JACKSONVILLE – Each Saturday during the 2017 season, eight Jaguars experts – Rick Ballou, Tony Boselli, Frank Frangie, Jeff Lageman, Brent Martineau, John Oehser, Brian Sexton and J.P. Shadrick – will break down the following day's Jaguars matchup.
Up this week:
The Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium Cleveland, Ohio.
Rick Ballou, Jaguars sideline reporter
The Jaguars will win if:They have some balance on offense. Despite being 0-9, the Browns are one of the best teams in the NFL against the run. The Jaguars are wounded at wide receiver, and will need some younger players to step up.
The Browns will win if:The Jaguars can't handle the cold weather. Cleveland isn't a good football team, but some of the Browns' losses have been by a field goal. Jacksonville can't allow them to hang around.
As Ballou sees it:The Jaguars win, 24-13. Sacksonville returns after being shutout a week ago and the defense will force a couple of turnovers.
Tony Boselli, Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars left tackle
The Jaguars will win if:They play clean football. The Jaguars are clearly the better team, and if they play smart – not turning over the ball – they will win by a double-digit margin.
The Browns will win if:They can win the turnover margin by two or more, creating short fields for their offense. They will also need to win the special-teams battle, possibly getting a score, if they are going to have a chance.
As Boselli sees it:The Jaguars will dominate from the start and win going away, 31-10.
Frank Frangie, Radio Voice of the Jaguars
The Jaguars will win if:They can do what they do best -- hit a throw or two early, then run the ball throughout. And if they can field a healthy team; they've lost some players to injury of late. Rookie Dede Westbrook, who has yet to play in an NFL game, could be the third receiver – and it's uncertain if the Jags will have a healthy offensive front.
The Browns will win if:They play their best game of the year. They played better to start the game last week in Detroit, but struggled down the stretch again. This will be one of the best teams they have played or will play all year. Tough challenge for Cleveland.
As Frangie sees it:The Jags are significantly better and should win. But not being complacent and being ready to play a prohibitive home underdog is the next step in the maturation process of what suddenly has become a good NFL team.
Jeff Lageman, Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars defensive end
The Jaguars will win if: Their defense plays the way it should against a young quarterback that is playing like a young quarterback. Kizer is the 33rd-ranked passer in the NFL. He shows a talented arm at times, but "at times" is not good enough to score points against Sacksonville.
The Browns will win if: Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams' defense forces four turnovers with his aggressive scheme. Cleveland's defense is much improved from last year overall and very stout against the run with nose tackle Danny Shelton. The film shows a defense that plays hard, which is impressive given the Browns' offensive struggles and their record.
As Lageman sees it:The Jaguars will control this game from the beginning with a defense looking to back safety Tashaun Gipson's comments about his former team. The Jaguars will find explosive plays on offense against that aggressive Browns defense that at times can be overly risky.
Brent Martineau, Action Sports Jax Sports Director
The Jaguars will win if:They execute the things that have made them 6-3. This is simple. The Jaguars are way better than the Browns and both teams know that. It's hard to imagine the Browns' offense moving the ball against this Jaguars defense. The key is for the Jags to get the ground game rolling again after a tough day last Sunday.
The Browns will win if:The Jaguars make mistakes in all three phases. The Jaguars can't turn the football over, have a disaster on special teams and have a missed assignment that leads to a score on defense. Cleveland will need a lot of breaks to beat the Jaguars on Sunday.
As Martineau sees it:The Jaguars will win this game. They are good this year, but still haven't earned the right to take anyone lightly. Cleveland is without its best defensive player in Jamie Collins, they are on backup tackles and their top offensive threat – wide receiver Corey Coleman – could be rusty coming back from injury. It's hard to imagine the Jags losing this game.
John Oehser, jaguars.com senior writer
The Jaguars will win if:They run well early, and play good enough run defense to force the Browns to pass. The latter is probably the biggest thing to watch Sunday. If the Jaguars can force Kizer to throw, they should be able to pressure him into fumbles and interceptions. If that happens, this one may not be close.
The Browns will win if: They can force an early turnover and get an early lead. Remember the early part of the Jaguars' loss to the Jets? When the Jaguars allowed a long touchdown that kept the Jets close until halftime? That's the Browns' best chance to win this game. They probably need a big play to get a lead, because the Browns aren't likely to put together multiple extended drives against the Jaguars' defense.
As Oehser sees it:This is a game the Jaguars should win, and the guess here is they will. But it's dangerous. The Browns are still playing hard despite their record, and they played their best game of the season against the Lions last week. The weather and the Browns' defense could keep this close. It will be up to the Jaguars' defense to pull away.
Brian Sexton, jaguars.com senior correspondent
The Jaguars will win if: They can run the ball. The weather is going to be terrible with frigid conditions, howling winds and potentially snow; running the ball is the heart of the Jaguars' personality. It won't be easy. The Browns were going to stack the line of scrimmage already and they're surprisingly good against the run only allowing 86 yards per game.
The Browns will win if: They find a way to score at least 31 points. Cleveland is 0-9 and averaging only 16 points per game. Mix in an offensive line without both tackles, a rookie quarterback, awful weather and a minus-13 turnover ratio against perhaps the best defense in football and scoring any points at all is very much in doubt.
As Sexton sees it:The Jaguars should get to 7-3. It won't be easy; winning never is in the NFL. But if the Jaguars run the ball and play defense and take advantage of the rookie quarterback it shouldn't be that hard, either. The Browns are 1-24 in their last 25 games because they're just not very good.
J.P. Shadrick, jaguars.com reporter/editor
The Jaguars will win if:The defense continues to smother whoever lines up against it. There was a point in last week's victory that the defense stopped giving up yardage and started taking the ball away. If the Jaguars continue that early, they will roll.
The Browns will win if:Their defense gets some takeaways, and maybe a score or two. The Browns have played some close games this year, and the defense has been a big reason. If they can slow the Jags run game and put Bortles in some bad situations, it could get weird quick.
As Shadrick sees it:The Jaguars are 6-3, and the Browns are 0-9. Get an early lead on the Browns and do not give them any hope. Complete the season sweep of the AFC North and move on.