Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1) vs. Carolina Panthers (0-2)
Sunday, September 25th, 1:00 pm
Bank of America Stadium
Line: Panthers by 3.5; Over/Under- 43
Series- Jaguars lead 3-1; Jags won the last meeting, 37-6.
Offensive Keys to a Jaguars Victory
1. Control the line of scrimmage. Carolina has allowed more than 110 yards per game on the ground and the Jaguars need to exploit their run defense. If Maurice Jones-Drew is successful than rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert will have less pressure on him.
2. Block Charles Johnson. The Panthers spent a small fortune in locking Johnson up because he's one of the most underrated pass rushers in football. Eugene Monroe needs to not have his name mentioned in the TV broadcast as he needs to win that matchup, especially with a young quarterback who has questionable pocket presence.
3. Catch the football. Big plays in the passing game have been pretty rare for the Jaguars over the past decade or so. Blaine Gabbert will need his weapons to make as many plays as possible so everyone needs to step up and help him.
Defensive Keys to a Jaguars Victory
1. Stop the run. Regardless of their game plans over the first two weeks of the season, the Panthers best way to success is running the football. If the Jaguars can stop the run they will force more of the game on rookie quarterback Cam Newton.
2. Confuse the young quarterback. The Jaguars need to mix things up on defense and give Newton different looks. The rookie can be baited into some poor throws and whichever young quarterback makes the fewest amount of mistakes will likely win the game.
3. Make someone other than Steve Smith beat you. The Panthers wideout currently leads the league in receiving yards and the Jaguars need to roll coverage in his direction. Force Brandon LaFell, Legadu Naanee or Seyi Ajirotutu to beat you.
- It was only a matter of time before the move to Blaine Gabbert was made and there's a new air of confidence with the team. A victory Sunday would add some additional excitement to the city and this could go a long way in ticket sales. Jaguars fans have been looking for an answer at quarterback for a decade and they hope Gabbert is that guy.
- The Jaguars need to keep contain on Cam Newton at all times. Newton has made some big plays with his arm over the past two games but his legs may be even more dangerous. The best way to beat Newton is to force him to be a pocket passer until he proves otherwise.
- Marcedes Lewis or Zach Miller should be a matchup advantage for Jacksonville as the Panthers are without Thomas Davis and Jon Beason.
- Eben Britton may play left guard for the first time in his career as rookie Will Rackley has struggled mightily in his first two games. Guy Whimper has played surprisingly well at right tackle and may stay there.
- Expect to see Jacksonville take some shots deep on Sunday, even if they're unsuccessful. Blaine Gabbert can make all the throws and if they can hit on one of them it should open up the short passing game.
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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