Jacksonville Jaguars vs New Orleans Saints: 3 keys

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As the Jacksonville Jaguars enter week 16 with a 5-9 record, It’s hard to believe the 2015 season is nearing an end. In last weeks matchup against the Atlanta Falcons, the Jaguars squandered several key opportunities and gave away two fumbles in losing to the Atlanta Falcons. Blake Bortles had another solid performance, finishing with 297 passing yards and 1 touchdown, however, he threw a costly interception, which negated a possible late score, and any potential Jaguars momentum before entering the locker room at halftime.

Against the Falcons, The Jaguars defense disappointed due to a weakened pass rush and ability to stop their opponent on 3rd downs. The Falcons were 7/14 on third down conversions, compared to the Jaguars, who were unable to convert on any third down attempts. If the Jaguars want to see any improvement regarding their win total, then it must start on the defensive side of the ball. That leads in perfectly to my first key to the game.

Dec 13, 2015; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Charlie Whitehurst (6) looks to throw the ball as Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Andre Branch (90) defends in the fourth quarter at EverBank Field. The Jacksonville Jaguars won 51-16. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

1. Get After the Quarterback

Coming into this matchup, the Saints are probably very confident that they will be able to throw all over the Jaguars defense and could you blame them? The Jacksonville Jaguar defense comes into this contest ranking 25th in the NFL against the pass. Personally, it feels as if the reality is much worse than that.

The New Orleans Saints are ranked as the number one passing offense in the NFL and as a Jaguar fan that makes me quite nervous. Drew Brees is having another fantastic season and is currently number four in the NFL in passing yards with 4,135. In addition, he’s averaging 318.1 passing yards per game, which is the second highest in the NFL. Plantar Fascia foot pain, or not, he’s still one of the more formidable arm slingers to fear in the game today. Peyton Manning who?

The Jaguars secondary reminds me of the counter measures the evil empire takes to shield the Death Star/Star Killer Base (There is your star wars reference – you’re welcome). They sort of just hover about and act surprised when a few wide receivers/X-wings somehow wiggle through their underwhelming defense and drop one in the end zone.

Jacksonville still needs a lot of help in the secondary, and if they want stop the super powered passing offense of the Saints, they will need to effectively rush the quarterback on a more consistent basis. If you give Drew Brees the time to sit back and pick apart your defense, then he will do it all game long. When you aren’t a team that has a lot of playmakers in the secondary then the best way to slow down a teams passing attack is to get after the quarterback.

This weeks road matchup against the Saints is very important for Jacksonville and if they are indeed victorious than expect players like Andre Branch, Ryan Davis and Chris Clemons to have a big day.

Next: Blake Bortles Save Us