Let’s take a look at some Keys to Victory for the Jaguars upcoming game against the Detroit Lions.
Start Hot: The Jaguars have started slow in almost ever game this year and the Detroit Lions are a team that can put us away early if we let them. They have a high-powered offense that can score quickly. If we are going to try and win a game on the road -- which we’ve only done once so far this season-- against an offense led by Mathew Stafford, we need to put up at least 24 points on top of doing a lot of other things right.
Turnovers: The Jaguars are about to make history but as you might have expected, not in a positive way. We are currently tied for the record of most games in a row without forcing a turnover. FIVE GAMES WITHOUT A TURNOVER! The Jaguars have a turnover margin of -14, which is the worst in the league. When you combine a league-worst turnover margin with being second worst in the league in penalties committed, it’s tough to be successful. It’s very apparent that this coaching staff doesn’t stress details or doesn’t do enough to ensure that the team knows that winning usually comes down to the finer points of the game. The Lions have allowed 100 less penalty yards, committed almost 10 less penalties and have a +1 turnover margin. Just like I said last week, if we lose the turnover battle against the Lions, we WILL lose the game.
Run-game: To me, this is where the Jaguars clearest advantage SHOULD be. We have the pieces for a much better run game than the pass-heavy Detroit Lions. If the Jaguars establish the line of scrimmage using a power-run game, we can set the tempo for the whole game. The Lions and Jaguars have both only scored three rushing touchdowns this season and whoever’s running game has success will probably win the football game. We made progress running the football against the Chiefs and actually looked formidable with Ivory as our starter but regressed against the Texans. In all four of the Lions losses this season, the opponent rushed for more than 100 yards. Our offenses main focus needs to be to establish the line of scrimmage from the start and to HOLD ONTO THE FOOTBALL. If our offense can do this effectively and efficiently we WILL win the football game.
Get to Mathew Stafford: Other than the offensive struggles, the biggest disappointment and most detrimental position group to our success has been our defensive line (in pass rush situations). I said at the beginning of the year that Malik Jackson was overpaid and that his stats benefited directly from the success of the rest of the broncos defensive line. He’s only registered 17 tackles on the season and 1.5 sacks, which isn’t exactly the production we hoped for when we signed him to a six year, 90 million dollar contract. Both Dante Fowler Jr. and Yannick Ngakoue have practically disappeared except for when Fowler Jr. is making bonehead penalties. Luckily, the Lions aren’t ‘that much’ better at getting to the quarterback than the Jags, as they only have 20 sacks on the season compared to our 16. If our defensive line is yet again unsuccessful, Matt Stafford will pick the Jaguars secondary apart and we’ll fall to 2-8 on the season.
At some point this season the Jaguars are going to finally play a clean game of football. Honestly, if we would have found a way protect the ball early in the season we might even be talking playoffs. Coulda’, shoulda’, woulda’ I guess.
But, above all, Go Jags.
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