Jaguars Final Game Preview

Denver Broncos vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, September 12th, 2010, 1:00 p.m. Everbank Field, Jacksonville, FL Line: Jaguars by 3; Over/Under: 40.5 All-time: Jaguars lead all-time series 4-2. Trends: Jaguars have won the last two meetings (Last meeting 24-17 at Denver)



The Jaguars have plenty on the line as they take on the Denver Broncos in their season opener. Here are the keys to the game for the Jaguars:

The Jaguars must establish the run. Jacksonville wants to regain their once physical identity, and they believe that the easiest way for success against a Denver team that struggled against the run last season is by employing the ground attack. Maurice Jones-Drew is the Jaguars best weapon and one of the best backs in the league. The Jaguars will need to lean on their ground game to control the clock and wear out the Broncos undersized defense.

Pressure Kyle Orton. When Kyle Orton has time, he goes from a pretty average quarterback to a very good one. The Jaguars couldn't get much pressure on opposing passers a season ago and the result was an offseason spending spree to fix the problem. We'll find out on Sunday if the additions of Aaron Kampman and Tyson Alualu were money well spent.

Play in front of the sticks. It seems pretty simple and it is. The Jaguars must avoid penalties and sacks on early downs to keep from becoming one-dimensional on offense.

Dominate special teams. The Jaguars have perhaps the finest collection of special teams talent in the NFL in years and they must take advantage of that. Deep kickoffs, great coverage and big returns are the order of the day if the Jaguars are going to dominate Denver.

Be money in the red zone. The Jaguars have struggled mightily in the red zone over the past two seasons and that must change. Red zone turnovers are not acceptable and they must score touchdowns instead of field goals.

Bold predictions:

Maurice Jones-Drew will have less than 90 yards rushing. The Jaguars fantastic back hasn't had much work in the preseason and he will be the primary focus for the Broncos defense.

David Garrard will not turn the ball over. Garrard has endured plenty of rightful criticism over the past few years and is up for the challenge. The Jaguars quarterback will be careful with the football on Sunday.

The Jaguars will get two or more sacks. Two sacks doesn't sound like a lot, but Jacksonville averaged fewer than one sack per game last season. With right tackle Ryen Harris out for the game, Derrick Harvey and the rest of the Jaguars "Rushmen" should be able to get to Kyle Orton.

Jabar Gaffney will have a big game. The former Florida Gator has looked great in the preseason and should expose a pretty mediocre Jaguars secondary.

The Jaguars will not only win but cover the spread. Jacksonville should be able to run the football and wear down the Broncos in the blistering heat.


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