The 1-1 Jacksonville Jaguars are set to host the 0-2 Miami Dolphins on Thursday Night Football in just over 48 hours. Coming off a short week, the Jags and Phins are attempting to prepare on the fly. Both squads are coming off narrow three-point defeats. The two squads are the youngest in all of football, but there's plenty of talent between them.
Let's take a look at some matchups that should define this contest.
Laviska Shenault vs Everyone
The Jaguars have been using rookie wide receiver/running back Laviska Shenault beautifully through two weeks. Shenault has hauled in three of four targets in both games, showing off strong hands and a powerful frame. He's also carried the ball seven times for 47 yards. The Dolphins' defense may be without starting cornerback Byron Jones, who would almost assuredly be tasked with covering DJ Chark. With or without Jones, the Dolphins will have trouble keeping up with Shenault thanks to the attention DJ Chark will command. If Viska can continue to be a reliable weapon, the Jags' offense will keep humming.
The Jaguars' linebackers and safeties vs Mike Gesicki
The Dolphin's young tight end went off against the Bills in week two with eight catches on 11 targets for 130 yards and a score. He was quieter in week one but still received five targets. His size and athleticism make him a tough matchup for any opposing defense. The Dolphins may look to copy the Titan's blueprint from week two, where they used Jonnu Smith as a big-time offensive weapon against the Jags. The Jaguars' backers and safeties will need to be ready to cover another physical specimen at tight end in week two.
James Robinson vs Miami's linebackers
James Robinson, the undrafted rookie running back, has been highly effective for the Jaguars through two weeks. He's averaged 5.1 yards per carry on 32 carries so far, totaling 164 yards on the ground. He's also contributed four catches for 46 yards. For the last decade, opposing teams have been able to load the box against the Jaguars due to a mediocre at best passing attack. But with Gardner Minshew at QB and a host of talented receivers, the Dolphins will have to respect the Jaguars' aerial arsenal. That should allow James Robinson to find success yet again in week three. Miami has allowed 164 yards per game on the ground in 2020. Robinson will need to continue to make opposing linebackers miss and show his supreme vision and burst yet again.
Josh Allen vs Dolphins' offensive tackles
It's easy to say that the Jaguars' secondary has struggled in coverage, but to me, more blame lies on the pass rush. The Jags sold out to stop the run in the first two weeks of the season, which led to a lack of pressure on the opposing QBs. Josh Allen needs to be an impact pass rusher for the Jaguars in 2020, but to this point, he hasn't consistently won in the pass rush department this year. He's gotten four total pressures and three QB hits in two games. If the Jaguars are going to be able to slow teams down in 2020, they'll need to create more pressure, and that starts with Josh Allen. The Dolphins' starting offensive tackles have allowed five pressures each through two games. Ryan Fitzpatrick generally gets the ball out quickly but has a tendency to hold on to the ball at times.
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