The Jacksonville Jaguars are very likely to lose this game. I’m not going to sugarcoat it: we realistically will not beat the Denver Broncos. If a scenario plays out in which the Jags do win this game though, here’s how they’ll have done it.
Shut down Emmanuel Sanders
The Broncos have been suffering from injuries aplenty in recent weeks. Running back C.J. Anderson is out for the year, so they have been going with a tandem of Devontae Booker and Kapri Bibbs in the backfield. The injury bug hit them even harder when quarterback Trevor Siemian hurt his foot. Rookie Paxton Lynch will be starting this week, so the Jaguars can take advantage of that by shutting down his top target. No, I’m not talking about Demaryius Thomas.
Emmanuel Sanders has more receptions, receiving yards and catches over 20 yards. He has been the more reliable receiver so far this year for the Broncos. If the Jaguars can shut him down (which they are capable of doing), then they could make life hell for Paxton Lynch.
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Get the ground game going
Although Denver has a great defense for the most part, their run defense is the sixth-worst in the NFL. Crazy, right? That means that one of the league’s worst run defenses will go up against the eighth-worst run offense. That sure sounds exhilarating.
Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon haven’t been all that impressive this year. Ivory has shown potential before, but not on a consistent basis. If he can show up and get going right out of the gate this week, the Jaguars could keep it close.
This has been a problem for Blake Bortles in his first three years in the NFL. Maybe he can pull a rabbit out of his hat and score a touchdown in the first quarter?
I doubt it.
This isn’t as important as the first two keys, but the Jaguars have been trailing early in most of their games this year. They get a lot of points in garbage time, but they haven’t been reliable in the first quarter. If Bortles and Co. can change that, they’ll be a lot better off.