This week the Jags take on the 5-4 Detroit Lions, the comeback kings of the 2016 season. This Lions team has made their name by overcoming deficits to win games, but never really blow opponents out. Of their last 5 games (Detroit won 4), all have been within 7 points and have included wins over Minnesota, Philadelphia and Washington.
I think this one, like all Lions games, will be close. Like the Lions, we don't play well from ahead because of a lackluster running game, but we both play good ball from behind. I actually think the Lions will take an early lead and look to sweep the game (something like 20-3 halftime score) but they'll let the Jags creep back in. The problems for the Jags in this game will be the rushing offense (as usual) and any cornerback not named Jalen Ramsey (who will hopefully shut down Marvin Jones). However, the Jaguars will pull points out of their ass like they always do to make this game seem more competitive than it really is and end up losing 10 or less points.
Prediction: JAX 20, DET 27
On paper, the Jaguars and the Detroit Lions defenses are evenly matched. The Jaguars are ranked 8th in yards allowed and the Detroit Lions are ranked 23rd, but the Lions allow 22 points per game compared to the Jags 26. Although the Jaguars average more yards offensively than the Lions, they have scored the second least points in the NFL.
I think this game will follow along the lines of the past few. The QB matchup will be a clear disadvantage for the Jags and Stafford will have a great game. I don’t anticipate Stafford putting up an obscene number of passing yards but I do see him having at least two passing touchdowns. The Jaguars will finally be successful in corralling an opposing run-game but will give up too many big plays in the pass game to win.
Offensively, the Jaguars will move the ball but turnovers will prevent them from putting up enough points to win.
Prediction: JAX 21, DET 31
The Lions are the 2016 version of the cardiac cats. They haven't been able to take big leads in games this year, in fact they've been trailing quite a bit in most game they've played this year. This is partially due to a leaky secondary and a linebacker group ravaged by injuries. Their star pass rusher Ziggy Ansah has failed to record even a single sack in 2016 while battling a high ankle sprain, meanwhile converted DT Kerry Hyder has recorded 7 sacks in 9 games. On the other side of the ball Matt Stafford is playing perhaps the best football of his life and has plenty of weapons to sling it around to.
Everything points to the Jaguars losing this game in blow out fashion. They've already been blown out on the road twice this year. The Jaguars turn the ball over too much and can't force any turnovers themselves. They have a -14 turnover differential on the season. They can't get pressure on opposing QBs to save their life, which will allow Stafford to really carve up the D. Do I believe that Blake Bortles is suddenly going to flip the switch and begin limiting his turnovers? No. In fact, I think this could be an emphatic win for the Lions. Blake Bortles AKA Captain Garbage Time will make it look prettier than it really is in the 4th quarter, but the Jags won't be able to earn their third win of the season in Detroit.
Prediction: JAX 24, DET 35
The Jaguars head to Detroit to face the Lions this week in a must win game. With the recent skid over the last month going (0-4) pushing their record to 2-7 the Jags need a lot to go right not only in this game but for the rest of the season. Offensively the Jags need to stick with the running game giving Chris Ivory and TJ Yeldon at least 25-30 total touches rushing the ball but I don't think that's going to happen. This coaching staff is going to live and die by Blake Bortles success, or lack there of. Both Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns have had down years and it's just a reach right now to expect a breakout game. They're also not using Julius Thomas correctly either, he is a matchup problem for any linebacker or safety in the league and the Jaguars coaching staff needs to start realizing that. I just don't see a lot of production for the offense in this one. The defense has been at least average this year and is much improved from a year ago, but with Matt Stafford and this high octane offense, it could get ugly fast. Priority one needs to be pressuring Stafford, yet the Jags haven't really had a good push to this point lately and I don't see why this game is going to be any different. Telvin Smith, listed as questionable due to personal matters, is by far the Jaguars best defensive player and if he can't go that will just add insult to injury on this defense. If corners Jalen Ramsey and Prince Amukamara can play well and the front seven can get in Staffords face it should help keep this one close, giving the Jags an opportunity to win the game late.
Prediction: JAX 26, DET 24
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