JACKSONVILLE – Here’s this week’s Setting the Table: Storylines and stuff to watch as the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9) prepare to play the Cleveland Browns (4-7) at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio Sunday ...
The buzz this week is there really is a buzz around the Jaguars.
It’s the buzz of a young team showing significant improvement, not to mention the buzz of a franchise beginning to develop under a first-year head coach and first-year general manager.
The Jaguars (2-9), after losing their first eight games of the season by double digits, have played their best three games of the season following a Week Nine bye week, beating the Tennessee Titans in Nashville on November 10 and the Houston Texans in Houston this past Sunday.
The Jaguars haven’t won back-to-back games since 2010 and haven’t won three consecutive road games since 2007.
The Jaguars’ post-bye improvement has been largely about an improving defense that simplified its approach after the bye with dramatic results. The Jaguars forced four turnovers against Tennessee, held the Cardinals to 14 yards rushing the following week, and held the Texans to 218 total yards and two field goals on Sunday.
The Jaguars entered the bye ranked 32nd against the run, but held Tennessee, Arizona and Houston under 100 yards rushing.
Offensively, the Jaguars rank No. 32 in the NFL and struggled the past three games without second-year wide receiver
Jaguars running back
Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said Henne will remain the starter this week against the Browns.
The Browns (4-7), one of the surprise teams in the NFL through five games, have slipped in recent weeks – at least in part because of a difficult midseason schedule. One of the NFL’s most underrated defensive teams, Cleveland won three consecutive games in September and early October, beating Minnesota, Cincinnati and Buffalo to move to 3-2. But they have lost five of their last six games to playoff-contending teams: Detroit (6-5), Green Bay (5-5-1), Kansas City (9-2), Cincinnati (7-4) and Pittsburgh (5-6). The Browns have struggled offensively, with quarterback Brandon Weeden throwing six touchdowns and seven interceptions for 1,361 yards and a 66.0 passer rating. The offense is ranked 25th, and the problems there have overshadowed a strong defense that is ranked fourth overall in the NFL.
The game at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio, at 1 p.m. Sunday will be broadcast regionally on CBS and locally on WTEV-TV CBS-47. Kevin Harlan will handle play-by-play duties with Solomon Wilcots on analysis.
Early matchup to watch
Jaguars wide receiver
Player to watch
Maurice Jones-Drew. The Jaguars’ three-time Pro Bowl running back played with a reduced workload Sunday, and the result was his most productive game of the season. The NFL’s leading rusher in 2011, he rushed for 84 yards on 14 carries for a 6.0-yards-per-carry average against Houston, and also had a season-long 44-yard run. He scored the game’s only touchdown on a one-yard run to cap the Jaguars’ first drive and he also caught six passes for 60 yards. The 144 yards of offense was the first time this season Jones-Drew had had 100 yards total offense. Bradley said he was impressed with how Jones-Drew handled the reduced workload, saying the result was an example of unselfishness benefitting not only the team but the player demonstrating the unselfishness. The Jaguars’ 118 rushing yards as a team were their highest rushing total this year, with backup
What to watch