Week 15 is here and this week is very unique! The Jaguars take on the Oakland Raiders in an AFC matchup! However, this is a special away game because it is the last NFL game played in Oakland.
And while the Jaguars may not have a postseason to play for, they can definitely play spoiler! That could start this week with Oakland, because the Raiders are still in the hunt for a Wild Card spot. Oakland looked hot earlier in the season, but are currently on a three-game losing streak and the Jaguars have enough talent on their roster to extend that streak to four.
This week's player to know is linebacker Donald Payne. He is an undrafted free agent from the 2017 draft class out of Stetson. Fun fact: Payne is the first player from Stetson to play in the NFL. If you're familiar with the name, the linebacker has bounced back and forth between the Jaguars and the Ravens since his rookie season.
So how did he find himself back in a Jags uniform this season? During Week 13 when Myles Jack was declared inactive, Payne was called upon to fill in. He had an extremely productive game against the Bucs with a sack, 13 tackles and a tackle for a loss. Heading into Week 14, the Jaguars placed Jack on IR. Once again the third year veteran had to suit up and he rose to the occasion! He topped his Week 13 performance with 16 tackles against the Chargers. The linebacker should remain the middle man down the stretch for Jacksonville. Expect Payne to play another massive role against a Raiders offense that average 27.2 rushing attempts per game plus he will take on more responsibility since Quincy Williams has also been placed on IR. Although, I must include Payne's challenge - Josh Jacobs, the outstanding rookie running back has been cleared to play on Sunday.
While the Jaguars season hasn't exactly gone according to plan, one thing that Duval shouldn't be upset about is the 2018 rookie class. Gardner Minshew speaks for himself, as does Josh Allen who is a solid candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year. Another rookie who's put in work for Jacksonville is rookie offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor.
Offensive Coordinator John DeFillipo said, "I'm proud of Jawaan… He's drawn some tough assignments this year now. We've played some darn good fronts…"
The matchup to pay attention to is Taylor vs Raiders' rookie defensive end Maxx Crosby.. This season, Crosby has tallied 7.5 sacks, been named AFC Defensive Player of the Week - yes, not just rookie DPOW - and has a huge role in defensive coordinator Paul Guenther's defense. In a Week 10 win over the Chargers, Crosby recorded 10 pressures of quarterback Philip Rivers, who threw three interceptions. The next week, he set a franchise rookie record with four sacks in a win over Cincinnati.
Taylor could have work cut out for him. This battle should be a fun one to watch for any, and all fans.
Whether you're headed to the West Coast or hosting your Duval squad - we've got the perfect recipes for you to please any crowd!
First up is the snack item: Florida Guacamole
What you'll need:
2 Florida avocados, pit removed and mashed
1 Florida tomato, diced small
2 Florida Key limes, juiced
¼ red onion, diced small
2 tablespoon fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
½ teaspoon cumin
Several dashes hot sauce (optional)
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Next is the sweet snack! Florida Peanut Brittle Chocolate Truffles:
What you'll need:
6 ounces Florida peanut brittle, finely crushed
½ cup heavy cream
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 ounces dark chocolate chips
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
_The Preparation: _
In a small sauce pot over medium heat, bring heavy cream to a simmer. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl with the chocolate chips. Tightly cover with plastic wrap for 10 minutes to melt the chocolate. Uncover and add the vanilla, stirring until completely smooth. Place in refrigerator for at least 3 hours in order to set. Using an ice cream scoop or small spoon, scoop out small amounts of chocolate and roll into balls (disposable latex gloves are helpful during this step). Next, roll the truffles into the crushed peanut brittle (or coating of your choice). Place onto a parchment lined baking sheet and chill to set. Serve at room temperature. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Fresh Tip: These truffles can be rolled in additional items such as crushed cookies, flaked coconut, or cocoa powder!