It’s bold enough to predict a Jaguars win on Sunday at Oakland, but these three things could happen against the Raiders.
The Jacksonville Jaguars hope they can end their five-game losing streak at Oakland this weekend and in the process become part of a trivia question for the team on the west coast.
Which team beat the Raiders in their final home game as an NFL team in California?
The Jaguars will need some luck this weekend and a better effort on both sides of the ball if that is to happen. Jacksonville is 4-9 this season with no chance of seeing the postseason. The Raiders are 6-7 and still cling to playoff aspirations if everything falls into place.
"Per the Jaguars public relations office and their game-day release, “The Jaguars have posted a 4-4 all-time record against the Raiders, including a 2-3 mark in Oakland. A win on Sunday would be Jacksonville’s first victory on the West Coast since defeating Oakland, 13-6, on Jan. 2, 2005.”"
My son wasn’t six yet when that last happened. Times have changed and the Jaguars hope to create momentum on Sunday, knowing this season has been a wash for some time now.
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The Raiders present another challenge for the defense, one that starts with Derek Carr and the passing game and ends with rookie running back Josh Jacobs. If the Jaguars cannot find some way to plug the middle of the field, it will be another long afternoon.
"“It will be the last game for the Raiders in Oakland and therefore their last game at their stadium, which has undergone numerous name changes, but which originally was Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. The Raiders will move to Las Vegas this offseason,” John Oehser of Jaguars.com writes."
The Jaguars are still playing for pride and could make this a very entertaining game. Here are three bold predictions for Sunday.
Keelan Cole has his best game – There hasn’t been much talk about wide receiver Keelan Cole this season, but when his number has been called, the third-year pro has made an impact in the Jaguars passing game.
Hopefully, that happens again on Sunday. With DJ Chark out because of an ankle injury, this might be a week where Cole reaches the end zone once again. I do expect the Jaguars to score more points this week, if for nothing else because they have nothing to lose and could open up the playbook – FINALLY.
Cole has been a virtual non-factor this season as he caught only 17 passes for 195 yards and two touchdowns so far. His speed on the outside, or if he plays in the slot, could bail Minshew out if the offensive line collapses around him.
Look for Cole to grab seven passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns.
D.J. Hayden bests his former team – He is one of the better free-agent signings of the David Caldwell era here in Jacksonville. Despite injuries, last season and a battered defense this season, D.J. Hayden, who was a former Oakland first-round draft pick before signing with the Jaguars, has been a solid addition to the secondary.
Look for him to have a huge game on Sunday.
"“Oh yeah. I been have this game marked,” Hayden said on Wednesday via SI.com. “I am excited. I can’t wait until Sunday when we go out there to The Black Hole for their last little hoorah. I am ready.”"
The Raiders have a potent aerial attack and should keep the secondary busy this week. The Jaguars get Ronnie Harrison back from concussion protocol, so that will help. I see him with at least one interception and 10 tackles on the day, even if he plays in the nickel on Sunday.
Gardner Minshew brings back the magic – It is a small sample size, but last week’s performance against the Los Angeles Chargers did nothing to show me that Gardner Minshew is an upgrade from Nick Foles other than his mobility on the field.
That’s a legitimate concern for me and others.
If the Jaguars are going to win on Sunday, Minshew must be more effective in and out of the pocket and complete passes for more than four yards a pop. Some of that has to do with the offensive line, some of it has to do with the play calling.
The trip to Oakland is something Minshew said he was looking forward to. He is also well aware of the Raiders’ defense and how tough it can be.
"“They’re super disciplined. It’s not a ton of big names or anything like that, like some of the guys we’ve played in the past, but they’re very focused in on their job,” he said when he spoke to the media on Wednesday. “They’re really well-coached and just super disciplined to what they have to do. Any time you play a team like that, they present challenges.”"
I believe Minshew returns to his “old” form and the rookie throws for 285 yards and four touchdowns.
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