Final Game Preview: Jaguars vs. Bucs

Final Preview of the Jacksonville Jaguars on their matchup in Tampa Bay

Sunday, October 28th, 2007, 4:05 p.m.

Raymond James Stadium

Kickoff Temperature: 79 degrees

Line: Buccaneers by 3.5

Records: Tampa Bay 4-3, second place in the NFC South, Jacksonville 4-2, tied for second place in the AFC South.

The Jaguars begin one what is likely to be the toughest part of their schedule on Sunday, as they play the first of three consecutive road games in Tampa Bay. As difficult as it is to be to play three consecutive games on the road in the NFL, the Jaguars will have to do it without starting quarterback David Garrard, and possibly without their leading touchdown maker, Maurice Jones-Drew.

Five most important things for the Jaguars:

    1. Come together in the face of adversity. Scoring on the Tampa Bay defense is tough enough if your team is at full strength, but it becomes even more difficult with a quarterback making his first career NFL start. If the Jaguars are going to find a "W" in Tampa Bay, it will have to be a team effort, and everyone will have to step up their game.

    2. Run the football effectively, no matter how many men are in the box. The Jaguars will have to run the ball to win this game, and Tampa Bay knows it. The Bucs will do whatever they can to stop the Jaguars running game, and the Jaguars will have to block effectively and run to control the clock.

    3. Win first and second downs. The last thing the Jaguars want to do to Quinn Gray is put him into third and long situations. Quinn Gray has shown an ability to throw the football in camp and preseason, but neither he nor the Jaguars receivers are good enough to consistently convert third and longs. Gray can be effective if the defense doesn't know whether a run or pass is coming.

    4. Force turnovers. The Jaguars will need to make some big plays to win this game, and they will likely have to come from their defense. Jeff Garcia hasn't been intercepted all year long and he's about due.

    5. Keep Joey Galloway under control. Despite having gray hair on his beard, Joey Galloway is still one of the fastest receivers in the league, and he's a player that must be accounted for whenever he's on the field. In a game in which points will likely be at a premium, one broken coverage could cost the Jaguars the game.

What to look for:

    1. Look for a lot of Adam Podlesh. Defense and field position will likely be very important in this game, and a good game by Podlesh could have a very big impact on this game, like it did in Kansas City.

    2. Look for the Jaguars tight ends to be very involved in the passing game. The tight end is usually a young quarterback's best friend, and Marcedes Lewis will have to be Quinn Gray's best friend in this game.

    3. Look for Fred Taylor's first 100 yard game of the season. With Maurice Jones-Drew nicked up and questionable, the Jaguars will hand the ball to Fred Taylor a lot. His cutback style should make for some big gains against this Tampa Bay defense.

    4. Bet the under. Both teams have trouble scoring, and this week will likely be no different. Points will be at a major premium.

    5. Look for the Bucs to have a 100-yard receiver. Seemingly every week some receiver goes for over 100 against the Jaguars. Joey Galloway or Ike Hilliard each have a good shot.

Prediction: This is a very tough matchup for the Jaguars, especially with a young quarterback. This could be a war of kickers, and the Bucs have the better kicker. Final score: Bucs 10, Jaguars 9.

Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of, and a regular syndicated contributor to, Sirius NFL Radio, and Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers Association, and is a columnist for the New Smyrna Observer.

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