The Jacksonville Jaguars will have their BYE in Week 9. Once they rest and recharge their batteries, they'll face the San Francisco 49ers in Week 10. While Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk argues that this could be a potential Super Bowl preview, these two teams are headed in the opposite direction.
While the Jags have won five in a row, San Francisco is riding a three-game losing skid. Add the fact that the game will be held at EverBank Field and Jacksonville has a legitimate chance to come on top, which didn't seem likely before the start of the season. After all, the Niners had reached the NFC Championship and might've beaten the Philadelphia Eagles if they had had enough healthy quarterback.
Christian McCaffrey showed he had lots of football left after arriving in the Bay Area via a midseason trade and the San Francisco defense was among the best in the league. Fast forward to Week 8, and the 49ers should be hitting the panic button. Brock Purdy was a revelation as a rookie, going from Mr. Irrelevant to making Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo expendable.
However, Purdy's luster is fading in Year 2. Teams are starting to figure him out and he cannot carry the team on his shoulders if they are trailing, throwing just three touchdowns and seven interceptions. Conversely, he has eight touchdown passes and no pick when the Niners are ahead on the scoreboard. It's one thing to play with a lead but having the sophomore passer hasn't shown he's capable of taking matters into his hands when the situation calls for it.
Another thing hurting the Niner is the minimal impact Deebo Samuel has had. After a stellar 2021 campaign, one that included a First-Team All-Pro designation, Samuel has been a non-factor the past two seasons. Without any other threat on offense, defenses can slow down McCaffrey, which in turn makes Brock Purdy's job harder.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have the talent to fend off the San Francisco 49ers
Just like the Jaguars, San Francisco will enjoy their BYE in Week 9, so they'll have ample time to sort things out and right the ship. That said, Jacksonville will be ready for them. The offense still has some kinks to work on but the Jags have improved considerably since the loss to the Houston Texans in Week 3. Drops are no longer a weekly issue and the offensive line has done a much better job of opening lanes in the running game and protecting Trevor Lawrence.
Offensive coordinator Press Taylor and his unit must get better at reaching the end zone. Jacksonville has had no trouble moving the ball in recent weeks but they have also stalled and left points on the field.
On defense, the Jaguars should be able to counter the Niners offense. They got Dawuane Smoot and Davon Hamilton back the past two weeks. They round out a pass rush rotation that includes outside linebacker Josh Allen and sophomore Travon Walker, who's steadily improving by the week. If that wasn't enough, the back seven has displayed the ability to generate takeaways. That will come in handy against Brock Purdy in Week 10.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have been one of the best teams in the NFL since Week 4. A win over the San Francisco 49ers would solidify their spot as one a top-3 team and potential Super Bowl contender.