The Jacksonville Jaguars are set to "host" the Miami Dolphins this Sunday at 9:30 EST at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.
The Jaguars and Dolphins boast some less than stellar streaks. The Dolphins have lost four straight contests since opening the season with a win over the Bears. The Jaguars have lost five straight games to start 2021 and 20 consecutive games overall. Jacksonville is now the (not so) proud owner of the third-longest losing streak in NFL history.
The Jaguars and Dolphins have faced off ten times, splitting the series 5-5. The most storied game in series history came in the 1999 AFC divisional round of the playoffs when the Jaguars boat raced the Dolphins 62-7, ending quarterback Dan Marino's legendary career. The Jaguars have won two of the last three meetings between the clubs dating back to 2015. But the Dolphins won convincingly 31-13 in the most recent contest, a Thursday Night Football showdown last season.
The fifth-overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Tua Tagovailoa, hasn't played since week one when he suffered broken ribs. But the Dolphins designated him to return from IR this week, and he's expected to start in this one. He and Trevor Lawrence, the top pick in this year's draft, will face off in a battle of young, highly touted quarterback prospects. On the surface, Tua's early career stats are more impressive than Trevor's. But a deeper dive into these two young signal-callers reveals a different picture. Folks in Miami are still questioning whether or not Tua is "the guy" for them (hard to blame them considering they passed on Justin Herbert), while pretty much anyone who watches the NFL on a weekly basis can tell you Trevor is going to be a star for years to come.
Across the Pond
With international travel returning in 2021, the Jaguars resume the annual tradition of hosting a home game in London. This will be the Jaguars' eighth game across the pond; they own a record of 3-4 in the NFL's International Series. The Dolphins aren't newcomers when it comes to playing in the UK either: They participated in the first-ever London game and have played a total of four games there, with a record of 1-4. Of course, most of the key contributors and coaches in this matchup haven't played in London yet. So while these two organizations have plenty of experience with international games on an institutional level, many of the folks playing and coaching in this game will be experiencing it for the first time.
The Jaguars will be without linebacker Myles Jack (back) in this contest. He didn't travel with the team to London. Dakota Allen and Shaq Quarterman will fill in for the injured Jack. Starting center Brandon Linder hit the IR after injuring his ankle and MCL in week five. He'll be replaced in the starting lineup by veteran Tyler Shatley. Starting wide receiver DJ Chark (ankle) and right guard AJ Cann (knee) remain on injured reserve.
For the Dolphins, starting cornerback Xavien Howard (groin, shoulder) and starting wide receiver DeVante Parker (hamstring, shoulder) have yet to participate in practice this week and could be sidelined on Sunday.
Feed the Beast
James Robinson is one of the most productive running backs in football this season. He's averaging 5.8 yards per carry for the Jaguars, tied for the second-best mark in football. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell has gotten more and more comfortable pounding the rock as the season has progressed, but he could still stand to give Robinson even more work late in games. Despite being 13th in rushing attempts, Robinson is number four in rushing yards. The Dolphins' defense has been susceptible to the run in 2021, allowing 4.4 yards per carry on the ground.
Can I get a PBU?
The Jaguars' cornerbacks face a tall task when it comes to covering speedsters Jaylen Waddle and Will Fuller this week. Outside of Shaquille Griffin, who has performed well for the Jaguars in 2021, the cornerback room has been a wasteland. Tyson Campbell, Chris Claybrooks, and Tre Herndon have combined to allow 44 completions on 51 targets in primary coverage. If the Jaguars hope to earn a win in London, someone will need to step up and make some plays on the ball.
The Dolphins are three-point favorites over the Jags with an over-under of 47. That gives us an implied score of 25-22. Jacksonville has covered the spread just once in 2021.
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