The Jaguars enter Week 14 once again searching for a buzz.
The team had gained momentum with a victory over the Tennessee Titans in late November, a victory that followed an overtime loss at 11-1 Houston. The Jaguars had two of their best offensive games of the season those two weeks, scoring 37 and 24 points with quarterback
The Jaguars (2-10) this past week lost, 34-18, to the Buffalo Bills, a game in which steady rain and heavy wind limited the passing game while the Bills outrushed the Jaguars 242-50.
The task this week: regroup and begin to use the final four games to set a tone for the offseason and next season.
They’ll do that against a New York Jets (5-7) team still fighting for a postseason berth, one that enters the game with uncertainty at quarterback. Still, it reportedly remains unlikely that former Nease High School and University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow will start at the position for the Jets Sunday.
More concerning for the Jaguars than Tebow: regaining the offensive potency and energy the team was establishing before Buffalo.
A focus this week will be on Jaguars second-year wide receiver Cecil Shorts. He was key to the offensive surge, catching 13 passes for 291 yards and three touchdowns in three games leading to the Buffalo loss. He led the Jaguars with seven receptions for 77 yards and a touchdown in that game before sustaining a concussion. He is in the team’s concussion program and scheduled to be tested Tuesday.
The Jets, after contending for the Super Bowl in 2009 and 2010, have struggled the last two seasons, and after going 8-8 last season they’re a long shot for the playoffs this season. Yet, entering the last month, they still have hope, and they enter Sunday fighting for fading playoff hopes. They’ll also enter Sunday with the main storyline being quarterback, and as of Tuesday, that situation remains uncertain. Head Coach Rex Ryan pulled starter Mark Sanchez Sunday and backup Greg McElroy led the team to its only touchdown in a 7-6 victory over Arizona. As of Tuesday morning, Ryan had not named a starter, though some reports indicate he and General Manager Mike Tannenbaum want to start Sanchez whereas ownership might prefer McElroy. Tebow also could be an option, though he was inactive last week with injured ribs.
The Jaguars-Jets game at EverBank Field in Jacksonville Sunday at 1 p.m. will be broadcast regionally on CBS and locally on WETV CBS 47 (Channel 6). Kevin Harlan will call the play-by-play and Solomon Wilcots will add analysis.
Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan says
“I've got three quarterbacks I feel good about. I think we're in a lot better situation than probably a lot of teams. . . . I just want to make sure I get all the facts and everything else. It's a big decision. The decision has to be made on what I think gives us the best opportunity to beat Jacksonville.”
Early matchup to watch
The matchup to watch may be the media versus Ryan, who will be criticized whatever he does at quarterback, but on the field we’ll go with the Jets’ defense versus Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne. While the Jets’ defense is without cornerback Darrelle Revis and not as dominant as in recent seasons, the unit still ranks No. 10 in the NFL and can give offenses problems with confusing coverages and aggressive blitz schemes. Henne completed 18 of 41 passes in the rain in Buffalo, but had been able to utilize the Jaguars’ receivers the previous two weeks in far more favorable conditions. In four starts in 2009-2010 for Miami, Henne went 3-1 against the Jets, throwing six touchdowns with one interception and averaging 193 yards passing despite being sacked 12 times.
Player to watch
What to watch
* Jones-Drew, the NFL’s leading rusher last season, could miss a seventh consecutive game with a sprained foot after sustaining the injury on the first play of a loss to Oakland in Week 7. Jaguars Head Coach Mike Mularkey said Monday Jones-Drew is very questionable for the Jets game.
* Look for Jaguars cornerback
* Adding to the uncertainty at the cornerback position, veteran
* Rookie guard