Jaguars vs. Panthers: Pressure Bryce Young, other keys to victory in Week 17

• The Jaguars will welcome the Panthers in Week 17

• Carolina is 2-13 but the Jags aren't very good right now

• Here are 3 keys to avoiding an upset

Dec 24, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young (9)
Dec 24, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young (9) / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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The Jacksonville Jaguars will be without Trevor Lawrence when they face the Carolina Panthers in Week 17. Lawrence has already been ruled out for the bout. This will be the first time he misses a game in his NFL career after 49 consecutive starts.

With Lawrence unable to go, C.J. Beathard will make the start, his first one since Week 16 of the 2020 season. Working in his favor is that Beathard has gotten lots of reps in practice in recent weeks, so he's been able to develop a rapport with skill-position players. Also, left tackle Cam Robinson is back in the fold after spending four weeks on Injured Reserve with a knee injury.

The Jags still need to sort out who'll line up at left guard — Ezra Cleveland, or Walker Little — but the offensive line should be in better shape than it's been in recent weeks. The defense is also relatively healthy, with Tyson Campbell and Andre Cisco not getting an injury designation for the game. But regardless of who's healthy, head coach Doug Pederson knows they cannot pull the injury card.

"I think that's where every team is right now. This time of the year, honestly, everybody's battling through injury," Pederson told the media Thurdsay. "Even some of your top teams are battling through whether it's a loss or an injury or something going on. Everybody's kind of shifting and working through different things."

"We're no different. Nobody cares. Carolina doesn't care. Tennessee's not gonna care. We've got to put the best 11 on the field, offense, defense, and special teams, and go play and it's up to the coaches to have everyone ready to go. It's up to the players to be prepared. And that's where everybody is right now," Pederson said.

3. The Jaguars must get Travis Etienne involved vs. the Panthers

Running back Travis Etienne got off to a good start to the 2023 season, toting the rock 151 times for 583 yards with seven touchdowns. He also reeled in 27 receptions for 266 yards with one touchdown. At the time, it wasn't farfetched to think that he could tally 1,400 yards from scrimmage for the second year in a row, but he may ultimately fall short.

However, Etienne has seen a reduced role on offense the last seven weeks. In that span, he's only reached the 20-carry mark once, against the Houston Texans in Week 12. This has mostly been due to the offensive line's inability to block up front, but the Jaguars should still find a way to get him involved.

Etienne is by no means in the same echelon as Christian McCaffrey in the passing game but he's an adequate receiver, and the Jags need to look for ways to get him in space to work his magic. The bottom line is that the Jaguars have a playmaker in Etienne, and they need to get him the ball.