LONDON – 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 Philadelphia Eagles at Wembley Stadium in London Sunday.
Rick Ballou, Jaguars sideline reporter
The Jaguars will win if: They run. If newly-signed running back Carlos Hyde can pick up some first downs, that will open things up for the passing game. Jacksonville must take advantage of its experience playing in London yearly; this intangible could be huge against the defending Super Bowl Champions.
The Eagles will win if: They challenge the Jaguars' injured secondary. Jacksonville already was down its top two nickel backs (D.J. Hayden and Tyler Patmon) and starter A.J. Bouye won't play because of a calf injury. Philadelphia will put all the pressure on Bortles to win the game. Jacksonville would love to run, but that will be tough against the NFL's second-ranked run defense.
As Ballou sees it: Eagles, 20-13. The Jaguars' three-game London winning streak will end as Philadelphia is a touchdown better. The injuries and struggling offense will be a major concern at the Jaguars head to the bye.
Tony Boselli, Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars left tackle
The Jaguars will win if: They pressure quarterback Carson Wentz and force multiple Eagles turnovers. The Jaguars must win turnover margin this week and give their offense a few short fields. Right now the Jaguars' offense is not consistent enough to put together long, point-producing drives. They need some easy points to beat the Eagles.
The Eagles will win if: They take the early lead and force the Jaguars to play catch up. The Jaguars have yet to overcome a deficit this season. The Eagles will want a balanced offensive attack, helping keep the Jaguars pass rush dormant. Defensively, the Eagles will try to force the Jaguars into obvious passing situations. If they can do this, the Eagles will leave London with the victory.
As Boselli sees it: The Jaguars need a big game from running backs Carlos Hyde and T.J. Yeldon. They must get the run game going to take pressure off Bortles and allow him to find his rhythm. Defensively, look for the Jaguars to take advantage of an Eagles offensive line that has struggled to protect Wentz at times and finally have a game that reminds everyone of last year's defense. If they can do this, the Jaguars win 17-14.
Frank Frangie, Radio Voice of the Jaguars
The Jaguars will win if: They somehow find some offense. Using Hyde as a downhill runner will help immensely, but they still must throw down the field. They must get the Eagles out of that expected eight-man box.
The Eagles will win if: They stuff the run and make the Jaguars throw. They also must get off the deck after letting a big lead get away the last time out. Like the Jaguars, they must rediscover their mojo.
As Frangie sees it: Both teams are having far worse seasons than expected. It's a tough challenge for each. The team that shakes off the funk the fastest wins. It's a tossup.
Jeff Lageman, Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars defensive end
The Jaguars will win if: They protect the ball on offense and get back to playing great defense. The Jaguars' offense is struggling with injuries; hopefully adding Hyde will makes a difference in production and attitude. The foundation of a rushing attack with play action as a complement is key to scoring points. The defense must get back to it 2017 form and create short fields for the offense. I wrote similar things last week in this section; for this team, the recipe remains the same.
The Eagles will win if: They have balance offensively to take pressure off Wentz. The Eagles are trying to find solutions for injured running backs Darren Sproles and Jay Ajayi with young, unproven players. Wentz is good enough to win by himself as he protects the ball while still pushing it downfield, but an effective running game will make it much easier for him in a system that has RPOs as part of the core of the offense.
As Lageman sees it: The experience of traveling to London should help the Jaguars even the playing field somewhat, but it will still be a challenging game. The Eagles are defending Super Bowl champions and will have a contingent of proud fans cheering loudly for their team with a quarterback in Wentz playing at a higher level than Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles. Bortles also has an environment that has been productive for him with a 3-0 record in London the last three years. Bortles must have success early to get confidence from his team a week after having been benched. This is a game both teams need desperately.
Brent Martineau, Action Sports Jax Sports Director
The Jaguars will win if: They win turnover margin. It's getting ugly in Jacksonville because of the turnover ratio: Three things win football games most of the time: hanging onto the ball (Jaguars have turned it over nine times in three weeks), forcing turnovers (Jaguars have NFL-second-worst five forced turnovers) and red-zone efficiency (Jaguars have made one trip to red zone in the last two weeks).
The Eagles will win if: They make the Jaguars one-dimensional. Hyde will make his Jaguars debut this week and will be a focal point of the game plan. If Philadelphia can stop the power-run game of the Jaguars, that will take away the play action and downfield threat as well.
