JACKSONVILLE – Each Saturday during the 2018 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 Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Rick Ballou, Jaguars sideline reporter
The Jaguars will win if: Kicker Josh Lambo has a big day. This will be a defensive game in which field position will be a major factor. Special teams will be even more important in this low-scoring game. Field goals will be the difference against Dallas.
The Cowboys will win if: Take more chances than they normally do. The Cowboys are desperate, and I expect them to test Jacksonville. This has been a tough week for the Cowboys, and comments from owner Jerry Jones and wide receiver Allen Hurns may have created a distraction. Always be aware of a wounded team.As Ballou sees it: Jaguars, 16-6. A game with five field goals and one Jaguars touchdown won't be especially pretty. The Jags will have some success moving the ball and limit the turnovers that cost them last Sunday in Kansas City.
Tony Boselli, Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars left tackle
The Jaguars will win if: They can get some consistency on offense, and it starts with quarterback Blake Bortles. He has been up and down this year; hopefully this is an up week. He will need to use his legs if the Jaguars are going to move the ball, because it's going to be a tough matchup for the offensive line versus the Cowboys' front four.
The Cowboys will win if: If they can find a way to score versus a Jaguars defense looking for some redemption after a tough showing last week. The Ezekiel Elliott- and Dak Prescott-led offense has struggled to score this year because of a passing game that lacks any big-play threat. If they can get the passing game to complement a run game that can be dangerous, they might be able to stress the Jaguars' defense enough to get a win.
As Boselli sees it: This will be a low-scoring game in which turnovers and special teams will make the difference. Both offenses will struggle to move the ball with consistency and score. This game will be decided by an errant throw, a bounce of the ball to the other team or a big special-teams play. I believe (maybe hoping) the ball will bounce the Jaguars' way and they will get a 16-13 win in Jerry's World.
Frank Frangie, Radio Voice of the Jaguars
The Jaguars will win if: They shake off the ills of last week and rediscover some offense. The Cowboys are tough against the run, so Jacksonville must hit some plays through the air. Dede Westbrook may wind up being the Jaguars' most explosive wide receiver and could be big in this one.
The Cowboys will win if: The Cowboys will win if they harass Bortles and frustrate him in the passing game. Dallas will be stout against the run, so the key will be what the Jags can do through the air.
As Frangie sees it: The Jags will win, but it will be ugly. Jacksonville, 23-16.
Jeff Lageman, Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars defensive end
The Jaguars will win if: The Jaguars will win if they can control running back Ezekiel Elliott. He is the Cowboys' offense right now with Dak Prescott struggling at quarterback. Elliott has 52.5 percent of the Dallas touches offensively and is truly a workhorse running back that does everything extremely well.
The Cowboys will win if: They can keep the Jaguars' offense from finding any rhythm with new faces in place. The Jaguars are replacing a left tackle, tight end and backup running back. That's not a position of confidence to call plays if you're an offensive coordinator.
As Lageman sees it: The Jaguars' defense will stifle a one-dimensional Cowboys offense. Prescott is not showing the anticipation or accuracy to give them balance in the passing game. The score will be low, and Bortles will find a way to lead his offense to points and his team to victory.
Brent Martineau, Action Sports Jax Sports Director
The Jaguars will win if: *They hold Elliott under 125 total yards. Elliott is almost 50 percent of the Cowboys' offense and they have few weapons outside of him. He does it in receiving and running, but if the Jaguars hold him to a modest game they will hold Dallas to a manageable point total.
The Cowboys will win if: They get to face inconsistent Blake Bortles. The trend on Bortles is following a bad game he has a good one. That means he is due for a good game, but Bortles can be tough to predict. It will be tough sledding on offense for the Cowboys in this game, so a critical turnover or two by Bortles will aid Dallas if the Cowboys come out on top.
As Martineau sees it: I thought the Jaguars would split the two road games this month. I thought they would beat the Chiefs and lose to Dallas. They lost at KC and we've talked a lot about how good Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone has been after losses. I'll ride the trend here and pick the Jaguars to win a 21-13 game.
