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Special Teams: The Key to a Jaguars Victory

Surprised? Yeah, didn't think so.

The advantage that the Jaguars have on special teams is one that has been discussed among Jaguar fans and Charger fans, but how important of an advantage is it? Can it really be the deciding factor in the game? Absolutely. Despite the loss of rookie returners, Scotty McGee and Deji Karim, for the second consecutive game, the Jaguars will need to maximize their advantage on special teams if they hope to escape San Diego with a victory.

San Diego punter Mike Scifres had 8 punts on Monday night. 3 of the 8 kicks came from the Chiefs side of the field and all three resulted in touchbacks. They weren't necessarily Scifres fault, as at least two of them were fairly easy to field had there been any gunner near the ball when it landed.

In comparison, Adam Podlesh had only 4 punts on Sunday with only one on the Broncos side of the field. This punt was downed on the 4 yard line by Montell Owens.

Scifres other 5 punts were fielded for returns of 36, 24, 6, 94 and 0 yards. Podlesh's other 3 punts were fielded for returns of 4, 0 and 0 yards.

Nate Kaeding handled the kickoff duties for the Chargers 3 times, never getting enough distance on it to reach the endzone. The kickoffs were handled on the 11, 15 and 4 yard lines and returned to the 28, 31 and 30, respectively. When Kaeding is kicking off the Jaguars will have an opportunity to return. Underwood showed what he could do with that opportunity on Sunday by giving the Jaguars returns of 46 and 53 yards.

Tiquan Underwood will likely be asked to fill in for Deji Karim again and Mike Thomas will probably fill in for Scotty McGee. If the backup returners can equalize the special teams performance that was displayed against the Broncos, the Jaguars will have a solid chance at a win. But the opportunity to be spectacular is there and if Underwood and Thomas as well as the likes of Podlesh, Scobee, Osgood, Middleton and Owens can perform at an elite level they could be the story of the game in San Diego.