The Jacksonville Jaguars take the cross-state trip to Tampa Bay to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their only 4 pm game of the regular season.
The Jaguars (8-6) are coming off a three-game losing streak while the Bucs (7-7) are on a three-game winning streak. However, both teams control their own destiny as they sit atop of their respective divisions.
Jaguars offensive matchup vs. the Buccaneers
All eyes are on the availability of Trevor Lawrence. If he can clear the concussion protocol, the Jaguars will have a decent chance of exploiting a sub-par pass defense for the Bucs. If he doesn't, C.J. Beathard will be behind center Sunday. Beathard told the media during the week that he's preparing as if he were to start, just like he would for any other game.
The Buccaneers play the highest rate of defense with 8+ men in the box (22%) in the NFL. Given the Jaguars woes running the ball, it is worth keeping an eye on whether this trend continues. If it does, it will open things up for tight end Evan Engram and wide receiver Calvin Ridley in the passing game.
Defensive matchup for Week 16
The Buccaneers have one of the most talented pass-catching groups that the Jaguars have faced in 2023. Given the struggles against the Bengals, I expect the Jaguars to play their traditionally high percentage of zone coverage (81.8 percent) rather than trying to match up man-to-man.
While the Bucs' run game does not flash on the page, second-year running back Rachaad White has been an effective weapon in the passing game. Linebackers Devin Lloyd and Foye Oluokun will have their hands full trying to contain his versatility.
Keep an eye out for the statistical recap next week and Go Jags!