Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Seattle Seahawks: Key matchup, X-factor, and Prediction

JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 03: Jacoby Brissett /

The Jacksonville Jaguars play their most important game in recent years Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.

The buzz is palpable around this one.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are gearing up for a potential statement game against one of the league’s perennial winners, the Seattle Seahawks. Both teams enter the game at 8-4, with playoff aspirations well within reach.

The Jaguars have won five of their last six games, and are coming off of a 30-10 beat down of the Indianapolis Colts. The Seahawks made an impression last week as well, with an impressive 24-10 home win over the Philadelphia Eagles, and appear to be heating up at the right time of the season once again.

Jacksonville has a major opportunity on Sunday afternoon. Take down the Seahawks in what will be a playoff type atmosphere, and show the rest of the league that the Jaguars will be a dangerous team to have to face in January.

A preview of the crucial week 14 battle:

Key Matchup

Jaguars Front Seven vs. Russell Wilson

The Jaguars’ biggest advantage on the Seahawks is in the trenches. Jacksonville boasts the league’s best rush, going up against a struggling Seattle offensive line. But the priority on Sunday is not about just getting pressure on Russell Wilson. The Jaguars have to get him to the ground.

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Wilson is without a doubt the catalyst behind the Seahawks’ success this season, and much like previous seasons, has been a magician behind center. Wilson has made a living on being an escape artist and extending plays, making something from absolutely nothing countless times.

Teams have gotten pressure against Seattle’s offensive line all season, and that will certainly be the case with the stout defensive line in Jacksonville. But the Jaguars must not only get heat on Wilson, they have to be disciplined and play fundamentally sound, and bring him to the ground. If Wilson is allowed to escape the pocket, he is going to make plays. Whether it’s buying extra time to find a receiver down the field or taking off with the ball to try to gain yards with his legs, Jacksonville’s front seven must be prepared to shut down Wilson’s escapability.

“Sacksonville” is the appointed name of the Jaguars defensive line, and deservedly so. On Sunday against Russell Wilson, guys like Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue must make sure they pad the stat sheet with sacks rather than just quarterback hurries.

For the linebacker group (especially with the potential absence again of Telvin Smith), Myles Jack and Paul Posluszny have to stay in position and not over-pursue, and keep Wilson’s scrambling to minimal yards and not allow him to break big runs.

Russell Wilson is going to do everything he can to make big plays on the league’s top defense. The Jaguars have to be ready to shut him down in more than one facet of the game.


Tashaun Gibson/Barry Church

Included both of the starting Jaguars safeties because both Tashaun Gibson and Barry Church will be vital in patrolling the deep ball on Sunday. It’s a safe bet that both Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye will handle each of their respective sides of the field and keep Doug Baldwin and Paul Richardson in check. Gibson and Church need to keep contain of their area, and not allow any passes to be completing over the top of the defense.

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As important, the safeties need to aid in keeping Jimmy Graham‘s name unheard as much as possible on Sunday. The Jaguars have notoriously had some issues with guarding the tight end position. The Seahawks, like each week, are going to look to Graham often in the passing game. Some of the responsibility of guarding Graham will fall on the linebackers, with emphasis seemingly on Myles Jack. But Tashaun Gibson and Barry Church have to be ready to eliminate Graham’s touches down the field, as well as thwart any deep shots by the Seahawks.


The Jaguars pulling out the biggest win of this decade all hinges on containing Russell Wilson. The Jacksonville defense hasn’t been afraid of any challengers this season, and are assuredly looking forward to the opportunity of disrupting the Seahawks quarterback.

The offense has to take shots downfield, particularly early in the game. Attack Seattle early and often, obtain a lead, and let the defense go to work. Blake Bortles does not have to throw the ball all around the yard, but mistake-free decision making will be imperative. A performance resembling his game last week vs. the Colts would almost certainly secure a victory. As important will be getting Leonard Fournette back on track, and making sure he has a heavy dose of yardage.

Jalen Ramsey made it clear this week, in typical Jalen fashion, that the Jaguars don’t view the Seattle Seahawks as a superior team and are in no way intimated by the visitors.

The Jaguars are poised and ready to prove they don’t take a backseat to any team. Jacksonville, in front of an electric home crowd in EverBank Field, secures a massive December victory.

Jaguars-20 Seahawks-17