Jaguars: 3 keys to victory vs Bengals on Thursday Night Football
Not long ago, Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer said
the team was in search of a spark
. As cliché as it sounds, he isn’t wrong. Sometimes, that’s all you need, a little push. Against the Arizona Cardinals, the Jags had several sparks, safety Andrew Wingard’s interceptions, specialist Jamal Agnew’s historical missed field goal return, and so on.
Early in the third quarter, Jacksonville had the lead. It’s possible that they thought they had the game in the pocket. Or maybe they just don’t know how to close games yet. After all, they’re a young team in the process of trying to figure things out.
Regardless of the reason, the Jags lost their third game of the season and 18th straight dating back to last year. Nobody likes to lose but the silver lining is this young Jaguars team will use the loss to the Cards as a learning experience. They could apply the lesson as soon as their Week 4 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Cincy is favored to win the game by eight points. On the other hand, they will be missing a couple of key contributors. This is something the Jags must take advantage of if they want to pull the upset. Also, they need to do the following three things.
1. The Jacksonville Jaguars must run the ball early and often.
Good things happen when you give running back James Robinson the ball. The Illinois State product totaled 1,414 yards in his rookie campaign and has shown in 2021 that it wasn’t a fluke. He’s currently averaging a staggering 5.2 yards per carry.
Against the Cards, Robinson had a season-high 15 carries and racked up 82 yards and one touchdown. On the other hand, the Bengals’ can stop the run. They are allowing 3.3 yards per carry and have given up just one rushing touchdown. Even if Robinson doesn’t find success early in the game, the Jaguars can’t abandon the run. They need to have balance and can’t afford to become one-dimensional.