The Jaguars take on the Falcons in Atlanta this Sunday. With the NFLPA controversy and the subsequent firing of EVP Tom Coughlin, we haven't had much time to analyze this week 16 matchup. The Jaguars are 5-9, coming off of a big come from behind win in Oakland. The Falcons, like the Jaguars, are 5-9 and coming off a big west coast victory over the 49ers.
What should you be anxious to see this Sunday?
Right this way.
I think the biggest question the Jaguars have to answer is whether or not the removal of the tyrannical Tom Coughlin lifts a weight off of the team's shoulders or not. Several players spoke out this week about how difficult it was to prepare for games when they were always worrying about being fined. So, with Doug Marrone no longer having to look over his shoulder for Tom, will he be able to put together a game plan that works against a Falcons squad that has won four of their last six contests? If Marrone and company get the job done, it could go a long way towards him keeping his job in 2020.
Big picture aside, there are plenty of individuals to watch in this one.
Gardner Minshew is coming off of an impressive second-half performance against the Raiders. But as sensational as he was to close the game out in Oakland, he played equally poor in the first half. Playing more consistently throughout the contest this week would be a massive step for Minshew and the Jaguars' offense. Minshew is still working to prove that he should be the QB of the future for the Jaguars. Over the last six contests, the Falcons' defense hasn't surrendered more than 20 points in a game, so finding consistency will be no easy task for Minshew this week. It appears DJ Chark may be able to take the field in this one — the return of Minshew's favorite weapon would go a long way.
Can Cam Robinson and Jawaan Taylor continue to improve? The Jaguars need their two young tackles to show improvement over the final two weeks. They had a strong showing in week 15. Robinson allowed one pressure (which ended up being an easy sack), while Taylor allowed two. It was a solid showing for this young duo, but they need to prove that they can play at a high level multiple weeks in a row. The Falcons' pass rush was fairly quiet last week, picking up just one sack.
On the other side of the line, Josh Allen and Yannick Ngakoue are thriving. The pass-rushing duo combined for three sacks and 11 total pressures last week. They made life extremely difficult for Derek Carr and will look to do so again this week against Matt Ryan.
AJ Bouye vs Julio Jones. The Jaguars' highly paid CB, AJ Bouye, is in for one hell of a matchup this week. He'll draw Julio Jones, one of the very best receivers in football. Since Bouye's legendary 2017 season, he's cooled off quite a bit. He's still a reliable cover corner, but is he worth his price tag? He'll have a chance to prove it this week. The Jaguars could save $11.5M by cutting Bouye after the season.
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