No. 2 Commander the Jaguars must account for: Terry McLaurin, WR
The Jaguars were scrutinized for giving Christian Kirk a top-market contract in free agency but looking back, they might have gotten ahead of the curve. After all, other wide receivers have gone on to ink even more lucrative deals since then. One of them was Terry McLaurin, who has put up solid numbers over the last three years even though the Commanders haven’t enjoyed stability at the quarterback position.
McLaurin has posted back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons and he came close in his rookie campaign when he hauled in 58 receptions for 919 yards. While he might be the Commanders’ only threat in the passing game, he’s one they can’t afford to take lightly.
No. 1 Commander the Jaguars must account for: Carson Wentz, QB
And here comes the Commanders’ X-Factor. Carson Wentz. As recently as 2019, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 draft was playing at a high level and he did it despite the fact that his supporting cast was less than optimal. However, his performance has dropped significantly since then, which is why he’s playing for his third team in as many years.
The Jags last faced Wentz in the 2021 season finale. In that game, the former North Dakota State Bison went 17-of-29 for a measly 185 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Moreover, the Jags sacked him six times. If the Jaguars’ defense can have the same kind of success against him in the 2022 opener, their chances of winning will increase considerably.
Having said that, Jacksonville can’t afford to underestimate Wentz. After all, past success against him doesn’t guarantee they will beat him Sunday. In fact, they were 1-1 against him, so they can’t uncork the champagne just yet.
In a way, it’s kind of fitting that the Jags will face off against Wentz in Week 1. He will have a chance to face his ghost and show the last two years were just a slight slip.