The Jaguars head to Jerry World this weekend fresh off of an embarrassing loss at the hands of the Chiefs. They were thoroughly out played in Kansas City. They'll look to avoid losing for a second straight week for just the second time during the Doug Marrone era.
In order for the Jaguars to take down the 2-3 Cowboys they'll need to do several things well. Let's take a look at three keys to victory for the Jaguars in this one.
1. Hide Josh Walker
The Jaguars are down to their third option at left tackle. Cam Robinson tore his ACL during the Jaguars week two victory over the Patriots. His back up, swing tackle Josh Wells, pulled his groin during the Jaguars loss to the Chiefs last week. So here we are. The Jaguars are down to Josh Walker, whose primary position had been guard. After Wells left the game against the Chiefs Walker struggled greatly. In 49 pass blocking snaps last week he allowed 9 pressures. That type of performance won't allow the Jaguars to be successful against a Cowboys pass rush that features DeMarcus Lawrence - he's dealing with a shoulder injury and his status for week six is unclear - and several other impressive players including Tyrone Crawford, Jaylon Smith, and Taco Charlton. The Jaguars need to do what they can with their tight ends and running backs to mask their weakness on the left side. Of course, that type of strategy could lead to a limited game plan. Offensive Coordinator Nate Hackett will need to get creative this week in an attempt to slow down a Cowboys pass rush that has registered 15 sacks and 92 pressures on the season, while not being ultra conservative. It'll be a tough task to be sure.
2. Slow down Zeke Elliot
Speaking of tough tasks . . . Ezekiel Elliot is the league's leading rusher and he's averaging a ridiculous 5.2 yards per carry on the season. His worst game of the season was actually last week when he totaled just 54 yards on 20 carries in an overtime loss to the Texans. But when the run game is slow for the Cowboys they're good at getting Elliot involved as a receiver out of the backfield. He might be the most complete back in the game today and the Jaguars entire defense, especially the lineman and linebackers, will have their work cut out for them in this one. The Jaguars could look to exploit Elliot's penchant for fumbling. He's currently tied for the most fumbles by a running back this season with two. But they would be wise not to focus too much on stripping the ball from Elliot at the expense of tackling.
3. Manage down and distance
Prior to the Jaguars loss to the Chiefs in week five, the team had been playing very well on early downs this season. Head coach Doug Marrone has publicly stated that he believes this offense has to stay ahead of the chains in order to be successful. That means they've got to get yards on first down AND they need to not shoot themselves in the foot with mental mistakes like penalties, missed assignments, and dropped passes.
4. Stop targeting Donte Moncrief at such a high clip
Donte Moncrief is the Jaguars most targeted receiver in 2018. He's also been by far the least effective and efficient. He's hauled in just 18 of 37 targets and regularly just looks bad. On the flip side Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole have both fairly impressive when given the opportunity. The Jaguars need to shift their target share to Westbrook, Cole and running backs out of the backfield. Both TJ Yeldon and Jamaal Charles can be very effective as receivers.
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