Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0) vs. New York Jets (1-0)
Sunday, September 18th, 1:00 P.M.
New Meadowlands Stadium
Kickoff Temperature: 68 degrees, sunny
Line: Jets by 9; Over/Under- 39.5
Series: Jags lead 6-2, Jacksonville has won the last three meetings.
The Jaguars will travel to New Jersey as heavy underdogs to the undefeated Jets. Find out what Jacksonville needs to do to pull off the upset.
Offensive Keys to a Jaguars victory
1. Mix it up. Jacksonville wants to run the football and New York knows that. It would be foolish to believe that the Jags are just going to line up and be able to run it down the Jets throats all day long, especially with the team missing some key offensive components in Marcedes Lewis and Jason Hill. Jacksonville needs to mix it up by throwing on running downs and running on passing downs. They can't be afraid to attack the Jets secondary, especially Antonio Cromartie.
2. Win first down. The Jaguars can't get themselves into 3rd-and-long situations so they must gain positive yardage on first down to keep the playbook from getting predictable. Controlling the clock is important for the Jags and there's no way they'll keep moving the chains on 3rd-and-longer than 7.
3. Get in the red zone, then score touchdowns. Again it seems obvious, but the Jaguars need to first move the football and then put 7's on the board instead of 3's. Jacksonville dominated an injury-plagued Titans team last week and barely won due to not cashing in on opportunities. The Jets are too good to win a field goal kicking contest against.
Defensive Keys to a Jaguars Victory
1. Stop the run. It all starts here as the Jets will try to impose their will up front. If New York can run the ball, Mark Sanchez becomes very dangerous on play-action and roll-outs and the Jaguars will have their hands full all day long. If they can force New York to be a one-dimensional passing team at least they have a chance.
2. Tackle everyone. Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes may be the best receiver in the league at taking a short slant and breaking a couple tackles on the way to a house call. Jacksonville has to be a sure tackling team as they were for most of last Sunday.
3. A star must emerge. The Jaguars are out-manned in this game by more talented players on both sides of the ball. Someone defensively has to have a huge game by forcing and recovering a fumble, intercepting a pass, or just being disruptive all day long. A solid but unspectacular defensive performance will not equate to a victory this week.
1. MJD must be the best player on the field. The last time these teams squared off, Jones-Drew was the best player on the field as he ran for 123 yards on 24 carries with a touchdown. Surprisingly, that was the last time MJD scored on the road. That needs to change.
2. Special teams must play a perfect game. Gene Smith feels like his special teams unit is the best in football and the preponderance of evidence shows that he's correct. The Jaguars special teams units must play perfect- no missed kicks, great punts, great coverage and someone needs to break a big return.
3. Someone needs to help out Luke. Luke McCown won the Jaguars starting quarterback job as he severely outplayed David Garrard throughout training camp and preseason. The reason why some thought the competition was closer than it actually was is due to the wide receivers not catching passes or getting much separation. With Marcedes Lewis and Jason Hill likely out for the game, someone needs to step up against what could be the best secondary in football. This could be a coming out party for Cecil Shorts or Jamar Newsome.
Our take: The Jaguars stagnant offense lacks enough playmakers to compete with an elite New York Jets defense. When you take away Marcedes Lewis and Jason Hill, Jacksonville is basically bringing a spoon to a gun fight. Unless New York comes out completely flat and Darrelle Revis pulls a hamstring in warmups, this one will likely go in the wrong column for the Jags. Meaningless score prediction: Jets 27, Jaguars 9.
Charlie Bernstein is the NFL Insider for ESPN 1080 and 1040 in Orlando/Tampa and the host of "The Sports Crunch" on the Aquarius 7 Broadcasting Network (national), and Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for FoxSports and has been featured on the NFL Network and Sirius NFL Radio. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Charlie on Twitter @nflcharlie
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