The Jacksonville Jaguars travel to historic Lambeau Field on Sunday, to attempt to not get embarrassed for what seems like the fourth or fifth consecutive week, as they take on the amazing Aaron Rodgers and his Green Bay Packers.
Jacksonville enters this game without their star player in Maurice Jones-Drew, and with starting quarterback and overall swell guy Blaine Gabbert, nursing a torn labrum in his left shoulder. To say the team is an underdog in this game, is being kind. Quite frankly, no one with a sound conscience is giving the Jaguars a chance in hell of winning on Sunday. The Las Vegas sportsbooks have the Jaguars listed as anywhere from 14-16 point 'dogs, which is at or above the most they've ever entered a game as the underdog, including the '96 Denver playoff game.
So obviously we all know what this means.....they will win their second game of the season in the upset.
Here are three things to watch for the Jaguars, as they kill suicide pools and fantasy team's hopes nationwide this weekend.
1. The Good Gene
A lot has been written on BCC and other sites about the struggles of the offensive line this season for the Jaguars, but the consistent shining star has continued to be left tackle Eugene Monroe. Monroe has been playing at an All-Pro level since Week 1 when he stoned the great Jared Allen, and he hasn't shown any signs of decline since. Green Bay loves to bring pressure and with Gabbert's injury well known, LB Clay Matthews and company will no doubt be doing everything they can to take their shots on the bum shoulder and try to get the ever inept Chad Henne involved in the game. It'll be up to Monroe to keep the dogs off of Blaine's blindside, and if he plays like he has up to this point, it should be an easy task for the soon to be Pro Bowler. If nothing else, enjoy watching one of the very few players Jaguars GM Gene Smith has gotten right in his time here.
2. Mosley On Down the Lane
Despite having an abysmal number of sacks on the season, two players on the Jaguars defensive line HAVE surprisingly played pretty well since being inputted into the starting lineup. Defensive tackle CJ Mosley and defensive end Austen Lane, have each shined the brightest so far among their fellow "Rushmen", especially Mosley who has supplanted the popular Terrance Knighton as the starter opposite Tyson Alualu. Mosley has been a stingy force in the middle, particularly versus the run, which is more than can be said for the aforementioned Knighton and Alualu. Lane's return to the lineup a couple of weeks ago, after being injured early in training camp, has seemed to enhance a pass rush that was non-existent prior to his return. Lane's play along with the ability to bring rookie Andre Branch in on more production-friendly pass specific plays, has at least given the Jags the ability to throw different rush schemes at opponents while being able to keep guys fresh. If the Jags defense is to build on the early success it had against Chicago and Oakland in the first half of each game, these two will need to keep playing at a high level. Green Bay's offensive line is similar to the Jags, if not a little worse, the opportunities should present themself.
3. V Formation
That's right, for some reason I think the Jaguars pull this one off. Call me crazy. I know everything is stacked against this team right now, from injuries once again piling up involving key players, to the team seemingly showing different ways to lose winnable games every week, but there's just a vibe I get that some how this game may swing some things in the other direction for this team. If they don't win it's pretty much widely expected, but if they do, particularly if Gabbert plays as well as he was starting to last Sunday in Oakland, it'll make some national headlines Monday morning and perhaps get this fan base and this team feeling good again for the first time since August, and entering a stretch of winnable home games, including a Thursday Night game versus Indy in two weeks. Will it all actually happen, who knows, but one things for sure with this team and that is that anything can happen, because...Jaguars.