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What to Watch: 10 Things, Jaguars-Bengals


JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser offers 10 things the Jaguars must do to beat the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio, Sunday …

1.Break through.This is hard to define, but it feels real. The Jaguars have been close in recent weeks, and they feel they're getting closer. Good defense. Improved offensive line. Pretty good running game. Even with Blake Bortles struggling, they have been competitive. But except for Cleveland, they haven't won. The Bengals are good, not unbeatable. At some point, the Jaguars need to break through and beat a good team. They need big plays and need players to play bigger than they have already. Sunday's as good a time as any.

2.Protect the ball.This almost moved up to No. 1. It will be there soon if Blake Bortles doesn't improve in this area. The interceptions he's throwing are rookie things. He'll grow out of it. Until that happens, it will be tough for the Jaguars to win.

3.Stay with the run.Denard Robinson was effective against Cleveland. Then he was effective again against Miami. At this point, let's assume it's a trend until it's not. And as long as it's working, stick with it. Take some pressure of Bortles. Let Robinson run.

4.Play hard.The defensive intensity has been notable in recent weeks. Even facing adversity, even dealing with significant injuries, the group hasn't let down. There will be adversity in the coming weeks. A young offense almost assures it. Keep playing through it. If the Jaguars are to play well in the coming weeks, it must start defensively.

5.Finish.Players harped on it all week, and the issue is real. The offense has been good enough in recent weeks to produce yards. Now, it must get good enough for those yards to produce more points.

6.Focus on the task at hand.London is next week and a long flight awaits after the Bengals game. Let the logistics guys worry about the trip. Focus on the game.

7.Cover A.J. Green. The Jaguars' cornerbacks are Dwayne Gratz and Demetrius McCray now, with Alan Ball out for the season. That duo is young, talented and hungry. It's also coming off a good game against Miami. It will need a better one Sunday.

8.Pressure Andy Dalton … make the pressure matter.There's nothing fluky about the Jaguars' 25 sacks. The pressure the front is generating is real. Now, the task is clear: turn the pressure into turnovers. Sack/fumbles. Interceptions. It's difficult to see the Jaguars winning Sunday without them.

9.Block Geno Atkins. The Bengals defensive tackle is getting healthy, and may have played his best game of the season last week. Jaguars center Luke Bowanko and guard Brandon Linder have played very well this season as rookies. They may need their best game of the season Sunday.

10.Protect the ball.Yes, it was No. 2. Yes, it could have been No. 1. Is that important?

Is there any doubt?

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