Can the Jaguars not only win their third straight game this weekend but can they win a second straight game in a row on the road?
The Jacksonville Jaguars and the Carolina Panthers franchises were both awarded in the 1990s and the teams started playing NFL football In 1995. Both teams are celebrating their 25th anniversary of NFL play.
Both teams have plenty in common as they face off this season for the first time since 2015. The teams have played six times in their existence, splitting them 3-3.
The Jaguars and Panthers are playing with young back up quarterbacks and are blessed with excellent defenses. Each team has a high-powered running back. On the flip side, both teams have suspect offensive lines.
A side note, both teams have a big cat mascot.
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Jacksonville and Carolina have gotten on youth and experience at the quarterback position so far this season. Nick Foles of the Jaguars suffered a broken clavicle and the Panthers Cam Newton has a Lisfranc injury. Both Gardner Minshew and Kyle Allen have played well in their place. Minshew is considered a candidate for the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
Allen for the Panthers has started and won the two games he has played for the Panthers, completing 71 percent of his passes.
"As stated on Panthers Wire, “Jacksonville has a mean defensive line and some tough cover corners on the back end. If this game were played on a neutral field, they’d probably be considered dead even.”"
As of now, the Panthers are favored at home by 3-5 points.
There are plenty of similarities in the running game for each offense. Both Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey were taken in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Fournette was drafted fourth overall and McCaffrey was drafted eighth. Each is amongst the leaders rushing yards, Fournette carrying the ball 72 times for 404 yards and has caught 16 passes for 404 yards.
McCaffrey has rushed 86 times for 411 yards and caught 25 passes for 218 yards. He is currently the Offensive Player of the Month as my brother, who is a Panthers fan, was delighted to tell me, both young runners face tough defenses and run behind imperfect offensive lines.
That’s a story we have followed quite a bit recently involving the Jaguars.
Speaking of the offensive line, the one which is able to run block better this afternoon will have an edge.
"According to Tim Weaver of Panthers Wire, “The best laid plans in the NFL are often undone by poor line play. It’s been a recurring theme for the Carolina Panthers ever since their offensive line got destroyed by Von Miller and the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50. With a few exceptions, the unit seems to have regressed steadily since then. In 2019, it’s graduated to a full-on liability.”"
The Jaguars offensive line has had ongoing issues as well. They committed numerous holding and motion penalties and had problems pass blocking and run blocking. This should improve as they learn to play as a unit. The group had its best game of the season last week against the Broncos as Fournette ran for 225 yards.
This game is also one I will follow closely because my family is split in their allegiance. I live in Northeast Florida (and love the Jaguars) and my brother Bobby lives in North Carolina and swears by his Panthers. I will tell you right now that the Jaguars must win this game.