Giants (5-1) Jaguars (2-4)
Last Sunday with less than 3 minutes left
in the game, the Jacksonville Jaguars scored a touchdown to take a one point lead
over the Indianapolis Colts. The quarter ran down to the 17 second mark when a
32-yard touchdown pass gave the Colts all they needed to come away with a 34-27
win over the Jaguars.
Things were looking bleak for the Giants on Sunday,
when they trailed the Baltimore Ravens 20-10 early in the fourth quarter. The
underdog Giants got it all together after that, and thrilled their MetLife crowd
with a 24-20 win.
The Jacksonville Jaguars and Carolina
Panthers got their starts as NFL expansion teams in 1995. After finishing last
in the AFC Central that year, the Jaguars went on to the playoffs in the next
four, winning the division title twice. Over the next 17 years they had just 3
winning seasons, and went to the playoffs in two of them as a wildcard team
2017 the Jaguars finished first in the AFC South, and won the Wild Card and Divisional
playoffs before losing the AFC Championship game to the New England Patriots.
It's been losing seasons since then for the Jaguars, the last two being their
worst, totaling just 4 wins and 29 losses.
Doug Pederson is the new head coach
this year. Pederson spent five seasons as the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles,
getting the team to the postseason three times while winning two NFC East titles.
In 2017, Pederson led the Eagles to their first-ever Super Bowl Championship with
a victory over the Patriots in Super Bowl LII.
Quarterback Trevor Lawrence was a rookie last year throwing 12 touchdowns, and
a league-high 17 interceptions, while averaging just 6 yards per attempt. The
thought is that with head coach Doug Pederson, a former quarterback as his mentor,
things will change. Lawrence was drafted No. 1 by the Jaguars last year, and has
the skills to do the job, but did not have much support. Aside from better coaching,
the Jaguars fortified the offensive line during free agency. They also brought
in receivers Christian Kirk and Zay Jones, and signed former Giants tight end
Evan Engram to a one year deal.
Ten year veteran Marvin Jones Jr. was their
top receiver last year, averaging 11.4 yards a catch and had 4 touchdowns. As
was expected from the big signing, Kirk is currently the leading receiver with
25 catches and 4 touchdowns, and Jones is next with 27 receptions and 1 touchdown.
Jones Jr. is fourth on the list with 18 catches and 1 touchdown. The three have
a total of 70 catches, and 42 have been first downs.
Engram is the third leading
receiver, and in this group has the best completion percentage, being targeted
32 times and pulling in 24. The running game took a hit from the start last year
when Travis Etienne, the Jaguars second selection in the first round, missed his
entire rookie season with a foot injury. Lead rusher James Robinson dealt with
some heel and ankle issues before suffering a torn ACL late in the season.
Both running backs are healthy now, and they also contribute to the passing game.
Lawrence was the second leading rusher last year, and the quarterback is third
in their order with 20 carries for 9 first downs, and 2 rushing touchdowns. Currently,
the Jaguar's offense is 11th in total yards compared to 27th last year, and the
most important improvement has been in scoring. They've moved up from ranking
dead last averaging 15 points a game, to an average of 23.
The defense knows they let the team down last week. They let Indianapolis Colt's
quarterback Matt Ryan complete 42 passes for 389 yards with 3 touchdowns, no sacks
and no turnovers. That performance was a far cry from their earlier game in week
two against the Colts. Then, they sacked Ryan 5 times, intercepted him 3 times,
and finished up with a 24-0 shutout win. This time Ryan was working without last
season's top two running backs, Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines, and there were
only 15 running plays called. Working with that limitation, Ryan had to throw
the ball 58 times, and still the Jaguars defense couldn't slow him down.
defense allowed the Colts to score on their last five possessions, including the
game winning touchdown with 17 seconds to play. The Jaguars are tough up front,
and one of the reasons is linebacker Josh Allen, and with the first overall pick
of the 2022 draft, the Jaguars added Travon Walker. Allen leads the team with
23 pressures, 3 sacks and 10 quarterback hits.
