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 New York Jets at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey
Rick Ballou, Jaguars Sideline Reporter
The Jaguars will win if:They can run the football. Corey Grant adds another dimension to the tandem of Leonard Fournette and Chris Ivory. Jacksonville ran 39 and 35 times, respectively, against Houston in Week 1 and Baltimore in Week 3. If the Jaguars can run, that will open things up for Blake Bortles and the passing game.
The Jets will win if:They force Bortles to turn the ball over. Bortles has thrown only two interceptions since Doug Marrone took over as head coach in Week 16 of the 2016 season, with both coming against Tennessee Week 2 this season. Bortles has lost just one fumble this season. If the Jets can get to Bortles and Jacksonville becomes one dimensional, New York could win.
As Ballou sees it:A 23-10 victory for Jacksonville. Even though it will be brushed aside, this game is huge for Marrone. He hasn't forgotten about his cancelled interview for the Jets' head-coaching position in 2015. The Jaguars are a better team than the Jets and will outplay and outcoach them in every phase.
Frank Frangie, Radio Voice of the Jaguars
The Jaguars will win if:If the defense plays with reckless abandon. For 10 of 12 quarters this season, it has looked like those guys were playing with 15 players. Corners cover relentlessly, pass-rushers fly off the edge. It will be very difficult for journeyman Jets quarterback Josh McCown to generate much against that.
The Jets will win if:If they match the Jags' defense almost play for play. As bad as New York might be on offense, the Jets are decent on defense. Their best chance is to stone the Jaguars' running game, force them into long down-and-distance situations and take a close game into the fourth quarter.
As Frangie sees it:The Jags match up well here. They need some offense – not necessarily a lot – and should really stifle what the Jets try to do with the ball. This is a great opportunity to get to 3-1.
Jeff Lageman, Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars defensive end
The Jaguars will win if:They can get McCown uncomfortable in the pocket. I don't believe the Jets' run game is healthy enough or good enough to control the tempo and it will fall on the 15-year quarterback's shoulders.
The Jets will win if:They control the line of scrimmage with defensive lineman Leonard Williams, linebacker Denario Davis and strong safety Jamal Adams – three excellent players that controlled a victory over Miami last week and had a shutout until the last play of the game.
As Lageman sees it: The Jaguars' defense is just too good for a rebuilding Jets offense that has a stopgap quarterback.
Brent Martineau, Action Sports Jax Sports Director
The Jaguars will win if:They can suffocate the Jets' offense. The Jaguars' strength meets the Jets' weakness – defense versus offense. On paper, this look like it could be a mismatch like Baltimore and Houston. The Jaguars' offense versus the Jets' defense isn't an easy task, but Jacksonville's defense could put its offense in good situations on Sunday.
The Jets will win if:They win the turnover battle. It's the formula to beat the Jaguars and it's simply forcing Bortles into mistakes. If the Jets do that at home, they will be in a good situation to win their second consecutive game.
As Martineau sees it: This game is more difficult than many think; the Jaguars have been reluctant to show they enjoy prosperity. They must prove the tide has turned. I think it is turning and the Jaguars' defense will dominate while the offense does just enough to get it done and move to 3-1.
John Oehser, jaguars.com senior writer
The Jaguars will win if:They play defense in a frenzy. They have played that way in the first half of all three games this season, which was enough in Weeks 1 and 3 – but not enough in Week 2. If the Jaguars match their defensive effort early this season, that should be enough Sunday.
The Jets will win if:The offense can hit big plays. The Jets' defense can limit the Jaguars' offense enough to keep this game close. If the Jets can pop a big play in the passing game on the Jaguars' corners. that could sway momentum enough in the home team's favor.
As Oehser sees it: This is a game the Jaguars should win – and need to win. It's not that the Jets aren't capable, but they're in rebuilding mode – and they're a young team with a franchise-wide eye on the future. The Jets are where the Jaguars were a couple of seasons ago. The Jaguars need to be a step or two further. The guess here is that will happen.
Brian Sexton, jaguars.com senior correspondent
The Jaguars will win if:Bortles looks as good as he did in London. I don't believe the Jets have a single offensive player who poses a serious threat to the Jaguars' defense. They're not overly big, fast or explosive – and that's why many observers believe them to be the frontrunner for the top pick in next spring's NFL Draft. If Bortles can throw as he did in London and keep the Jets from loading up to stop Fournette and Ivory, the Jaguars win.
The Jets will win if:The Jaguars come out as flat as the Ravens did in London. Baltimore didn't know how to navigate the long trip; to an extent, the Jaguars face a similar situation on Sunday. They've never played a week after playing in London. Playing on the road the week after London further complicates the challenge.
As Sexton sees it: The Jaguars are significantly more talented than the Jets and when was the last time we could say that? I expect the secondary to make life difficult for McCown, offering him no windows down the field; with the speed of the Jaguars linebackers, the Jets' tight ends and running backs won't be a factor either. If the Jaguars can recover from the long trip to London, they win and force the rest of the league to take a closer look at what they're doing in Jacksonville.
J.P. Shadrick, jaguars.com reporter/editor
The Jaguars will win if:They continue to play strong defense. They forced the Ravens offense to five three-and-outs in the first half last week at Wembley Stadium and forced three takeaways. The first half of all three games has been spectacular for the Jaguars' defense. Continue taking the ball away and making it easier for the offense to cash in.
The Jets will win if:Bortles cannot find consistency. He had one of his best career games last week. He doesn't need a career day every time out, but he needs to hang on to the football and make good decisions to keep this offense moving. Down-and-distance issues limited the play-calling in the Texans loss, but the Jaguars still need their quarterback to be someone to depend on no matter the situation.
As Shadrick sees it: This is the first year without a bye after London for the Jags, so if you are going to make London a true "home-field advantage," then win in London and go out the next Sunday on the road and win again. The Jaguars are better than the Jets on paper – go make it real.
Tony Boselli, Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars offensive lineman
The Jaguars will win if: They just play clean ball – i.e. no turnovers, low penalties, few big plays allowed, etc. For the first time this season – and actually any season in recent memory – they are the favorites. This is a game they should win, and if they want to be in the conversation come December, they have to win these types of games.
The Jets will win if: They need to win against the run, create second- and third-and-long situations, then hope they get the bad Bortles. The Jets need help to win this game. Short fields will be a must for the Jets' offense to move the ball against the Jaguars' defense.
As Boselli sees it: This game will be close in the first half, but in the end the Jaguars will win by at least two possessions. I like 31-10, Jaguars.