John Oehser, jaguars.com senior writer
The Jaguars will win if: Bortles and the Jaguars' offense function effectively early and get a lead. Bortles in the last season and a half typically has responded to difficult weeks well – and he hasn't had a week as difficult as last week in a while. The Jaguars have moved and scored effectively early in all three victories this season, so a good start would bode well Sunday.
The Cowboys will win if: They get ahead early. The Cowboys need a lead to be able to run Elliott and keep the Jaguars out of pass-rushing situations. If the Jaguars can force Dallas to throw often with Prescott, the Jaguars have a huge advantage. The longer the Cowboys are running effectively with a lead, the trickier this game will get for the Jaguars.
As Oehser sees it: This feels like a bounce-back game for Bortles and the offense. One reason Sunday's loss to the Chiefs got one-sided was the Chiefs took an early lead and the Jaguars responded by throwing too much to try to rally. The Cowboys' offense lacks the Chiefs' firepower. That should enable the Jaguars to be more balanced offensively, which should allow Bortles and the Jaguars to score enough to win.
Brian Sexton, jaguars.com senior correspondent
The Jaguars will win if: They take the ball away more than they give it away. They're a better team than Dallas, but they're not playing like it. Eight giveaways and only two takeaways the last two weeks means they're fortunate to be 1-1 in those games. This is a winnable game, even with all the injuries, but if they want to get to 4-2 they must take the ball away on defense and protect it offensively as they haven't the last two Sundays.
The Cowboys will win if: Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence gets free against a beat-up offensive line and creates the kind of havoc Chiefs pass rusher Dee Ford created in Kansas City last week. Bortles must play calm, which he didn't when Ford was running free at Arrowhead Stadium. Lawrence is an elite athlete and a much better pass rusher than Ford. The Jaguars' current offensive line isn't healthy and is on its third left tackle. Lawrence is licking his chops.
As Sexton sees it: This is going to look a lot like the Cowboys' 19-16 overtime loss in Houston this past Sunday. Neither offense can be counted on to score a lot, and both teams play to their defense. The team that protects the ball wins on Sunday.
J.P. Shadrick, jaguars.com reporter/editor
The Jaguars will win if: They get back to how this team is built: take an early lead, get the running game going and let the defense loose. Throwing 61 times (and dropping back 70) to play catch-up is not a recipe for success for an offense built to run the ball. A one-of-five performance in the red zone and five turnovers last week hopefully were one-offs.
The Cowboys will win if: They establish Elliott and the running game. Also: if the Cowboys get an early two-score lead, then a Dallas pass rush that's better than that of Kansas City can go to work against a banged-up Jaguars offensive line. Do the Jaguars have the ability and personnel to climb back from early deficits? Yes. Have they proven that they can do so? Not yet.
As Shadrick sees it: This is a different feel than last week. The Cowboys' offense can be slowed by the Jaguars' defense, but the Cowboys' defense is a tougher test than the Chiefs – and the Jaguars' offensive injuries are piling up. As Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell said in the locker room Monday, "Good teams don't lose two in a row." Let's see if the Jaguars can bounce back yet again in another tough road environment against a Cowboys team needing a victory.
Ashlyn Sullivan, Digital reporter and host
The Jaguars will win if: They find their personality on both sides of the ball. The offense must get back to running – and get the line healthy. The defense has said it will bring intensity to Dallas; it didn't play to its elite standards against Kansas City. The Jaguars must get back to what they know best on both sides of the ball to win.
The Cowboys will win if: The Jaguars cannot handle Elliott. Linebacker Telvin Smith compared this game to Week 1 against the Giants because of the preparation similarities: stopping Giants running back Saquon Barkley – and now stopping Elliott. The defense held Barkley to 106 yards despite giving up a 68-yard touchdown run. The Jags cannot give up big plays Sunday and must focus on eliminating the Cowboys' best offensive weapon.
As Sullivan sees it: This suddenly is a very important game for the Jaguars. The Jaguars are 8-1 under following a loss. I am sticking with history and believe the Jaguars will come home with a victory. I will be focusing on how the Jaguars will use their new running backs, Jamaal Charles and Dave Williams, to get back to the pound-the-ball offense we have seen be successful.