Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Arizona Cardinals: Key matchup, x-factor, and prediction

JACKSONVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 12: Calais Campbell /

The Jacksonville Jaguars are rolling along at 7-3. Can they stay hot in the desert on Sunday against the Cardinals?

After a fourth straight win, the Jacksonville Jaguars have made it difficult for themselves to fall out of the playoff race in the AFC. But now is not the time to get complacent, as there are big goals still in sight, like a division title and perhaps a first round bye in January.

The next challenger to the Jaguars win streak is the Arizona Cardinals, and former Jacksonville first round pick Blaine Gabbert, who is making the start at quarterback.

The Cardinals are 4-6 and their odds of making the playoffs are almost non-existent, but they will come out on Sunday with a plan to put a dent in Jacksonville’s promising success, and Gabbert would love to steal a win from his former team.

More from Jacksonville Jaguars News

The Jaguars have this final game in November on the road before entering a crucial three game home stand to start December. Jacksonville has continued to ignore the noise surrounding their resurgence, and have kept fighting and winning games.

Will that continue against the Cardinals? A preview of the week 12 game in Arizona:

Key Matchup

Jalen Ramsey vs. Larry Fitzgerald

How fun is this battle going to be to watch? The young lock-down corner going up against the future Hall of Fame receiver.

With Blaine Gabbert starting for the Cardinals, he is going to depend heavily on Larry Fitzgerald Sunday to try to get anything going against this Jacksonville secondary. But even with a player like Fitzgerald, throwing to Jalen Ramsey’s side of the field is never a good bet.

Ramsey hasn’t backed down from a challenge since entering the league, and that’s not changing any time soon. He lives for these kinds of moments, and more importantly has thrived in them. Ramsey would love nothing more than to make Fitzgerald a non-factor, like he has done to many teams’ number one receivers this season.

It’s best against best in this matchup, and both Ramsey and Fitzgerald won’t hold back in trying to get the better of each other.


WR Dede Westbrook

Last week against the Browns, Dede Westbrook fell 165 yards short of his 200 yards receiving prediction in his season debut. But you can’t hate the guy for having confidence in himself. On Sunday, expect Westbrook to come closer to that number against the Cardinals. Not saying he will get anywhere near 200, but he will have a much bigger impact in game two.

The wide receiver unit is ailing, to say the least. Allen Robinson was lost for the year, and Allen Hurns is still out with the ankle injury suffered at the end of the Chargers game. Marqise Lee has been thrown into the WR1 position, and will be the focal point for Arizona’s secondary.

Someone is going to need to step up and help carry the load through the air, which is where Westbrook comes in. Look for Westbrook to not only get more time on the field this week after getting his feet wet in Cleveland, but to also get far more than the three receptions he reeled in his debut.

Marqise Lee will still be the go-to guy of the receiver group, but Dede Westbrook will be heavily featured, and perhaps even secure his first touchdown as a Jaguar.


The Jaguars offense will have a more efficient performance than the one we saw last week that resulted in just one touchdown. Leonard Fournette will have over 100 yards rushing again, as well as a touchdown run. Blake Bortles won’t light up the stat sheet, but will do enough to move the chains and connect on a couple deep shots down the field to keep the Cardinals defense honest.

On the opposite side, we in Jacksonville experienced the kind of quarterback that Blaine Gabbert is for three years. How is there any way that he finds success against this Jaguars defense?

Answer: He doesn’t.

Just can’t conceive any scenario where Gabbert can lead a effective offense against Jacksonville. The defense is going to have another dominating day, and be a nightmare for Gabbert and the rest of the Arizona offense. It will be another multi-sack performance, to add to the league-leading total, as well as another game with creating at least one turnover.

The Jaguars control the game and notch win number five in a row, to hit the three game home stretch on a high note.

Jaguars-24 Cardinals- 9