The Jacksonville Jaguars season appears to have officially started after a self imposed six and a half game preseason for 2014, but heading on the road to take on the San Diego Chargers, things get under way. The match ups for this game don't really favor the Jaguars, but it's the NFL so anything can happen.
When the Jaguars are on offense
Utilize Blake Bortles skill-set. Roll the pocket, run read option and let him throw on the run. Bortles adds another dimension to the Jaguars offense that didn't really exist with Chad Henne. Sure, the team got cute with read option plays with at the helm and his token keeper each game, but Bortles represents a real threat with it and that showed up against the Indianapolis Colts last week.
Whether it was just a bad play by outside linebacker Erik Walden or the fact that the Colts didn't fear the quarterback keeping the ball at all on the play, it netted a 20-yard run by Bortles because literally no one knew he had the ball until he was some yards past the line of scrimmage.
As you can see, the outside linebacker has no respect for the quarterback keeping the ball and it's off to the races for Bortles. Later on in the game however, the outside linebacker started to freeze to account for the quarterback and it opened up runs for Denard Robinson on the handoff.
The Chargers currently have a Top 10 rush defense through the first three games of the season and a Top 15 pass defense. The Jaguars will need to do whatever they can however to slow down the Chargers pass rush, which has been whipping teams so far thanks to our old friend Dwight Freeney, who's still got it. As a team the Chargers have 39 pressures, but just seven sacks. Freeney will be someone the offensive line is going to have to handle if they want any success on the day.
When the Jaguars are on defense
Stop blowing coverages. It's pretty simple. The Chargers are going to be without Danny Woodhead and Ryan Mathews on offense, so they'll be trotting out Donald Brown as their likely primary running back. He's well rounded enough, but he's not the threat the other two are with the football and the Chargers average just 79 rushing yards per game anyway, so one would expect the Chargers to be more one-dimensional on Sunday and why wouldn't they be with Keenan Allen, Antonio Gates and Phillip Rivers against a struggling Jaguars secondary.
Gates is probably going to have a good day against the Jaguars, as tight ends are wont to do, but if the team can limit the other passing outlets and get pressure on Rivers with their front four, they have a chance of slowing down the Chargers offense that is averaging just 23 points per game.
The Chargers were able to beat the Seattle Seahawks, a team who the Jaguars model their defensive scheme after, by using a lot of short underneath routes and dinking and dunking down the field. The loss of guys like Woodhead and Mathews should mitigate that some, but that will be something to look for on Sunday.