Sunday, September 28th, 4:05 EST
Weather: 72 degrees, 10 percent chance of precipitation
Line: Chargers by 14
The Jaguars officially begin the Blake Bortles era on Sunday as the rookie quarterback makes his first career start. It will certainly be an uphill climb as Jacksonville travels to take on a very good Chargers team that won a playoff game a season ago and has won two straight games in impressive fashion.
Stats: Jaguars offense- 31st Overall (25th passing, 30th rushing); 30th scoring- 14.7 ppg.
Jaguars defense- 32nd overall (32nd passing, 32nd rushing); 32nd scoring- 39.7 ppg.
Chargers offense- 20th overall (12th passing, 26th rushing); 14th scoring- 23.0 ppg.
Chargers defense- 10th overall (13th passing, 10th rushing); T4th scoring- 16.3 ppg.
Keys To A Jaguars Victory
Win the turnover battle. The Jaguars simply don’t have the talent on the field that San Diego will have and they must take advantage of every opportunity afforded to them.
Press up on the San Diego receivers. Philip Rivers gets the ball out of his hand as fast as anyone these days and the Chargers are all about the short passing game. The Jacksonville defense needs to flood the underneath and force Rivers to go over the top.
Air it out. Blake Bortles has a big, strong arm so let him use it. The Jaguars need to take some chances and try to make some big plays.
Play in front of the sticks. Although the Jaguar offense should have some more potency with a better passer, their offensive line isn’t good enough to play behind the sticks all that often. They really need to keep penalties to a minimum and win first down.
Stop the tight end. Tight ends are killing the Jaguars this season, and looking back throughout the Jaguars history they simply haven’t done a good job against the better receiving tight ends in the league. Antonio Gates burst on the scene in 2004 against the Jaguars when he caught eight passes for 93 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The Jaguars don’t need a repeat of that.
What We’ll Be Saying On Monday
Blake Bortles was up and down. Bortles will have a greater advantage getting the majority of the snaps in practice, but there will be some growing pains. I expect to see him make some great plays and some really bad ones too.
Where was the rush? The Chargers offensive line has been playing very well and that’s compounded by Philip Rivers releasing the ball so quickly. The Jaguars will have a difficult time getting to the quarterback.
Still no sign of a running game. The Chargers have been very stingy against the run and the Jaguars are one of the worst teams in the league in running the football. This seems like an obvious result.
Allen Robinson showed up. It’s gone largely unnoticed, but Jaguars rookie Allen Robinson has been playing better each week. Blake Bortles seems to trust Robinson and he will be the Jags leading receiver Sunday.
The Jaguars played hard. Some of the breakdowns that Jaguars fans have seen will go away on Sunday, but they simply don’t have what it takes to travel across the country and defeat a playoff team on the road.