The Jaguars will travel the country to take on the Seahawks in the Emerald City this Sunday at 4:05 PM EST. Jacksonville is coming off of a week seven bye, which followed their first win of the season — thanks to a couple of late field goals from Matthew Wright — over the Dolphins in London. The Seahawks fell to the Saints on Monday Night Football by a score of 13-10. Seattle is favored by 3.5 with an O/U of 44.
Let's jump into this week eight matchup between the 1-5 Jaguars and the 2-5 Seahawks.
The Jaguars are 0-3 in Seattle and trail the all-time series 3-5 against the 'Hawks. However, the Jaguars won the last matchup between these two in 2017, a raucous affair in Duval that saw then Seahawks defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson attempt to enter the stands in frustration. Jefferson had been ejected from the contest after a scuffle, and on his way to the locker room, a couple of Jaguars fans threw beverages at the former Seahawk, who then attempted to climb into the stands. Jefferson was detained by security. To say there was tension back in December of 2017 would be an understatement, but many of the players and coaches involved in that contest are no longer with their respective clubs. Can the Jaguars earn their first-ever win in Seattle?
Any team that heads to Seattle to take on the Seahawks has more than one opponent. There are the players and coaches on the field, but the 12s in the stands make their presence felt as well. The fans at Lumen Field will be as loud, if not louder than any this team will face. Keeping their poise despite the intense environment will be critical for these young Jags. Figuring out a way to communicate should be high on the priority list for offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence. The weather is expected to be good on Sunday, with highs in the mid-50s and clear skies, so the Jaguars may get lucky on that front. But when it comes to keeping your composure with monstrous wide receiver DK Metcalf and pesky safety Jamal Adams jawing and bringing the physicality will be a test of its own this Sunday.
Stopping the Run
Despite starting running back Chris Carson finding his way to the IR, Seattle will still attempt to run the ball early and often. Star quarterback Russell Wilson is on the mend as well, so with backup Geno Smith taking the snaps, the Seahawks will look to play a ball-control style of offense. Despite averaging only 3.2 yards per carry last week, Seattle continued to pound the rock to the tune of 28 total rushes. Seattle's rushing attack has been rendered ineffective in two of the last three contests, while Jacksonville has allowed only 3.8 yards per carry on the season, tied for the fourth-best mark in football. It will be a battle of wills up front as the Jaguars' 3-4 defense featuring a host of talented run-stuffers attempts to slow down the Seahawks zone rushing attack. With Chris Carson injured, Alex Collins has taken over, but he was downgraded to DNP on Thursday with a groin injury.
Pressuring the opposing quarterback is always critical, but even more so against Geno Smith. When given a clean pocket, Smith has been one of the top passers in the league this year during his three appearances. But against pressure, he's been horrific.
Good news for the Jags? They haven't been able to rack up the sack numbers they desire, but they have generated a ton of pressure over the last two games. Edge rusher Josh Allen has led the way, with Dawuane Smoot and K'Lavon Chaisson doing their part as well. The Seahawks' offensive tackles, Duane Brown on the left side and Brandon Shell on the right, have combined to allow 18 pressures and three sacks over the last three contests. If the Jaguars can get some push up the middle, some of those pressures could turn into sacks.
The Seahawks are without their starting quarterback and running back, which obviously has a massive impact on the game. They could also be missing wide receiver DK Metcalf (foot) and running back Alex Collins (groin). The Jaguars would have a decided edge should either, or both, be out for Seattle.
The Jaguars are without starting center Brandon Linder and right guard AJ Cann, but their backups, Tyler Shatley and Ben Bartch, have done an excellent job in their stead. Wide Receiver DJ Chark is also out for the remainder of the season, but Jamal Agnew has emerged as an efficient and explosive playmaker for the Jaguars' offense.
The Jaguars' most talented defender, linebacker Myles Jack, will be back in action after missing week six with a back/oblique injury. Rookie cornerback Tyson Campbell is also expected to re-enter the lineup on the outside.
Third down conversions: The Seahawks' defense has surrendered first downs on just nine of 37 third down attempts over the last three games, while the Jaguars have converted on just 12 of 32 third downs over the same span. The Jaguars will certainly look to improve in this regard. And I think they will. Seattle's recent defensive success has come against Ben Roethlisberger and Jameis Winston in wet and windy weather. The Jaguars will inch closer to to 50% conversions in this one, and they won't be afraid to go for it on fourth down, as they've proven throughout the year.
As I mentioned, the Jaguars have never won a game in Seattle. But like a clover, four is their lucky number. The Jaguars will take on the Seahawks and the 12s (not literally, hopefully), and they will emerge victorious. Coming off of a short week after Monday Night Football, the Seahawks will be determined to run the ball, but the Jags' run defense is too stout. When the Seahawks take to the skies, they'll find some success, but the Jaguars' pass rush and coverage will combine to do enough to keep the Seahawks out of the red zone more often than not. Josh Allen will come away with two sacks. Offensively, the Big Cats will look to establish the run themselves, and even with linebacker Bobby Wagner roaming the field, James Robinson will find enough room to keep the chains moving. Trevor Lawrence will have a decent day here and turn the ball over just once while making some big-time tosses down the field. It won't be pretty, but the Jaguars will do enough to pull off their improbable second win in a row over a Seahawks club devastated by offensive injuries.
Jaguars 24, Seahawks 20
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