Walker has 1 sack, 3 quarterback
hits, and has 1 interception. Inside linebackers Foye Oluokun and Devin Lloyd,
another first round pick, have accounted for over one quarter of the teams total
tackles. This defense has the Jaguars sitting at third in rushing yards allowed
per game, and third in rushing yards per play, a big improvement over last year.
Their passing attack hasn't improved, and that's their weak area. They're still
low with just 10 sacks on the season, and they've slipped to 20th in passing yardage.
The biggest weapon the Giants
have is Sauqon Barkley. He has rushed with the ball 119 times, which is the most
in the league. His 616 rushing yards places him second in the league. Barkley
has also been Daniel Jones favorite target for the passing game, and he's caught
21 of 26 passes for 155 yards and 2 touchdowns. Currently, Barkley's 771 total
yards has him leading the NFL in yards from scrimmage. One of the problems for
the Giants this week will be dealing with the Jaguars tough run defense, which
is allowing just 89.3 rushing yards a game. They are doing this using two rookie
first round linebackers, who will only improve on their skills as they continue
their learning process in each game they play.
The Giants may have to break
out a better passing attack if they expect to win this one. In the one game they've
lost to the Cowboys, the offensive line allowed 27 pressures, but they have improved
since then. Left tackle Andrew Thomas hasn't
allowed a sack all year, and rookie right tackle Evan Neal played his worst in
that Cowboys game. Neal allowed 5 pressures, and 3 ended up as sacks. Over the
last three full games since then, he's allowed just 5 pressures and 1 sack.
the plan is for the team this week as to passing or running, offensive coordinator
Mike Kafka has called plays that have caught opposing defenses short a number
of times. There has been reverse handoffs with pass options, multiple halfback
formations, and direct snaps to Barkley to name a few. These options have also
factored in to the Giants having the success they've seen so far, and the Jaguars
will have to prepare for them.
The defense was not good at stopping
the run last year, and despite winning games, they are worse in that same area
now. The Giants are 28th in the league, with 144.8 rushing yards allowed per game,
and dead last, giving up 5.61 yards per carry. Last week they showed no improvement,
giving up 211 rushing yards to the Ravens. Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale
has alluded that may have been part of the overall game plan needed to restrict
what quarterback Lamar Jackson could do with his talented skill set.
may have to stir that same pot as this week the Giants are up against another
team that can run the ball. The Jaguars are ninth in the league, averaging 136.7
rushing yards per game. Last week against the Colts defense allowing just 96.6
yards per game, the Jaguars team ran for 243. Their quarterback can run, and James
Robinson is averaging 4.2 yards per carry, and Travis Etienne 5.6.
pass rush has improved, with defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence leading the team
with 4 sacks and 22 pressures. Rookie edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux got the first
sack of his career last week, and the Giants now have 13 on the season. It should
be noted that quarterback Trevor Lawrence has been sacked just 10 times, but 4
came in the last game. Despite that, he completed 20 of 22 passes with one touchdown,
and ran for 2 touchdowns. The Giants will be without edge rushing linebackers
Oshane Ximines and Azeez Ojulari in this game.
All the offseason changes the Jaguars made
have shown improvement, but haven't yet tipped the scale much in their win-loss
column. Two of the four games the Jaguars have lost have been to the Washington
Commanders and the Philadelphia Eagles, both NFC East teams. Once again this season
the Giants are listed as the underdog team, and they sure would like to see that
Jaguars NFC East losing streak continue one more week.
Sunday at 1:00pm Giants (5-1)
at Jaguars (2-4).
Sunday at 1:00pm Lions (1-4) at Cowboys (4-2).
at 1:00pm Packers (3-3) at Commanders (2-4).
The Cowboys are the only NFC
East team favored to win in these games.
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30 Giants at Seattle
Nov 13 Texans at Giants