New Orleans Saints (2-1) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2)
Sunday, October 2nd, 1:00 P.M.
Kickoff Temperature: 75 degrees, sunny
Line: Saints by 7
Series: Tied, 2-2. Saints won the last meeting in 2007 in New Orleans, 41-24.
Offensive Keys to a Jaguars Victory
1. Control the clock. When facing a quarterback like Drew Brees and an offense like the Saints, the Jaguars best defense is a time consuming offense. Jacksonville must keep the clock running as much as possible when they have the ball to limit Brees' opportunities. Note: This doesn't mean run the ball on 70 percent of the plays.
2. Throw on first down. You don't have to throw on every first down, but the idea is that you want to put rookie Blaine Gabbert in the best possible position to succeed, and to do so you don't want him throwing on obvious passing downs only like last week. Mix it up on offense so Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams won't be able to use his exotic blitzes.
3. Playmakers, make plays (routine or otherwise). The Jaguars haven't made many plays offensively this season. In fact, you can count them on one hand. The pass catchers need to not only make the routine catches, but also make a few diving and leaping ones. Guys need to break tackles and the team needs to control the line of scrimmage.
Defensive Keys to a Jaguars Victory
1. Get pressure from inside. Drew Brees loves to step up in the pocket and deliver throws with pinpoint accuracy. If Terrance Knighton and Tyson Alualu can make Brees move laterally, he won't be as effective.
2. Catch the ball. The Jaguars had several opportunities to intercept errant Cam Newton passes a week ago and each and every time the ball fell harmlessly to the ground. Drew Brees won't throw as many errant passes as Newton but there should be a few opportunities for some big plays. The Jaguars defense must force turnovers.
3. Beware of Jimmy Graham. The second-year tight end is quickly becoming one of the biggest mismatches in the league at his position with his legitimate 6-foot-8 inch height and soft hands. Graham versus the Jaguars linebackers is a huge mismatch.
- Matt Turk needs to catch the snaps and then punt much better. For a team which thrives on field position, the punter position is ultra-important and Turk needs to be much better. Turk is the 29th ranked punter in football in terms of average (40.9 net) and he has more touchbacks (5) than punts downed inside the 20 (3). To put it simply, if Turk doesn't improve he will be looking at an early retirement.
- The Jaguars need to let Blaine Gabbert throw the football. You drafted him to throw the ball and he's not going to learn anything by taking snaps and putting the football in the stomach of Maurice Jones-Drew.
- Win the turnover battle. Most teams that win this stat win the game, but it's especially imperative for the Jacksonville Jaguars as they are playing a much more talented opponent.
- Let New Orleans know that they're not in the Dome. As great as the Saints have been in recent history, they've lost three of their last four games away from the Superdome. The Saints thrive on their fast track and great home crowd and they will have neither on Sunday. The crowd needs to make some noise when the Saints offense is on the field and embrace the home team.
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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