Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3)
Sunday, October 11th, 1:00 PM EST
Kickoff Temperature: 85 degrees, 10% chance of precipitation
Line: Bucs by 2.5
The Jacksonville Jaguars will be desperately trying to stop the bleeding of the last weeks as they were bludgeoned by the New England Patriots, and grasped defeat from the jaws of victory against the Indianapolis Colts in an overtime loss. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay was blown out on their home field by the Carolina Panthers a week ago, and are looking to right the proverbial pirate ship.
Keys to a Jaguars victory:
1. Confuse Winston. Jameis Winston is a rookie quarterback who has a tendency to throw the ball into coverage. The Bucs offensive line has been pretty bad and the Jaguars need to disguise blitzes which should lead to big plays on defense.
2. Take some more shots. The Bucs defense has been giving up plenty of points this season and they've allowed eight passing touchdowns already. This isn't a bend, but don't break defense, it's rigid and when pressure is applied it will shatter. The Blake Bortles to Allen Robinson combo has been effective, and the Jags need to exploit the Bucs secondary.
3. Start Fast. Tampa Bay has lost by double digits eight times in the Lovie Smith era. With Smith under the helm, the team is 3-17. It has been proven that if you get up on the Bucs early, their sparse crowd will turn and they will fold. If they believe they have a chance to win, all bets are off.
4. Test the edges. It's going to be tough to make a living running up the middle right at Gerald McCoy, who is one of the game's very best defensive tackles. The Jaguars need to test the edges with T.J. Yeldon, and they should find some success. They also need to throw some swing passes to Yeldon and Corey Grant.
5. Catch the ball. The Jaguars receivers have done a little better of a job with the drops in the past couple of weeks, but they're anything but sure-handed. Defensively, Jameis Winston is going to throw some balls to the opposite uniform and the team needs to make those plays.
What to look for:
1. Another strong game by Blake Bortles. Bortles is quietly playing very good football and the Bucs defense should allow him to play even better.
2. V-Jax scores. Vincent Jackson is one of the very best receivers in the NFL and the Jaguars will likely try to focus on his partner, Mike Evans. Jackson remains a great red zone threat and will find paydirt.
3. Tough day for the running games. Both teams know how important it is to take away each opponent's respective running game. Doug Martin and T.J. Yeldon won't have a lot going on the ground.
4. A-Rob for 6. Jaguars wide receiver Allen Robinson will make a few big plays in this game and find the end zone.
5. They find a way. Both teams desperately need a victory, and the losing coach will likely be shown the door at some point before the playoffs. The Jaguars play hard, regardless of their injuries and environment. The same thing can't be said of the Buccaneers. Better quarterback + better coach = a Jaguars victory.