The Jacksonville Jaguars have been killed by turnovers all season long and will need to protect the ball if they want to beat the Minnesota Vikings.
I’ve grown tired of demanding Blake Bortles and the offense protect the ball during games all season long. As a fan of the team, I know that my demands are rarely (read: never) considered when the Jacksonville Jaguars take the field.
Still, week after week, I feel compelled to remind the Jaguars to take care of the football and stop the turnovers.
Fortunately, it isn’t just my voice calling for this either. Others, particularly the Jags’ own senior writer John Oehser, are calling for it as well. You can feel the frustration in Oehser’s recent 10 things column:
"You know how you rank No. 4 in the NFL in total defense and still have a 2-10 record? Well … many reasons – but chief among them is a league-worst minus-18 turnover ratio. You. Can. Not. Win. Doing. That."
That frustration is felt by each and every Jags fan each and every week. When Bortles drops back to pass we don’t expect big plays, we cringe and hope he doesn’t throw an interception; which inevitably happens. When the running backs bust a big play, we pray they won’t fumble it. It’s to the point where we, as fans, cannot enjoy even the pleasant time watching the game because there are so many concerns once the ball is snapped.
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That -18 turnover ratio is the biggest one. Oehser hit it right on the head. Without turnovers, the Jags have at least a few losses turned into wins. Without turnovers, this team would be getting respect for its resurgence in the long, tiring rebuild.
But the turnovers exist.
The Minnesota Vikings defense is no joke. They limit teams in scoring (fourth in the NFL) and accumulating yards (third). Each and every down is going to be a fight for the Jags offense. If they hope to come away victorious, they absolutely cannot move the ball without scoring. That happens way too often and is the prime reason they outgain opponents and still lose.
So, again for another week in a row, I harp on keeping the ball safe. The Jags absolutely must if they hope to even score on the Vikings.