Can the Jaguars defeat one of the better teams not only in the NFC but in the NFL this weekend?
The Jacksonville Jaguars are favored by a narrow margin to defeat the New Orleans Saints. Jacksonville is playing well enough to win on the offensive side of the ball to win, but the defense will need to step up this weekend at TIAA Bank Field.
The Jaguars are currently 2-3 in a very competitive division. In order to remain relevant in the playoff hunt, the team needs to win this game. The chances are good since quarterback Drew Brees is still on the sidelines. The Saints have a 4-1 record without Brees under center, which has caused great surprise among fans of the team and the league.
The Jaguars need to stop or slow down several Saints players in order to win the game. The players the Jaguars must be aware of are running back Alvin Kamara, wide receiver Michael Thomas, defensive lineman Cameron Jordan and cornerback Marshon Lattimore.
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Kamara is a successful all-purpose running back who is rated 26th on ESPN’s list of the top 100 players. He hasn’t been the focus of the offense this season but still has 75 rushes for 342 yards and 26 receptions for 241 yards. After last week and the success of Christian McCaffrey, the Jaguars defense needs to have a plan for the talented back.
Thomas, wide receiver, is ranked10th on the ESPN Top 100 players list. He has 45 receptions for 543 yards and 3 touchdowns in 2019. He has had double-digit receptions in three of the five games he’s played, with nine receptions in one game, and five in another.
Lattimore is ranked 53rd on the ESPN Top 100 players list. He didn’t allow Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans to make a single catch and held Amari Cooper of Dallas to under 50 yards without a touchdown.
"“He comes to play when the moment brightens…Evans has 5 inches and nearly 30 pounds on the former Ohio State corner,” writes Nathan Beighle of Who Dat Dish."
Wide receiver DJ Chark will have his hands full this week.
Jordan is ranked 34th on the ESPN Top 100 list. He currently has 19 tackles and three sacks. In 2018 he was selected to his fourth Pro Bowl. He was an All-Pro for two consecutive seasons. The Jaguars must be prepared for his pass rush.
Despite the temporary loss of Brees the Saints have many great players, solid coaching, a rabid fan base and play with pride. The game will be played on the Jaguars home field. They don’t face the daunting task of playing in New Orleans and dealing with the noise. The Jaguars will make adjustments for the game that hurt them last week.
Jacksonville has its own weapons. Gardner Minshew, has shown leadership, great accuracy, and a calm attitude.
He has also won Rookie of the Week four times this season.
The running game with Leonard Fournette is starting to come together and the young core of receivers is better than many thought. The coaches need to keep working with the offensive line and possibly shuffle starters. The defense needs to bounce back from the Carolina Panthers game. A few tweaks may be in order.
The Jaguars will win this game on their home field and jump back into the playoff conversation because this is a game then can win and must win to remain relevant this season.