Jaguars Face the Jets: Three bold predictions for Sunday
By David Levin
The Jacksonville Jaguars will face the New York Jets on Sunday in the fourth game of the 2018 season. Here are three bold predictions for the Jaguars in their quest to finish the first quarter if the season 3-1.
Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey was direct as always when asked about playing against a rookie quarterback this week when the New York Jets and Sam Darnold come to town.
While this might be a situation where other teams would be licking their chops, looking to manhandle a neophyte in the battles of the NFL, Ramsey said this team has to be prepared for Danold like the defense would any other signal caller.
“He can make some throws. He was a high draft pick for a reason. We believe in him, their team believes in him, so we have to be prepared and do what we do,” Ramsey said when he met with the media on Thursday after practice.
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Truth is, Danold looks the part of NFL quarterback, but he has not played against a defense like this one so far in his professional education. How he responds to the pass rush and the secondary, which is considered one of the best in the league will help determine his team’s fate.
The Jaguars don’t want to become one of those trivia questions pertaining to a rookie’s success this season.
While the media and the fans continue to writhe over the team’s loss to the Tennessee Titans last week, this franchise has turned the page, focusing on this weekend as a chance to get back on track to refocus on winning and making the playoffs.
This game could be the prescription the Jaguars need to put the NFL back on notice that they are for real and to hoist a Lombardi Trophy.
Here are three bold predictions for this weekend.
200 Yards Rushing
It does not matter if it is Leonard Fournette who does it all by himself or it is a combined effort from the Jaguars running backs. But a 200-yard outage does a couple of things.
First, it puts opponents on notice this is still a run-first offense. Second, it helps open the passing game if teams are putting seven or eight men in the box to stop the run.
The Jaguars are still a “ground and pound” offense predicated on pushing the ball downfield on first and second down. Fournette has been out of action for 10 quarters of football now. Let’s see how well the hamstring has healed.
Nightmares for Danold
What if the Jaguars defense swarms like bees, forcing Darnold into rookie mistakes from the opening snap? While the Jaguars held the Titans to three field goals last week, they can still improve.
Darnold is going to have successes and failures this season. Against this defense, he cannot be allowed to move the football down the field with efficiency. That also means Ramsey and the secondary cannot let him find open receivers underneath for third down conversions.
I suspect while Ramsey talked about respecting the rookie from USC for being a solid player, deep down the defense knows it can rattle the youngster early and often.
Taking it to the House
The special teams tried a trick play last week and failed to make the first down. This week, could a return for a touchdown be in the offing?
While Logan Cooke has had moments with punting and Josh Lambo continues to defy logic, what has the return game done? It would be a huge boost to the team if Jaydon Mickens broke off a huge play, taking one back for a touchdown.
If not Mickens, Dede Westbrook could also have a huge day in the return game.