Jaguars vs. Bengals: 5 Keys To Victory
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Cincinnati Bengals
The Jaguars enter the game at 1-2, coming off of their first win of the season on the road against a very tough Indianapolis Colts team. The Bengals are 2-1 and are riding a winning streak with two shootout victories over the Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins.
These two teams met in Jacksonville early last season, with the Bengals walking out with a close 30-20 win that helped propel them to a playoff birth last season. The Jaguars actually led last year’s contest into the fourth quarter before coughing up the lead late and then gave up a cheap touchdown in the final minutes to the Bengals defense as they tried to drive for a winning score.
This season the Jaguars are hoping for second-year quarterback Blaine Gabbert to show he is capable of becoming the franchise signal caller the team envisioned him to be when they traded up to draft him in the first round.
On the other side, Bengals second-year quarterback Andy Dalton has already validated himself as a solid NFL passer and has shown that he was well worth the second-round pick they used on him.
The Jaguars are entering this game possibly getting back some key players from injury while the Bengals may be missing some key pieces due to injuries.
A win on Sunday would go a long way towards erasing the bad memories of the 0-2 start the Jaguars suffered.
Here is a look at five keys to a Jaguars victory on Sunday.
Get Fans Into Game Early
The Jaguars got blown out in their first home game this year and gave their fans very little to cheer about. Jags fans have shown in the past that they can be a very valuable 12th man. So, if the Jaguars can get off to a fast start on Sunday and get the fans into the game early, they can become an important ally for them later in the game.
Get Their MoJo Going
The Bengals have the 31st ranked rushing defense in the NFL so far this season. The Jaguars coaching staff knows that the best chance their offense has to succeed is when it runs through star running back Maurice Jones-Drew.
Jones-Drew showed last week that despite his holdout, he is still in peak physical condition and ready to again carry the load for the Jaguars. Expect him to get the ball early and often on Sunday.
Stop A.J. Green and Bengals Passing Offense
The Bengals are putting up points in bunches so far this season.
The biggest contributor has been A.J. Green and the Bengals 4th ranked passing offense. Last year, Green torched the Jaguars defense to the tune of five catches for 90 yards and a touchdown.
The Bengals have new weapons in the passing game this season in Andrew Hawkins and former Jaguars player Armon Binns that will provide a difficult challenge for a Jaguars secondary that surrendered over 300 passing yards to the Colts last week.
Get Jaguars Passing Attack On Track
The Bengals could be without their top three cornerbacks on Sunday, so the Jaguars should plan to take advantage of their lack of health.
The Jaguars could also be getting their healthy starting offensive line back on the field together for the first time since Week 1.
Both things bode well for Blaine Gabbert and the Jaguars passing offense being able to have success this week. If Gabbert struggles again this week, it might be time to start wondering if the Jaguars passing offense will ever get on track with him under center.
Sack The Quarterback
The Jaguars defense has only two sacks through three games so far this season. If the Jaguars cannot get to Bengals QB Andy Dalton on a regular basis on Sunday, he will pick them apart and it could be a long Sunday for the defense.
The Jaguars have a lot of positive momentum going following their win last week and should get an extra boost from getting back some injured players and from playing in front of the home crowd. I think the Jaguars pull of a minor upset.
Jaguars 24 Bengals 20