With only a couple of exceptions, as the running tandem of Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor goes, so go the Jaguars' fortunes.
It would seem that the formula for beating Jacksonville is pretty simple – stop Maurice Jones-Drew
and you stop the Jaguars.
The running tandem of Jones-Drew and Taylor have been together for three years and, by far, 2008 has been the worst season for the pair. When teams have been able to keep the two in check, the Jaguars a have had a very difficult time winning. Consider the following:
Week 1 at Tennessee –
The pair combines to rush 14 times for 31 yards. Jags lose 17-10.
Week 2 vs. Buffalo –
They rush 21 times for 66 yards. Jags lose 20-16.
Week 3 at Indianapolis –
They rush 45 times for 228 yards. Jaguars win 23-21.
Week 4 vs. Houston –
They rush 17 times for 57 yards. Jags win 30-27 in overtime.
Week 5 vs. Pittsburgh –
They rush 15 times for 26 yards. Jacksonville loses 26-21.
Week 6 at Denver –
They rush 25 times for 135 yards. Jags win 24-17.
Week 7 vs. Cleveland –
They rush 20 times for 53 yards. Jaguars lose 23-17.
Week 8 at Cincinnati –
They rush 15 times for 45 yards. Jacksonville loses 21-19.
Week 9 at Detroit –
They rush 29 times for 150 yards. Jaguars win 38-14.
Week 10 vs. Tennessee –
They rush 29 times for 124 yards. Jags lose 24-14.
With only a couple of exceptions, when the tandem of MJD and Taylor rushes effectively, Jacksonville almost invariably wins. Keep the two of them in check and they seem to lose almost every time. The game plan should be pretty simple for the Vikings – do what has made you one of the top defenses in the NFL and the Jaguars are vulnerable. Considering how badly the Vikings need a win, this would seem to be a logical starting point for getting a road victory.
On the final injury report, TE Garrett Mills is doubtful with an ankle injury and four others are listed as questionable – DE Jared Allen (shoulder), LB Vinny Ciurciu (hand), WR Bobby Wade (thigh) and safety Madieu Williams (shoulder). CB Benny Sapp (concussion) is listed as probable.
The Jaguars listed CB Omare Lowe (knee) and former Vikings WR Troy Williamson (groin) as out. The other five Jaguars on the injury report are all listed as probable – DT John Henderson (knee), RB Greg Jones (ankle), WR Matt Jones (thigh), CB Rashean Mathis (foot) and RB Fred Taylor (neck).
A day after Kevin Williams and Pat Williams returned to the Vikings, Falcons DT Grady Jackson was in New York to make his appeal with league officials Friday for testing positive to Bumetanide. Like the Williamses and the Saints players that appeared earlier this week, Jackson faces a four-game suspension.
The NFL fine police hit Panthers OLB Jon Beason with a $5,000 for a facemask penalty on Daunte Culpepper of the infraction that wasn't called a penalty on the field. It would seem the league is going a tad overboard with fining defensive players, yet hasn't handed out any fines to offensive linemen for big hits or chop blocks.
Former Vikings safety Dustin Fox was promoted from the Buffalo Bills practice squad to the 53-man roster Friday and is expected to play Sunday when the Bills go to Kansas City.
The Bears have apparently demoted Devin Hester as their return specialist. When Chicago faces St. Louis Sunday, Danieal Manning is expected to do the returning.
The Vikings could use a favor from the New Orleans Saints Monday night when they host the Packers. But the Saints might be without Reggie Bush, who was supposed to return last week, but at best is a game-time decision Monday.