Final Game Preview: Jaguars vs. Falcons

Atlanta Falcons vs. Jacksonville Jaguars - September 16, 2007 1:00 p.m. - Jacksonville Municipal Stadium - Kickoff Temperature: 85 degrees, 40% chance of precipitation - Line: Jaguars by 10.5

This Sunday's tilt against the Falcons is as much of a must-win situation for the Jaguars as a team could possibly have in week two. With over 4000 tickets available as of Thursday, the game is blacked out and will not be on television. With the Jaguars on the road for the next two games, with a bye week in between, the Jaguars will be out of sight locally, and when they return they play against Houston, who is always a tough sell, at least ticket wise in Jacksonville. In business terms, if the Jaguars lay another egg this week, they may not have another sell-out until the Monday Night game against Indianapolis. That being said, here are the most important things for the Jaguars.

Five Most Important Things for the Jaguars:
    1. Stop the run. This could be considered numbers one, two, and three based on the level of importance. As we all know, the Titans gashed the Jaguars up the middle for roughly three hours last Sunday, and the Jaguars have an 0-1 record, and a 32nd ranking at stopping the run to show for it. Atlanta has good running backs, and the run should be the only way that they will put up points. Stop the run and win the game.

    2. Open it up early. The Falcons are going to load up the box to stop the run, especially early on. The Jaguars must attack down field to loosen up a solid Falcons defense.

    3. Make the fourth quarter, the Jaguars quarter. David Garrard was solid last week, but he couldn't get it done in the fourth quarter, regardless of what would have you believe. If the Jaguars can move the ball through the air early, they can suffocate the Falcons at the end.

    4. Make adjustments this week if things aren't going well. The Jaguars stayed in the same defense throughout the entire fourth quarter, despite being repeatedly gashed down the middle. Rule number one is to stop the run, but if that isn't happening, please switch out of the cover two.

    5. Stop the negative momentum. The Jaguars have lost four straight and nine out of their last fifteen games. Contrary to popular belief, that's not all former quarterback Byron Leftwich's fault. I know the team has been injured, but there has to be no more excuses. They need to play well this week and beat a team that they should beat.

What to look for:
    1. Look for a big day by Fred Taylor. Even with the Falcons loading up the box, the Jaguars should still be able to run the ball effectively with Falcons defensive tackle Rod Coleman listed as out for this game.

    2. Look for Reggie Nelson to start the game, and continue to play well. Nelson had an impressive debut last week, although most of it was lost in the disappointment of the outcome. Look for Nelson to play well against a quarterback who will make mistakes.

    3. Look for the Jaguars defensive tackle rotation to dominate. This game will be a test of their pride, and they should come up big against a very average offensive line that includes a rookie guard in Justin Blalock.

    4. Look for even more Marcedes Lewis. Lewis is beginning to look like the first round pick that the Jaguars drafted in 2006, and he should be even more of a weapon on Sunday.

    5. Look for an enthusiastic, albeit less than full Jacksonville Municipal Stadium crowd. The fans that will be in attendance will be the true fans of Jacksonville, and they realize the importance of this game. Although part of the stands will be empty, it won't sound that way.

Prediction: The entire team knows the importance of this game. The Jaguars will control the line of scrimmage after being embarrassed a week earlier, and be able to run the ball to set up play-action.

Final score: Jaguars 21, Falcons 10.

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