JACKSONVILLE – Each week during the 2022 season, Jaguars "experts" – Tony Boselli, Frank Frangie, Jeff Lageman, Brent Martineau, John Oehser, Brian Sexton and J.P. Shadrick – will analyze the following day's Jaguars matchup.
Up this week:
The Detroit Lions at Ford Field in Detroit, Mich.
Frank Frangie, Radio Voice of the Jaguars
- The Jaguars will win if: They take the momentum from last week's win to Detroit. This is the most momentum the team has had in many years. Lawrence was terrific in last week's win and looks poised to continue that. The Jags need to get running back Travis Etienne Jr. back and healthy. Defensively, they can't let the Lions beat them over the top. Make them embark on long, slow drives. The Lions have been good on offense.
- The Lions will win if: They harass Lawrence and get him off schedule. That won't be easy; Lawrence is playing as well as he has as a pro. The Lions also need balance, which has been a key to their success offensively all year long. They don't want to be one-dimensional.
- As Frangie sees it: These are two teams coming in hot. The Jags had a thrilling, emotional victory last week; the Lions had won three in a row before playing very well in barely losing on Thanksgiving Day to the Bills. The Jags can win this one. If they play like they did last week, they will win.
Jeff Lageman, Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars defensive end
- The Jaguars will win if: They can take advantage of a young Lions defense that is at or near the bottom in many defensive rankings. Lawrence has been on a three-game roll and will have opportunities for big plays in the passing game with Detroit's willingness to play a lot of man coverage. If the Jags' receivers can win those individual matchups, then Lawrence could have a big day.
- The Lions will win if: They control the tempo with their offensive line. The Lions have a very good offensive line when they are healthy and do a really good job in the running game. Williams and D'Andre Swift are two really good backs who complement each other well and can keep the pressure off Goff. Detroit plays a brand of old-school football and is coming in having won three of four games.
- As Lageman sees it: This will be an excellent game that many in the country won't see. The Lions are playing well, nearly beating the Bills on Thanksgiving and Lawrence is playing like a franchise quarterback. This game also features the No. 1 and 2 overall selections in the 2022 NFL Draft – Jaguars outside linebacker Travon Walker (No. 1) and Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (No. 2) so performance comparisons will be made. The Jaguars could find a way to have relevant games down the stretch with a victory against the Lions.
Brent Martineau, Action Sports Jax Sports Director
- The Jaguars will win if: They are better than 50 percent scoring touchdowns in the red zone. The Jaguars will have opportunities against the Lions and need to capitalize in what could be a high-scoring affair. It's one of those games: the Jaguars need to light up the scoreboard to pull off a win.
- The Lions will win if: They get two or more turnovers from Lawrence. The Jaguars quarterback has had multiple turnovers in only three games this season and the Jaguars lost all three. I think that's what it will take for Detroit to win on Sunday.
- As Martineau sees it: When the Jaguars have gained momentum this season, their next game was against Philly early in the season or Kansas City a few weeks ago. While the Lions are not bad, they aren't those teams. This is a nice chance for the Jaguars to get some late-season momentum and get back in the mix here in December. I like the Jaguars on the road against a pesky Lions team, 38-30.
John Oehser, jaguars.com senior writer
- The Jaguars will win if: They score 28 or more points, which means scoring in the red zone – and not turning the ball over there. The Lions are very good offensively and have scored 24 or more points eight times this season, so they figure to score efficiently against a Jaguars defense that has struggled to cover much of the season. The Jaguars have moved the ball well all season. When they are efficient in the red zone, they can score big.
- The Lions will win if: They run effectively and get a big stop or two defensively. The Lions have one of the NFL's best offensive lines and figure to score in the 20s. Can their 32nd-ranked defense get the Jaguars off the field in big situation? That will be key.
- As Oehser sees it: The Jaguars broke through with one of their biggest victories in recent memory last week against the Baltimore Ravens. They probably will need to win in a shootout to maintain that momentum. Here's guessing Lawrence can stack impressive performances.
Brian Sexton, jaguars.com senior correspondent
- The Jaguars will win if: They pressure Lions quarterback Jared Goff. If you watched him against Buffalo on Thanksgiving, you saw he was a different guy when he had time than when the Bills were in his face. The Lions like to throw the ball down the field to wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown – and now that former Jaguars wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. is back in the lineup, there are multiple field-stretching receivers at his disposal. The Jaguars have struggled in coverage down the field this season, so it's up to Jaguars outside linebacker Josh Allen and Company to make Goff shrink in the pocket and get rid of it quickly.
- The Lions will win if: They can get Jamaal Williams into scoring position in the red zone. The former Green Bay Packers running back is averaging 4.1 yards per carry this season with 13 touchdowns, most of them from short range. The Lions won't get tricky deep in Jaguars territory; they will hand it to their big back who has proven he can deliver.
- As Sexton sees it: The team that creates short fields and extra possessions will win. The quarterbacks' numbers are almost identical – as are those of the running backs, wide receivers and pass rushers. It figures; both teams are 4-7, with the Lions winning three of their last four and the Jaguars winning two of their last three. The team that protects the ball will win. I'm going with the Jaguars because quarterback Trevor Lawrence is playing lights out.
J.P. Shadrick, jaguars.com senior reporter
- The Jaguars will win if: They can stop the Lions' running attack and force a couple of takeaways, giving Lawrence and a confident Jaguars offense extra possessions against a Lions defense that has struggled. Keeping the momentum on offense and finishing in the end zone is key.
- The Lions will win if: They control the tempo of the game with the running attack and hold on to the ball. If they shorten the game with the run game and keep the Jaguars' offense on the sideline, those late possessions will become precious.
- As Shadrick sees it: As John Madden once said, "Tell me when there's a little game," but this one is important to see what team can take the next step; 5-7 feels much different than 4-8. The Jaguars are feeling it after last week's rally against the Ravens, and have won two of three. The Lions had won three straight before the Thanksgiving Day loss to the Bills. If the Jaguars can get this one, the confidence would only continue to grow, and their place on the "In the Hunt" graphic would continue to rise.