Jacksonville Jaguars @ New York Giants
Sunday, 9/9/18 @ 1 P.M., Metlife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey.
You can watch the game on FOX30.
Odds: Jaguars (-3, per Bovada)
It’s here. Week one is finally upon us. The Jaguars will open up their season with an intriguing matchup against the New York Giants.
The majority of sports media labels the Giants as a bad team. One of the worst teams in football, to be exact, due to their horrendous 3-13 campaign last season. This isn’t necessarily the case. The Giants roster is studded with talent. DT Damon “Snacks” Harrison ranked as the #3 interior defensive lineman in 2017, according to Pro Football Focus. WR Odell Beckham Jr. is widely considered one of the most talented WRs in football. Saquon Barkley was the most prolific college running back in recent history. S Landon Collins, TE Evan Engram, CB Janoris Jenkins, LT Nate Solder, LG Will Hernandez, and DL Dalvin Tomlinson are names to take note of as well.
The Giants got off to a cold start in 2017 after they dropped their first five games (losing three by only one possession). Head Coach Ben McAdoo was placed on the hotseat and subsequently fired in week 13. Player suspensions and locker room controversy plagued the Giants, who had seemingly completely lost their focus from football by halfway through the season. Keep in mind that the Giants were a wild-card playoff team not even a year earlier. This was a decent team that performed drastically below their talent level.
While I don’t expect the Giants to make the playoffs, or even to beat the Jaguars, they aren’t as hopeless as the national perception surrounding them indicates. New Head Coach Pat Shurmur brings hope. Saquon Barkley brings hope. A new regime brings hope. There is a chance that the Giants could give the Jaguars a run for their money.
But it won’t be easy.
Headlining at right tackle is former first round pick, and consensus bust, Ereck Flowers. Flowers is the human equivalent of a turnstile, giving up 17 sacks in three years. For comparison, Jaguars RT Jeremy Parnell has only given up 11.5 sacks in seven years. While Flowers showed flashes of competence in 2017, ‘slightly competent’ won’t cut it against DEs Calais Campbell or Yannick Ngakoue, who combined for a whopping 26.5 sacks last season.
Giants QB Eli Manning will have to evade this incoming pressure and toss the ball into an unforgiving Jaguars secondary. Manning will have his #1 target, Odell Beckham Jr., back and healthy. However, Beckham will have to battle for his yards against an ultra-competitive and physical CB Jalen Ramsey.
What the Giants do have is big-play potential. Engram, Barkley and Beckham all possess great speed for their respective position groups and can amass huge YAC numbers if they get in the open. All it takes is for the Jaguars defense to slack on one play and the Giants are back in the game. We saw this scenario too many times in 2017: the Jaguars defense getting comfortable, giving up big plays, and allowing teams to make comebacks.
Switching sides, the Jaguars offense should dominate, at least on paper. Pass rusher Olivier Vernon being sidelined means the Giants pass-rush is abysmal and QB Blake Bortles should have plenty of time to sit in the pocket and wait for receivers to create seperation. The bolstered offensive line should be able to create holes for RB Leonard Fournette. WRs D.J. Chark, Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook should be able to beat the inconsistent Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple.
While all these hypothetical’s should happen, it doesn’t mean they will. The NFL is at its most volatile in week one, and there is no guarantee that the Jaguars will execute. Overall, the Jaguars are the better team. If they can stay disciplined, you can reasonably expect the Jags to win. If not, the Giants absolutely have the talent to upset the Jags in week one.
Bortles, Jaguars get their revenge over the Patriots, 31-20
The Jacksonville Jaguars and the New England Patriots took off quickly for their rematch of the AFC title game just last season. The Jaguars were without star running back Leonard Fournette as he nurses a hamstring injury.
After the Patriots missed on their opening drive field goal, the Jaguars would drive 56 yards on the heels of Corey Grant, TJ Yeldon, and Blake Bortles to score a go-ahead 4-yard touchdown pass from Bortles to Donte Moncrief, who made a beautiful grab over Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore.
The Jaguars defense came in to force a 3-and-out only for the Jaguars and Blake Bortles to drive down the field again and score a beautiful 20-yard touchdown to Keelan Cole.
After the Jaguars’ second punt of the game to the Patriots 6-yard line, the Patriots would take eight minutes and 16 seconds off the clock only to come up for a field goal. The Jaguars defense played a little bend-but-don’t-break, which allowed Brady and company to drive down the field.
With around a two minutes and 45 seconds to go until halftime, the Jaguars and quarterback Blake Bortles would take the ball 75-yards for a beautiful 4-yard touchdown pass to end the half. Perfectly executed.
Blake Bortles would end the first half with a great stat line. Going 17 for 25 with 200 yards and three touchdowns. Nearly a perfect game for the Jaguars and their star quarterback. The Jaguars would go into halftime with a 21-3 lead over the New England Patriots.
