When the Jacksonville Jaguars head to New York to take on the Jets Sunday, a win could place them firmly in the driver’s seat for the AFC South division race. This is of course assuming that the Indianapolis Colts lose on Sunday against the Denver Broncos, but if the Jaguars can pull out a win against the New York Jets they will pull to 3-5 and tied for first place with the Houston Texans, who are on their bye week.
The rest of the season though, sets up really well for the Jaguars if they’re actually going to do this thing.
As we mentioned on Thursday, the Jaguars have the fourth easiest schedule going forward through the rest of the season (link back to that post). The Texans on the other hand have one of the hardest remaining schedules and the Colts are right behind the Jaguars, as far as ease of remaining schedule. That’s what makes Sunday’s game against the Jets such a big deal. It will have a massive bearing on how the rest of the season plays out.
I’d call it a potential season defining game for the Jaguars.
With a win, the rest of the schedule falls favorably for you to take advantage of the dumpster fire that is the AFC South and possibly make a run. If you lose however, you fall back and are now looking up and chasing two teams and likely knock yourself out of the race.
The Jets matchup is another for the Jaguars that seems to fall right in their lap. While Ryan Fitzpatrick looks to be starting for the Jets in place of backup Geno Smith, he’s still dealing with a hand injury that might make gripping the football from the snap, etc. difficult, which could lead to some misfires and turnovers. The Jets are also banged up some on the offensive line and Brandon Marshall is dealing with some ankle issues. The Jets defense is also coming off getting exploited by the Oakland Raiders, who’s offense I think is similar to the Jaguars setup.
Unfortunately, it’s hard for me to get excited. The Jaguars have shown through eight weeks they can’t be trusted to win games like this. I don’t think Gus Bradley has won a road game since the 2013 season and you’re facing a team who’s coming back home off back-to-back losses and a very good defense just got embarrassed. Meanwhile, the Jaguars have blown fourth quarter leads four games in a row against worse teams. Fitzpatrick, when given time, is a very competent quarterback and is having a decent season so far. He’s only been sacked four times in 215 attempts and the Jaguars essentially have no pass rush to speak of. That alone, scares me.
The unnecessary comeback win against the Buffalo Bills may have sparked something in the Jaguars team, instilling belief that they can overcome adversity and win, but for me they’re going to have to show me before I buy it. Right now, the feeling I have is the Jaguars are in for a long day on Sunday.