With Playoffs looming, Jacksonville Jaguars must win Sunday

GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 26: Chandler Jones
GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 26: Chandler Jones /

The Jacksonville Jaguars must win on Sunday to remain in favorable playoff position.

The Jaguars came out flat for the third straight game against a lesser opponent this past Sunday, dropping a heartbreaker to the Arizona Cardinals. The loss was made worse due to the fact that it came at the hands of former Jaguars signal caller, Blaine Gabbert. Questionable play calling and atrocious quarterback play torpedoed the Jaguars chance to extend a winning streak to 5.

Upcoming this Sunday is a matchup with divisional foe, the Indianapolis Colts. With the loss to the Cardinals, the Jaguars dropped from the 3rd to the 5th seed in the AFC playoff race. To remain in control of their own destiny, the Jaguars must beat the Colts, likely setting up a winner take all game Week 17 vs. the Tennessee Titans in Nashville.

Keys to the victory this Sunday:

Make it easy for Blake Bortles

Outside of a few anomalies, Blake Bortles has once again been terrible this season. Much has been made of the Giant’s decision to bench Eli Manning and the possibility of Eli and Tom Coughlin reuniting in Duval. Whether or not you would be in favor of this move, Eli is not on the roster, and Blake Bortles is the starting quarterback for the time being. Nate Hackett, the Jaguars’ OC, must make it easy for his quarterback, minimizing the amount of decisions he has to make and hopefully putting him in favorable spots when the ball is in his hands.

While this plan is not foolproof, as seen by the horrendous interception Bortles threw late in the fourth quarter last week. Since the Chargers game when Bortles threw the ball 51 times, it seems that Hackett has put more trust into Bortles and allowed him to throw the ball more than he did earlier in the season.

Score Points early in the game

The Jaguars are a team built upon a strong running game and an even stronger defense. Teams that mainly rely on the run game for offensive production are not built to play from a deficit late in the game and try and come from behind. The defense has bailed the offense out time and time again and won games single-handedly for the team, but eventually they were going to give up a big play that Bortles and Co. could not come back from. This came in the form of a 52 yard touchdown from Jaron Brown. If the Jaguars can get Leonard Fournette going early on, the game will play into what they do best: pounding the rock and shutting offenses down.

The Jaguars game this Sunday will be critical to the outcome for the rest of the season, especially considering the Titans will be facing off versus the Houston Texans, a team they should beat. Luckily for the Jaguars, the game will be at Everbank field and will be against a weak team they have already manhandled earlier this season.