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Visiting Packers will test defense


Running back Fred Taylor coined the phrase "black cloud Jags" jokingly this week, and then added, "We're going to shake that off and get a little more sunshine around here." A day later, however, Taylor was put on season-ending injured reserve, as the skies in Jacksonville continued to darken.

The "black cloud Jags" will try on Sunday to get that one more win that'll keep this year's team from tying the 1995 inaugural team for the worst record in Jaguars history.

Can the Jags shake off another injury? Can they overcome a four-game losing streak and get win number five against visiting Green Bay (5-8) on Sunday? The Jags defense would seem to hold the answer, since the Packers bring to Jacksonville Municipal Stadium one of the league's top offenses and passing attacks.

"(Aaron) Rodgers, in a very difficult situation, has had a nice year," Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said of the Packers quarterback. "It's a good offense. We'll have to play well to slow them down."

The Packers are 11th in the league in total offense, 10th in pass-offense and fourth in points per game. Rodgers, who replaced Packers legend Brett Favre, has thrown for 22 touchdowns and a 92.1 passer rating. His top targets are Greg Jennings (66 catches for 1,131 yards and seven touchdowns) and Donald Driver (57 catches for 773 yards and four touchdowns).

The burden will fall on a Jaguars defense that is 14th in the league in yards allowed, but 20th in points per game. It will be playing without cornerback Rashean Mathis for the remainder of the season, and that's not going to help the Jaguars in their efforts to stop Rodgers and company.

"You kind of make your mark in the toughest situations," Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams said. "Typically, it comes down to your close games. You have to be able to win your close games. When you're able to win those games, you'll have a good record. When you lose those games, you're going to be on the bottom end of the record."

The Jaguars have lost five games this season by seven or fewer points, but their last four losses have all been by 10 or more points.

"Defensively, we're still trying to come up with the difference-making impact play. The top defenses in the league do that. What they do is take the ball away. The good defenses are good around the ball. We have to do a better job of impacting the ball, meaning getting it out and providing short fields for our offense or putting it in ourselves," Williams said.

Williams went on to say that first-round draft pick Derrick Harvey has played at a higher level in recent weeks, and it would do much for the Jaguars' 2009 prospects if Harvey were to finish with a flurry.

"The last two or three weeks we've seen significant strides. He's not robotic. He has a feel for the game. Some things you can do at the level he just came from are just on sheer speed and strength. It's more than that here. You're going to have to have a counter and set people up, thinking like a chess match two, four or eight snaps down the road. I'm starting to see those things from him," Williams said of Harvey.

"We have to get to that approach where there aren't those one or two plays in the ballgame. The past four or five weeks, there's been one or two plays that set the tone. My mind comes back to the Tennessee game. We played so well in the Tennessee game but we had two balls go over the top of the defense," Williams added.

This would seem to be the Jaguars' best chance in the final three weeks of the season to win. The Jaguars will host Indianapolis and travel to Baltimore in the final two weeks of the season.

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