JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
David from Maplewood, NJ
Wow, one admittedly really bad week and we go from sunshine and rainbows to must win. We are going to have some real legit panic around here if the Jags can't find a way to beat the Titans this Sunday.
The Jaguars have lost one consecutive game entering Sunday's game against the Tennessee Titans at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville. That loss came in one-sided fashion to the San Francisco 49ers last Sunday. Considering they had won five consecutive games, and considering they lead the AFC South by a game, the angst over this loss by any measure has been extreme. This is particularly true considering the opponent in that one consecutive loss was a 49ers team considered by many a Super Bowl favorite. The thought here is that the Jaguars are a good team – though not yet a great one – and had a bad game against a really good team. The Titans, while capable, are not the level of the 49ers. If the Jaguars play well, they should win Sunday. If the Jaguars can't find a way to win that game, you're correct that fans will panic. And the concern will feel far more legitimate.
Bryan from Tampa, FL
This team has the makings to bounce back after ugly losses (even good teams have ugly losses). While I am a little concerned about our performances at home against the elite teams in the league, Tennessee is not one of them and it might be a bad week for them to face the Jaguars! Do you think this could be a blow out?
I don't expect NFL games to be blowouts, particularly division games. This is because blowouts usually are more about one team playing poorly rather than one team playing particularly well. This is also because division games are difficult with teams knowing one another very well. I expect the Jaguars to win Sunday because they're playing at home and because I think they're the better team when both teams play well. If the Jaguars do what they have done most of the season – stop the run, force takeaways and make big plays at key times offensively – I believe they will win.
Jason from North Pole, AK
No time to lick our wounds, it's Titans week and I want to officially slam the door on the Derrick Henry era this week! I feel like Trevor Lawrence having a bounce back in front of the home crowd would help some fans put down the pitchforks for a bit.
It sure wouldn't hurt.
Nick from Virginia Beach, VA
Are the Jags going to lose their MNF game due to Joe Burrows injury?
You're asking if the Jaguars' Monday Night Football game against the Cincinnati Bengals could be flexed to Sunday because of the season-ending injury to Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow. It's possible, though I have heard nothing to indicate this will happen.
Cliff from Everywhere with helicopter
Hey John, if you're going to post messages from angry fans you may as well just post the comments section and take the rest of the week off. Now, let me explain "comments section…"
Sean from Oakleaf, FL
I notice division rival Houston Texans have yet to start the components of their last-place schedule (Arizona Cardinals, New York Jets, Denver Broncos) while we have finished our first-place schedule requirements (Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, 49ers). Just looking ahead to the Texans' remaining opponents, it is certainly a manageable schedule with four remaining division games. Do you see the game in Houston next week as a "must-win" for the Jaguars considering we have already lost to them - or is it one game at a time right now?
The Texans' schedule looks favorable. The Jaguars' schedule has difficult opponents, particularly home games against the Bengals and Baltimore Ravens – though Burrow's injury changes the dynamic of that game at least a bit. A road game against the Texans is difficult, too. Here's the reality: If the Jaguars play well over their final eight games, I expect they will win the AFC South. If they improve offensively, they will have a chance to get hot in the playoffs. If they play poorly, I expect the Texans can overtake them. It's all in front of the Jaguars. The next eight games will decide the season, as should be the case.
Art from Just shy of the Ditch
Here's hoping the O line opens a few holes and gives T enough time and doesn't spend most of their Sunday looking down at him while they are all standing around. Doesn't that seem to happen far too often?
The line needs to be more consistent than it has been so far this season. It needs to be much better than it was last Sunday against the 49ers.
David from Oviedo, FL
KOAF - The Jaguars' defense looks like world beaters against offenses that don't have many playmakers and tend to be one-dimensional. Our defense excels at shutting down a team's bread-and-butter plays by allocating more resources to block that pathway. We struggle against more balanced offenses, like the Chiefs and 49ers, and become a very average defense, when we can't flood a zone, and win by outnumbering our opponents. If there's truth to this theory, the Jaguars' defense should excel against Tennessee by allocating extra resources to shut down Derrick Henry and forcing a rookie quarterback into making mistakes. Do you see what I see?
The Jaguars have held the Chiefs below their average points in all three meetings over the last two seasons. They also held a Buffalo Bills team that scored 123 points in the three previous games to 20 points. The Jaguars had a bad game against the 49ers in all phases. This has been a good defense this season and it usually has been a very good defense when it hasn't had communication errors. I expect the unit to match up well against the Titans Sunday.
Jonathan from Blackfoot, ID (born in J-Ville)
Hey O-Knows. Who do you think has been the better first round pick, outside linebacker Travon Walker or inside linebacker Devin Lloyd? Me thinks that Devin has been the better player. What says you Wizard of O?
Both players were first-round selections by the Jaguars in the 2022 NFL Draft, with Walker selected No. 1 overall and Lloyd selected No. 27 overall. I would go with Walker as being slightly better overall, primarily because he was more consistent throughout his rookie season. Lloyd struggled at times midway through that season and played as a backup briefly before rejoining the starting lineup. Both players have been really good and really consistent this season, which bodes well for this defense for the next several seasons. They have the feel of likely being front-line core players during that time, which is what you need when you take two players in Round 1 of an NFL Draft.
Brandon from Louisville, KY
Not really a question. I just always write something negative to you. Just wanted to be clear that I love the Jags and have since they started. That's all.
I assume fans reading this column and taking the time to write love the Jaguars. Fans criticize their team when it loses and sometimes when it wins. Sometimes, the criticism is warranted and sometimes it's venting and sometimes it's a little out there. Sometimes it's way out there. This does not make fans stupid. It makes them fans. Fans fan. It's what they do.
Bruce from St Simons Island, GA
O, Wow, and not in a good way. I wrote in earlier saying that I thought we would know more about the Jags after the San Francisco and Cincinnati games. Let me amend that to add the Houston Texans game in two weeks. What we learned Sunday is that the 49ers, when healthy and after adding Chase Young, are a very good team. Now, with the Texans surging and with a win against the Jags in Jacksonville, the Texans are a serious threat to win the AFC South. Do you now think the Jags will win the AFC South?
I'll have a much better idea in two weeks.
David from Ada, OK
I am clearly a dumb fan, but Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen is not having a great year and he has got a few more years under his belt than Lawrence. Lawrence had a horrible game. We've had a couple. Not sure it's time to start acting like naysayers are truly geniuses. Or fans are smarter than pro sports writers. I'm not sure it's a competition and I'm sure that we aren't being forced to read this column. Personally, your interaction with fans is more entertaining than anything else I pay attention to during the week pertaining to football. I am pretty sure this column is not supposed to educate or give life meaning. It's entertaining. It's opinions. It's okay to not agree.
I am the king of all give-life-meaning funk.