JACKSONVILLE – Each Saturday during the 2019 season, nine Jaguars experts – Rick Ballou, Tony Boselli, Frank Frangie, Jeff Lageman, Brent Martineau, John Oehser, Brian Sexton, J.P. Shadrick and Ashlyn Sullivan – will break down the following day's Jaguars matchup.
Up this week:
The Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Rick Ballou, Jaguars sideline reporter
The Jaguars will win if: They get the offense going early. The Jaguars have only done this against Tennessee and have trailed in their other five games. The Jaguars should be able to run right through the Bengals.
The Bengals will win if: They force takeaways. Jacksonville is the more talented team, especially with all the Bengals injuries. Winning the turnover battle is the only way Cincinnati can win this game.
As Ballou sees it: The Jaguars will get a road victory by moving the ball with a balanced attack against a Bengals defense that is 32nd in the NFL against the run and is missing both starting cornerbacks. Sacksonville also will get to Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton.
Frank Frangie, Radio Voice of the Jaguars
The Jaguars will win if: They take care of the ball and don't beat themselves. They clearly have the better team. But it's an important week to start fast offensively, which Jacksonville hasn't done much. The offense needs to regain confidence and a few early scores will help. If the Jaguars get running back Leonard Fournette going early, the offense will be in good shape. I also expect a bounce-back game from rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew II.
The Bengals will win if: They force Jacksonville into numerous mistakes. This is a tough season for Cincinnati and this game shouldn't change that. Dalton's time is running out as the Bengals' quarterback — rookie Ryan Finley is waiting in the wings — and their best chance is for Dalton to sort of have a last-gasp good game. Even then it will be hard for Cincinnati without some takeaways.
As Frangie sees it: The Jaguars should win this game. They could get going early, take care of the ball and possibly even coast down the stretch. This could be a good confidence-builder and get the team within a game of .500.
Jeff Lageman, Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars defensive end
The Jaguars will win if: They continue to make the Bengals look like the Bengals. Cincinnati is struggling to run, stop the run, score and have players stay healthy to play. The Jaguars should run effectively with Fournette against the league's worst run defense, allowing Minshew to regain some of the magic that was lost against the Saints. The Bengals have injuries in their front seven and at cornerback, and it's tough to overcome injuries at the NFL level.
The Bengals will win if: They can magically transform the NFL's worst rushing attack into a force behind an injured offensive line. Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard are more-than-capable backs. Dalton is not playing very well for new head coach Zac Taylor. Dalton is also without one of the NFL's best receivers, A.J. Green, who has yet to play this season after July ankle surgery.
As Lageman sees it: This is about as a winnable game as there is in the NFL, but there are no "gimmes" – and if you don't come to play against an 0-6 team, you will be humbled. The Jaguars have overcome and moved on from the Jalen Ramsey drama, and will win the turnover battle to get Victory No. 3 on the season.
Brent Martineau, Action Sports Jax Sports Director
The Jaguars will win if: They get a lead of any kind. Think about this: The Jaguars have not led in the first half in a month – since the victory over Tennessee. If the Jaguars can get the lead, Fournette can do his thing and the defense can be more opportunistic.
The Bengals will win if: They win the turnover battle by more than two. Cincinnati is winless for a reason, but this is the NFL and nothing is a sure thing – except that if you turn the ball over, especially on the road, you likely will lose. The Jaguars can't be sloppy and expect to win.
As Martineau sees it: I think the Bengals are desperate for a win, but shouldn't the Jaguars be just as desperate? I think they will be. The team responded well when Ramsey first asked for a trade and I think they will respond again this week. The Jags will look good on Sunday, winning 27-10.
John Oehser, jaguars.com senior writer
The Jaguars will win if: They get a lead. Except for a Week 3 victory over Tennessee, the Jaguars have led just 14 minutes, 42 seconds this season – all in the second half of a Week 4 victory in Denver. Getting a lead is key Sunday. The longer the Bengals stay in the game, the more they will believe they can win for the first time this season.
The Bengals will win if: They can stop the run. The Bengals have struggled mightily in this area since midway through last season, and they allowed 269 yards rushing in a loss to the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday. The Jaguars believe they're close to running consistently. If they can't run in Cincinnati, this game could be uncomfortably close.
As Oehser sees it: This game will be tougher for the Jaguars than many believe. While the Bengals are injured and struggling at 0-6, they're not going to go the entire season without winning – and they have been very close to winning three of their six games. The Jaguars will need to play well in the fourth quarter, and they may need some Minshew Magic – and a late sack – to get a must-win victory.
Brian Sexton, jaguars.com senior correspondent
The Jaguars will win if: They establish the run early. The Cardinals ran for 266 yards against the Bengals two weeks ago and last Sunday the Ravens piled up 269 more behind quarterback Lamar Jackson's career-best 152 yards rushing last week. If the Jaguars can run the ball like that, it won't matter what scheme the Bengals deploy to try and keep Minshew guessing. Fournette should have a career day this week.
The Bengals will win if: They can play the same scheme as the Saints a week ago – but they cannot. Both their starting corners are down with injuries and defensive end Carlos Dunlap has a knee issue that kept him out of action a week ago. The Saints ran a brilliant scheme and executed it to perfection against the Jaguars. It might work for Cincinnati, but they just don't have enough healthy players to pull it off.
As Sexton sees it: This will be a close game early and one the Jaguars will control late. The Jaguars will run for 200 yards, make it easy for Minshew to control the clock and play his game and ultimately take advantage of a beat-up Bengals team to get back in the victory column for the first time since Denver.
J.P. Shadrick, jaguars.com reporter/editor
The Jaguars will win if: They can run. The Bengals have not proven they can stop it this season, and the Jaguars have shown flashes of being dominant on the ground. They must convert third downs, keep the chains moving and get more opportunities to hand the ball off to Fournette while taking pressure off Minshew.
The Bengals will win if: They win the turnover battle. This has been a topic all season because the Jaguars give the ball up too much and have only taken it away twice (once on defense). They must steal some possessions from a struggling Bengals team, making the Bengals struggle that much more. If the Bengals get free possessions by taking it away, the pressure turns to the Jaguars.
As Shadrick sees it: As running backs coach and longtime NFL assistant Terry Robiskie put it to me in an interview this week, there is no homecoming game in the NFL. An 0-6 team can beat you if you are not focused and ready, and this is a Jaguars team that does not have the track record of success to prove they can recover from a loss like this if it were to happen. Chiefs, Patriots, Packers? They can get away with it, because they've proven that it can be a blip. This would be much more than a blip if the Jaguars fall Sunday; it would be a problem.
Ashlyn Sullivan, Digital reporter and host
The Jaguars will win if: They play to their strengths. If the Jaguars' running game can be solid and the defense shows up, Jacksonville should have no problem winning this game. The only way I see the Jaguars losing this game is if they beat themselves with penalties or turnovers.
The Bengals will win if: They score early. The Jaguars haven't played with a lead since beating the Broncos. Players have stressed to me the importance of starting fast and getting ahead early, which hasn't happened the past few weeks. The Bengals have a chance to win if they score first and Cincinnati gains momentum.
As Sullivan sees it: The Jaguars are the better team this week. The Bengals are dealing with a boatload of injuries and Jacksonville must take advantage of that. The Jaguars will win this week and I predict they will do so in big fashion.