Can the Jaguars continue to gain momentum after last week’s win while hurting the Broncos chances of making it out of the AFC West cellar?
The Jacksonville Jaguars and the Denver Broncos haven’t met since 2016. Both franchises are in “must-win” mode at the quarter post of the 2019 season. The Jaguars are currently 1-2 while the Broncos are winless at 0-3.
I see this as an interesting game, one that hopefully will be fun to watch. These teams rarely meet, so there isn’t as much familiarity as facing a division rival. The Jaguars would love to steal a road game and the Broncos just want to win. Jacksonville has had problems winning on the road out west in the past.
The once-proud Denver franchise has fallen on hard times. The days of John Elway (as a player), Terrell Davis, and Champ Bailey are gone and memories in the record books. The current team has some very good players like running back Phillip Lindsay and Von Miller and Bradley Chubb, who are both linebackers.
The Broncos have been on a quarterback search since Peyton Manning retired and had little success. First came Brock Osweiler, then it was Trevor Siemian, next came Paxton Lynch, and finally Case Keenum. The latest version of the Broncos quarterback carousel is Super Bowl winner Joe Flacco.
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Could he be their next Manning? That is highly unlikely. The Jaguars have had difficulty finding a quarterback as well.
The Jaguars have moved up in NFL.com’s latest power rankings, making believers of analysts who are buying into the Gardner Minshew show. As Dan Hanzus wrote, the defense is getting stronger by the moment and Minshew’s cult-hero status is growing by the second.
"“Sacksonville is back, baby!” Those were the celebratory words of Yannick Ngakoue at the end of Thursday night’s resounding victory over the AFC South rival Titans,” Hanzus adds.“Calais Campbell had three of nine sacks for the Jags, who held Tennessee scoreless until the fourth quarter and generally looked the far superior team. The win quiets the noise around cornerback Jalen Ramsey’s future with the team … for one night, at least. The Jags’ offense had an up-and-down outing, but the team has to be thrilled with the play of Gardner Minshew II.”"
The Jaguars moved seven spots to 18th from last week following Thursday night’s win. The Broncos, on the other hand, are spiraling toward the bottom of the NFL’s cellar. They fell one spot to 28th overall this week.
"“Emmanuel Sanders summed it up nicely after the Broncos fell to 0-3. “We’re trying to get it right, right now we’re 0-3, living in a world of suck.” Sanders had a quiet game against the Packers, which made him pretty much like everyone not named Phillip Lindsay on the Denver offense,” Hanzus explains.“Moving the ball downfield is hard work with 2019 Joe Flacco at the controls. Chunk plays are virtually non-existent, and every yard is earned during marathon marches that often lead nowhere. A flat offense is only part of the problem, however: Almost impossibly, a Broncos defense led by Von Miller and Bradley Chubb is still looking for its first sack through three weeks.”"
The Broncos may have a running game, but the offense seems lost in motion. The defense is still trying to get itself going. That leaves the Jaguars in the driver’s seat. The Black and Teal offense has shown steady improvement each week under the direction of Minshew. The offensive line and running game have been an issue but it seems much more hopeful to face a defense that has no sacks or forced turnovers.
Even with a lack of pressure from Denver’s defense over the first three week’s of the season Jacksonville can’t get complacent.
The Jaguars defense played lights out last week. The Broncos offense has an excellent runner in Lindsey but the rest of their offense has lived on life support.
The biggest obstacle for the Jaguars is the mile-high air. This will be an adjustment for most of the players and the coaching staff will need to take this into account.
I see no reason the Jaguars won’t win this game.