Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Carolina Panthers Game Preview

The preseason is over and the Jaguars play their first of 16 games that will likely decide the fate of head coach Gus Bradley. Let's see how things stack up against Carolina.

Carolina Panthers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Sunday, September 13th, 1:00 P.M.

Kickoff Temperature: 78 degrees, 0% chamce of precipitation

Line: Panthers by 3

The Carolina Panthers have won two consecutive NFC South titles and followed it up with a playoff victory last season.  We're going to look at what the Jaguars need to do to get a victory. 

Keys To A Jaguars Victory:

1. Make someone other than Greg Olsen beat you.  The Panthers tight end is their primary target in the passing game and he's one of the best that the Jaguars will see this season.  Olsen needs to be accounted for on every play and possibly accounted for with two defenders. 

2. Keep Cam in the pocket.  Cam Newton can beat you with his arm, but he's even more dangerous with his legs.  Your best chance to slow him down is to make him a pure pocket passer and hope his mechanics fail him. 

3. Stack up the box.  Jonathan Stewart finished 2014 very strong and he's capable of having a huge game.  The Panthers will try and establish the run and the Jaguars need to make them a pass-first outfit. 

4. Win the line of scrimmage on offense.  Obviously you'd like to win it on both sides of the ball, but if the Jaguars can establish the run and stimy the Carolina pass rush, they will have an excellent chance to protect their injured defense. 

5. Stay on schedule.  As terrible as the Jaguars offense looked for most of last year, it wasn't that bad when they were "on schedule." If they can avoid negative plays like sacks and penalties, they will get into makeable third downs which will allow Blake Bortles to convert with both his arm and his legs. 

What To Look For:

1. Look for Bortles to outplay Newton.  It sounds crazy, doesn't it?  Blake Bortles, coming off of an atrocious rookie season outplaying a Pro Bowler?  Get ready for it to happen.  Bortles has a better offensive line and a better set of receivers, and he's ready to prove people wrong. 

2. Look for a nice game from Denard Robinson.  T.J. Yeldon was named the starter, but Robinson played very well in preseason and there is a role for him in this offense.  

3. Greg Olsen will make plays.  The Jaguars have historically struggled covering tight ends and Olsen is one of the best. Look for him to make some plays. 

4. Look for the drops to continue.  The coaches can explain the myriad of preseason drops as a "lack of concentration," but the Jaguars wide receivers are unproven and maybe not all that good.  There's no reason to believe that they will become sure-handed once the games are real. 

5. Look for the Jaguars to be in first place by Sunday night.  It's time for Jacksonville to get off to a better start and this is a winnable game.  The schedule gets tougher moving forward and the urgency to win this game is there for the team.  Look for an opening day upset. 

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