1. Jaguars O-Line vs Vikings pass rush
The Jaguars offensive line has been much maligned, in earnest since the deprture of Jack Del Rio nearly five years ago. However in 2016 this Jaguars O-line has been more than servicable in pass protection. They've faced the Broncos, Bills, Bears, Packers, and Titans -- all of whom are in the top ten in the NFL in terms of sacks. While facing such stiff competition for much of the season the Jaguars have allowed only 24 sacks, or 2 per game. While this offensive line has struggled to create running lanes, they certainly haven't struggled in pass protection. Now, they face a Vikings front seven that boasts the likes of Everson Griffen, Danielle Hunter, and Brian Robison, each of whom has at least 6 sacks in 2016. The impressive pass rush doesn't stop there though, this team has 31 total sacks on the season, which puts them at number four in the entire league. This will be the third straight week that the Jagaurs have faced a top four team in terms of getting after the quarterback. The previous two weeks the Jaguars gave up a combined three sacks to the Broncos and Bills, who are currently first and third in the NFL in sacks. The Jaguars will need to continue the solid pass protection against this intimidating Vikings front if Blake Bortles is going to have any chance of regaining his form.
2. Blake Bortles vs Blake Bortles
This is actually the most important matchup every week for the Jaguars, but since it's on our matchups to watch so often we thought we would let a different matchup take the top spot this week. But make no mistake, the Jaguars cannot and will not win games until Blake Bortles finds a way to not beat himself. Against the Broncos last week Bortles threw 2 interceptions, one of which wasn't his fault, the other of which was certainly his fault. He's now thrown 15 interceptions in 12 games, which puts him on pace for 20 on the season, 2 more than his league leading 18 in 2015. Certainly Bortles has lost his confidence and now can't even make the simplest of throws with any accuracy or consistency. The Vikings have recorded 12 interceptions in 2016 and will be waiting for Bortles to make the big mistake, if he does it could mean certain doom for the Jaguars. For a guy who has thrown more pick sixes (11) than games won (10) in his career, these next four weeks will be huge.
3. Allen Robinson & Marqise Lee vs Vikings secondary
Against the Broncos in week 13 the Jaguars once high flying passing attack was abysmal. Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee got beat up all day against the Broncos physical corner backs. They struggled to beat press coverage and looked to be mentally and physically exhausted against the likes of Aqib Talib, Chris Harris, and Courtney Robey. This week they face a secondary that may be just as talented as the one deployed by the Broncos last week. Will the Jaguars talented receivers be able to respond against Xaiver Rhodes and Terrence Newman? If the Jaguars third year receivers cannot find their way in this one, then the Jaguars offense will be dead in the water. It's a tough task, but if these young receivers can't find a way to rebound then the Jaguars will almost certainly lose against a Vikings team that doesn't beat themselves.
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