Jaguars: Three Ways to Beat the Titans on Sunday
If the Jaguars want to hold onto their slim playoff chances, then these three things have to happen on Sunday.
The Jacksonville Jaguars season wasn’t supposed to turn out like this.
At 4-6 and clinging to their playoff lives, the Jaguars season wasn’t supposed to turn out like this. Maybe it’s time to close the book on the postseason and focus on the games remaining, hoping to salvage what is left of the 2019 campaign.
After only five wins in 2018 and an offense that was battered and bruised, change was supposed to do this franchise a little good. As we know that didn’t happen. The game today against Tennessee offers the Jaguars a chance to make a statement.
I still believe this is an opportunity for Jacksonville, it’s coaching staff and the players to show they still have some fight left in them. And if they are going to win on Sunday, these three things have to happen.
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Wiping the dust off – Will we see the real Nick Foles this week in Tennessee? The version of the veteran quarterback last week was a bit rusty and out of sync. He did throw for 298 yards and two touchdowns, but it was not a solid performance.
This week, there must be more consistency. Look for more short and intermediate passes to get his rhythm back. Foles doesn’t have the use of a veteran tight end this week, going with both Ben Koyack and the recently signed Nick O’Leary. This should mean Leonard Fournette becomes a bigger part of the passing game.
If Foles comes out firing as he did in the first quarter of the game against Kansas City, the passing game will help the running game on Sunday.
Stopping the run – We have discussed this so many times this week, but until the Jaguars can stop the opponent’s running game, it will remain the biggest area of concern on defense. It’s a situation defensive coordinator Todd Wash address this week when he met with the media.
The defensive line has not compensated for the loss of Marcell Dareus. Taven Bryan has played better in his second season, but he is not the answer – yet. The Jaguars have surrendered 200-yard games to both Houston and Indianapolis in the past two games, which were both losses.
Tennessee figures to give the Jaguars a steady dose of Derrick Henry to allow Ryan Tannehill to throw downfield and keep the defense off balance. The front seven has their work cut out for them on Sunday.
Control the clock – With the lack of a running game the past two game weeks, the Jaguars have not taken time off the clock. Fournette has faced more men in the box of late and the interior of the line has not opened holes for him. The best running the former first-round draft pick has done is off the left side, between Cam Robinson and Andrew Norwell.
Fournette has shown his frustration for a lack of commitment to running the football. Head coach Doug Marrone told the media this week he had not talked to his running back about the situation, but look for Jacksonville to use the run more this week.
This is something to watch as offensive coordinator John DeFilippo used Foles more heavily once the Jaguars fell behind in the second quarter. The offense cannot abandon the run and expect to win.