The Jaguars enter week eight fresh off a win against the lowly Bengals. But, hey, a win is a win, right? The Jaguars got to 3-4 on the season and still have control of their own destiny in 2019. They'll travel home to take on the Jets, who are just 1-5 on the season. While a win always makes the next week fil a bit more comfortable —especially when you return home to face the Jets, who just got slaughtered by the Patriots — there are plenty of storylines to keep an eye on throughout this week.
Let's take a look.
The QB Battle
Yes, the Jaguars' quarterback situation is about to get very, very interesting. When Gardner Minshew was forced into action in week one, not many people believed that Minshew Mania would ensue. But fast forward seven weeks, and Minshew has guided the Jaguars to a 3-3 record as a starter and has looked more than serviceable in doing so. The Jags' starter entering the 2019 campaign, Nick Foles, is set to return to practice this week — in a limited capacity — and should be ready to take the field in a couple of weeks. An ideal return date would be after the Jaguars' bye week in week eleven. But will he? The Jaguars will have to decide between their highly-priced veteran QB or their upstart rookie phenom. Minshew's play over the next couple of weeks could help make Doug Marrone's decision easier, one way or the other.
Injuries at Linebacker
The Jaguars are struggling to stay healthy at linebacker. Quincy Williams was forced out of the game against the Bengals with a hamstring injury but quickly returned after linebacker Najee Goode suffered a foot injury. Another reserve linebacker, DJ Alexander, also sustained a foot injury that forced him out of the game. With the attrition at the linebacker position, the Jaguars were forced to promote rookie linebacker Joe Giles-Harris to the active roster. At this point, it's uncertain if any of these guys are dealing with long-term injuries, but depth will be a concern in week eight.
Cam Robinson's Toe
Cam Robinson injured his toe on the turf in Cincinnati — the Bengals have a field that is notoriously hard on players — and left the game. Cedric Ogbuehi played well in his stead, but the Jaguars are a much better football team with Cam Robinson at their disposal. If they're without Robinson in week eight against the Jets, it would be shocking not to see defensive coordinator Gregg Williams send heavy pressure on the left side of the Jags' O-Line.
Several Jaguars are putting up big numbers through the first seven weeks of the season. Leonard Fournette is leading the AFC in rushing yards — he's second in the NFL, trailing just Dalvin Cook — and he's averaging 5 yards per carry. Just as important has been Fournette's receiving prowess: the third-year runner has hauled in 28 passes, averaging 7.3 yards per catch. DJ Chark is also leading the AFC in receiving yards, and his average of 17.6 yards per catch is among the league leaders.
The Road Ahead
The Jaguars are 3-4 and face a reeling Jets team at home in week eight. The Jets will have a short week to prepare for the Jaguars and are dealing with injury issues of their own. The Jaguars need to win that game to get back to .500 and make their week nine matchup with the Texans in London a HUGE game. After that, the Jaguars will have a much-needed bye week and could get Nick Foles back, that is, if they need him. They then face the Colts and Titans, two divisional foes. If the Jaguars take care of business over the next month or so, it'll set them up for a run at the playoffs.
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