The Jaguars and Jets are both banged up heading into their week eight showdown in Duval county, the latter a bit more than the former.
Let's start with the Jaguars.
Three of their linebackers, Quincy Williams, Leon Jacobs, and Najee Goode, are all out with hamstring injuries. Weird. Williams and Jacobs are technically starters. But the strong side linebacker is on the field less than a third of the snaps in most games for the Jaguars, so the absence of Leon Jacobs can be masked, to an extent. The weakside linebacker, however, is on the field nearly every play. So not having Quincy Williams and his primary backup at the position isn't ideal. Right? Well, neither player has actually performed at a high level with any consistency this season. Williams did have his best game as a pro last week, but he's been a bit of a wildcard for the Jags so far. So, the Jaguars might be okay at weakside linebacker with former Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith. He's dealt with his fair share of injuries in recent seasons, but Smith has played in this system before and could hold down the fort against the Jets. It'd be hard for him to be much worse than what the Jaguars have had at WLB to this point.
The Jaguars will also be without Marcell Dareus, who was placed on injured reserve yesterday. He'll be replaced by Taven Bryan, who has been highly impressive in recent weeks.
Questionable for the Jaguars is wide receiver Dede Westbrook. But Doug Marrone thinks speedy Dede will play. Last week Westbrook was dealing with the same shoulder issue, and he played at a high level. I expect Dede to be out there and to get the job done when his number is called.
On to the Jets . . .
The Jets may have the most dysfunctional locker room in football. Don't believe me? Watch this:
Oh yeah, the Jets are actively trying to trade DT Leonard Williams and WR Robbie Anderson.
Beyond their chemistry issues, though, the Jets will be without many of their key players. On the offensive line, they'll be missing starting left tackle Kelvin Beachum (remember him?) and starting left guard Keleche Osemele. Holding up against the Jaguars' defensive front will prove difficult for the left side of the Jets' offensive line.
The unquestioned leader of the New York defense, linebacker CJ Mosely, won't be able to play on Sunday. He's dealing with a groin injury that may land him on the season-ending IR. His backup, Albert McClellan, will also be held out. Slowing down the Jaguars' bruising rushing attack without Mosely and McClellan could be an impossible task for the Jets. The strength of the Jets' run defense is their front three, but when Fournette breaks the line of scrimmage, he could be in line for some massive chunk plays.
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