As Martineau sees it: The Jaguars must earn my trust back and they didn't do it this past week. It feels like this season is off the rails. Maybe London will help. Maybe the bounces will finally fall the Jaguars' way. Maybe the turnover machine will shift the Jaguars' way. I'll have to see it to believe it; I have the defending Super Bowl champions winning 20-16.
John Oehser, jaguars.com senior writer
The Jaguars will win if: They win turnover margin and establish the run. They were plus-10 in giveaway-takeaway last season and are minus-12 this season. They ranked first in the NFL in rushing last season and rank 23rd this season. They're so far away from their identity that it's hard to remember what the identity looked like. They must get back to it – and fast.
The Eagles will win if: They shut out the Jaguars in the first half. The Eagles' RPO-oriented offense will score enough to get the Eagles into the high teens or mid-20s. If the Jaguars don't have points in the first half, it's hard to see them coming from behind with multiple touchdowns in the second.
As Oehser sees it: It's hard to like the Jaguars in this one. The hope is that Hyde returns the offense to its tough, run-first identity, but can one player make a dramatic enough difference? Can the London advantage be enough to overcome the injuries? It's a tall task – probably too tall.
Brian Sexton, jaguars.com senior correspondent
The Jaguars will win if: They finish the game plus-two in turnover ratio. It's pretty simple: The Jaguars must protect the football and the defense must create turnovers, which won't be easy against Wentz; he has 10 touchdown passes and only one interception since returning from a knee injury.
The Eagles will win if: They finish plus-two in the turnover ratio. That has been the formula for beating the Jaguars the last three weeks. Why should the Eagles reinvent the wheel?
As Sexton sees it: The Eagles are too talented for this Jacksonville team, which is now dealing with injuries on both sides of the ball. I think the London advantage will keep it close, but until I see the Jaguars play good football I can only assume they won't. I will go with the defending Super Bowl champions to end the Jaguars' three-game Wembley winning streak.
J.P. Shadrick, jaguars.com reporter/editor
The Jaguars will win if: They figure out something on offense – and as Head Coach Doug Marrone said, "Don't turn the damn ball over." The focus has been on the quarterback position all week, but he did not have consistent help around him last week. The Jaguars must catch the ball. And protect the ball. Also, the Jaguars haven't scored in the first half of a game in almost a month. They must start there.
The Eagles will win if: They run the offense like they want without disruption. Wentz has 10 touchdown passes and one interception, and tight end Zach Ertz already has over 600 yards receiving this season. The Jaguars must stop that connection and find a way to get home on Wentz, get a strip-sack or interception (or three) and put the offense in good positions. If the defense can't, then it could be a long day.
As Shadrick sees it: With a battle of 3-4 teams, the loser is in real trouble. The Eagles' four losses each have come by one score. The Jaguars have not looked like a playoff-caliber team the last three weeks, and that needs to change quickly to keep hope alive for a second-half run in an AFC South that does not have a dominant team. This is the Eagles' first-ever trip to London; could the travel and fanfare surrounding the game affect them? I think they'll be OK; remember, they survived the two-week hype around the Super Bowl last season and there will be plenty of Eagles representation in the stands at Wembley. The Jags need their home away from home to come through for this one.
Ashlyn Sullivan, Digital reporter and host
The Jaguars will win if: They score in the first half. The Jaguars haven't scored before halftime in the past three games. For this defense to get back to its dominant nature, it needs the offense scoring. The Jaguars are not a come-from-behind team; they need points early to find confidence on both sides of the ball.
The Eagles will win if: They confuse the Jaguars' defense. The Jaguars defense looked overwhelmed and confused against the Cowboys two weeks ago. Wentz is a mobile quarterback and the Eagles' offense has been efficient with run-pass option. The Jaguars' defense must make the Eagles one-dimensional and not give Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson the option to open up his playbook against the Jags' defense.
As Sullivan sees it: This Eagles team is not the Super Bowl champs we saw last year. However, they will show up on Sunday hungry after blowing a 17-point lead against the Panthers last week. I think the Jaguars will come home with a win this week because of the advantage they have playing in London. The Jags have won three consecutive games at Wembley; they know how the system works.