Four Down Territory: Jacksonville Takes on the New York Jets
By David Levin
After a week of analyzing and over analyzing the loss to the Tennessee Titans, the Jacksonville Jaguars face the New York Jets from TIAA Bank Field.
Hopefully, a week makes a big difference. A week ago, we all thought these Jacksonville Jaguars would slam the Tennessee Titans into TIAA BAnk Field, win their third game in a row, and take a commanding lead in the AFC South division.
Something happened last Sunday. We were all wrong.
We have analyzed, asked questions of the coaching staff and players. We have wondered if this team can regroup from ONE LOSS. We have even questioned if this team is good enough to make the playoffs.
OK, everyone. This is a new week. Another chance to make a statement. The New York Jets come to town looking to shock everyone after losing to the Cleveland Browns last Thursday night.
A rookie quarterback leads this team into a game where the Jaguars held Tennessee to nine points and hope to rattle the neophyte enough to make mistakes.
Maybe I should go ahead and get this out of the way. Jaguars 31 Jets 17.
If the Jaguars are to win on Sunday, look for these four things to happen.
First Down – Open up the Playbook
Which Jacksonville Jaguars offense will show up? Regardless of one game against the Patriots, the Jaguars have looked anemic at times moving the football. This is a chance for offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett to once again make a statement.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are not just a defensive juggernaut.
Fans now expect to see Blake Bortles the efficient quarterback who throws for 300 yards on a consistent basis. They want to see Keelan Cole continue to develop as a No. 1 wide receiver. This is a game where a 30-point outburst and 400 yards of offense isn’t mandatory, but it should be the goal.
Second Down – Limiting the Running Game
Bilal Powell and Isaiah Crowell come to town, facing a defense that gave up 150 yards rushing to the Tennessee Titans last week.
It won’t happen this week.
The Jaguars looked good against the run against the New York Giants (sans one run by rookie Saquon Barkley) and the New England Patriots. The Titans used their running game to set up three field goals to win the game.
The Jaguars interior defense, led by Malik Jackson, Marcell Dareus and Abry Jones should play a more cohesive game against the Jets today than the team did last season.
Seeing the Jets run for over 250 yards today is unthinkable.
Third Down – The Running Game Comes Alive
Leonard Fournette took to this Twitter page to announce he was playing and then removed the tweet. Cryptic, yes. A telling message, maybe.
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Media members saw Fournette practice two weeks ago prior to the Patriots game and then he was scratched. ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter took to his Twitter account last week to announce Fournette would play, then wrote less than an hour later he was being held out.
T.J. Yeldon was not on the final injury report but is still dealing with an ankle injury. Corey Grant can start and be effective. This team must run the football effectively today.
Fourth Down – Austin Seferian-Jenkins Makes a Statement
Of all the Jaguars playing today, I am most interested in seeing how the team uses Austin Seferian-Jenkins in passing situations. Will this be a 100-yard game for the former New York Jets tight end?
Seferian-Jenkins has caught a touchdown pass this season against the Patriots but has been MIA in this offense otherwise. Does the connection with Bortles click today? Does Hackett find a way to incorporate the position more?
I think of this passing game gets rolling, No. 88 will have at least one touchdown today.