the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts for first place in the AFC South.
Looking ahead, the Jaguars have an easy schedule that seemingly gets easier every week thanks to injuries and declining play by their prospective opponents.
First on the docket is a New York Jets team that has seen their prospects change drastically over the last 2 weeks. Heading into New England with a 4-1 record and plenty of confidence, the Jets lost a close one to the Patriots before getting blasted by the Oakland Raiders last week. The Jets are in full disaster mode now with their top 2 quarterbacks (Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith) both injured and their defense licking their heels after allowing Derek Carr to put up 4 touchdowns through the air.
Turning the focus over to the Jaguars, this is a prime opportunity for Blake Bortles and company to get their first road win in almost 2 calendar years. The Jaguars are likely going to face rookie Bryce Petty behind center, a matchup that should give the away team a huge advantage. In London, Jacksonville did a good job of pressuring EJ Manuel early in the contest, forcing 3 turnovers, 2 of which were returned for touchdowns by the defense. Unfortunately, the Jaguars have let mediocre-to-poor quarterbacks perform extremely well outside of that short stretch against the Bills.
There are plenty of other matchups that will affect the outcome of this Sunday’s game, but there is nothing more important and more vital to the Jaguars’ success than taking advantage of the fact that they will be playing an inexperienced quarterback. Even if the Jets opt to sign another QB instead of throwing Petty to the fire, the Jaguars can’t allow whoever stands behind center to have a good game. Whether it’s throwing some exotic blitzes or conjuring up some complex coverages, there’s no reason the Jacksonville coaching staff shouldn’t capitalize on this opportunity.
It’s time for this Jaguars defense to step up and shut down an opposing offense.