After the second half kickoff to the Jaguars offense, they would drive down the field to the Patriots seven-yard line, however, they were unable to come up with a touchdown this time, settling for an easy field goal for Josh Lambo.
What was looking to be another scoring drive by the Jaguars turned into a fumble by rookie wide receiver DJ Chark. The Patriots and Tom Brady would, of course, turn that short field into a touchdown. 24-10 Jaguars.
After a Blake Bortles interception the Patriots looked poised to score again, however, this time the Jaguars defense came to play. Dante Fowler Jr. had a great burst on the edge beating his man for a strip-sack. Jaguars recover.
After the Patriots were forced to punt, Blake Bortles did what he has done all game. Find the open receiver and let them make a play. Dede Westbrook took a short slant route pass from Bortles 61-yards for a touchdown. 31-13 Jaguars. The Patriots would go on to score a garbage time touchdown at the end of the game. 31-20 final score.
THREE BIG PLAYS:
Keelan Cole makes the catch of the year.
No additional comment needed. See for yourself.
Keelan Cole with the best catch of 2018 pic.twitter.com/FoT9ZQnoYu
— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) September 16, 2018
Move over OBJ.
Dante Fowler Jr. comes up big with a strip-sack on Tom Brady
Following a Blake Bortles ill-advised interception late in the 4th quarter, the Jaguars defense needed a stop, and they came up huge with Dante Fowler Jr. beating his man around the edge for a strip-sack/recover on quarterback Tom Brady. This was Fowler’s first game of the year after being suspended week one.
Dede Westbrook takes a Blake Bortles pass 61-yards for a touchdown
All the receivers came to play today but this Westbrook touchdown was a thing of beauty. Westbrook took a simple slant route from Blake Bortles 61-yards for a touchdown. Great blocking and an amazing way to seal the victory for the Jaguars.
PLAYER OF THE GAME:
Never a doubt. Blake Bortles is absolutely your player of the game today. Blake’s stat line for today: 29/45 for 377 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception. The Boat (Blake Bortles) was on fire today. The Patriots defense had no answers for him and the Jaguars passing offense. This was easily the best game of his career.
The Jaguars did it. They got their revenge in the best possible way as they took on the Patriots and laid one on ‘em to earn a victory. There were very few times throughout the game where the Jaguars did not seem to have complete control of this game, and they played aggressively. No longer were the Jaguars simply three yards and a cloud of dust. Blake Bortles, Keelan Cole, Dede Westbrook, TJ Yeldon, Corey Grant, the list goes on. Nearly everyone on offense had themselves a day. The Jaguars beat the Patriots through the air effortlessly.
The Jaguars will take on the Tennessee Titans (1-1) at home next week.
Jaguars vs. Patriots Week Two Inactives: Fournette Out, Campbell Starts
The Jacksonville Jaguars and the New England Patriots have released their inactive lists for the game today. For the Jaguars star running back, Leonard Fournette is out today with a hamstring injury. However, Calais Campbell who was added late to the injury report with a knee injury is expected to start today.
There was speculation before the game that Campbell could be out. It is possible the Jaguars limit his snaps this week.
Jaguars running back TJ Yeldon will start ahead of Fournette. Corey Grant will also look to get in on the fun after only having one touch last week against the Giants.
JAGUARS INACTIVE REPORT
RB Leonard Fournette
LB Leon Jacobs
DT Eli Ankou
OL Chris Reed
OL Josh Walker
OL Will Richardson
DE Dawuane Smoot
— Phillip Heilman (@phillip_heilman) September 16, 2018
One surprise on the Jaguars inactive list is rookie linebacker, Leon Jacobs. Although he was injured this week with the ankle injury, he was thought to have been progressing. Look for linebacker Larentee McCray to take his place at SAM linebacker.
PATRIOTS INACTIVE REPORT
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) September 16, 2018
For the Patriots they are without their starting right tackle in Marcus Cannon. They also get back their starting running back in Rex Burkhead as well as their first-round pick, rookie running back Sony Michel.
Jaguars Promote Running Back Brandon Wilds, Release WR Rashad Greene
According to Mark Long of the Associated Press, the Jacksonville Jaguars today have promoted Running Back Brandon Wilds from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. As a corresponding move, the Jaguars have released veteran Wide Receiver Rashad Greene Sr.
This move should not come as too much of a surprise as starting running back Leonard Fournette has been nursing an injured hamstring all week, and TJ Yeldon was added to the injury report yesterday with an ankle injury.
Jaguars make move that could mean RB Leonard Fournette doesn't play: Team promotes RB Brandon Wilds from practice squad and releases WR Rashad Greene
— Mark Long (@APMarkLong) September 15, 2018
The move might indicate that either Fournette will not be playing in tomorrows matchup against the New England Patriots, or Wilds will simply be insurance in case the star running back goes down again. Either way, it is something to keep an eye on as the Jaguars announce their inactive report around 90 minutes prior to kickoff tomorrow.
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