JAGUARS VS CHARGERS: KEYS TO VICTORY
Two 4-8 teams, the Jaguars and a Chargers will collide this Sunday in Duval county. Despite sharing identical records, the Chargers are a team that is much closer to being competitive than the Jaguars are right now. The Jags are home three-point underdogs in this one.
But Jacksonville has a shot at getting things moving back in the right direction in week 14. A win won't save anyone's job — it's far too late for that — but it would certainly help build the confidence of the young core of this team.
Here's what the Jaguars need to do to have a chance at winning on Sunday afternoon.
Reduce the freakin' penalties.
The Jaguars are the most heavily penalized team in football. One of the biggest contributors to that undesirable mark? Holding penalties — In recent weeks, the Jaguars have been called for offensive holding on many of their big offensive plays, turning chunk yardage into negative drive scripts time and time again. If the Jaguars can play a disciplined game when it comes to penalties, they'll have a legitimate chance to pull the upset.
Don't Let Bosa and Ingram wreck the game.
Much easier said than done — the Jaguars must keep Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram in check. Don't get me wrong; these two guys are going to accumulate pressures throughout the contest. But Gardner Minshew has to do an excellent job of not letting those pressures turn into sacks too often. And when they do turn into sacks, the rookie QB MUST hold on to the football. It's vital that the Jaguars' offense doesn't give the game away like they have so many times in 2019. If Cam Robinson and Jawaan Taylor can do anything — besides holding, of course — to slow down Bosa and Ingram, it would be a massive win for the Jaguars.
Stop the run/short passing game.
Another concept that is easier in theory than in practice: slowing down the Chargers' running backs. Austin Eckler and Melvin Gordon are a dynamic one-two punch and are capable as ball carriers and pass-catchers. They've combined for 1,689 scrimmage yards and 15 touchdowns this season (Gordon has only played in eight games). The Jaguars have had their fair share of difficulties stopping the run/short passing game this year, but last week against the Buccaneers — without Myles Jack at linebacker — the Jags' defense did a decent job in that regard. Led by Donald Payne's 13 tackles, Jacksonville's defense held Tampa Bay to just 2.4 yards per carry on 31 attempts. They also didn't allow a single reception by a running back. Myles Jack was placed on IR Thursday, so Donald Payne will once again be manning the middle. If he can have similar production to last week, the Jaguars might just have a chance.
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