The Jacksonville Jaguars travel to New Orleans to take on the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. The Jaguars still have (slim) playoff hopes, but if the team loses this game then the hopes are flushed. The Saints have been eliminated from playoff contention, but still have the offensive firepower, led by quarterback Drew Brees, to pick apart the Jaguars defense as well as most defenses in the NFL.
However, it has been revealed that Brees is suffering from a tear in his plantar fascia in his right foot, and the team is taking his injury "day-by-day" (reported by Ed Werder of ESPN).
If Brees is ruled out against the Jaguars, then the Saints would probably start Matt Flynn at QB, and he would the 4th backup QB to start against the Jaguars all season.
While it will be a battle between the two teams on each side of the ball, I'm looking for a specific individual matchup that could potentially make-or-break the game for Jacksonville.
But "individual matchups" does not necessarily mean just two players facing off against each other. It could be Denard Robinson vs. the Saints front 7, Allen Robinson vs. Brandon Browner, and more.
Last week's matchup of the Jaguars vs. Falcons game was the Davon House vs. Julio Jones. Jones had 9 receptions for 118 yards and a touchdown in the game, mostly against House, so I would say House lost the matchup.
My matchup of the week is the Jaguars pass rush vs. Drew Brees/Matt Flynn.
Jaguars pass rush vs. Drew Brees/Matt Flynn
I feel like I have used the Jaguars pass rush too much in my matchups articles this season. Oh well, I guess that just goes to show how the pass rush really makes-or-breaks games for Jacksonville.
But seriously, the Jaguars pass rush has been poor all season. The pass rush has failed to put consistent pressure on any opposing QB this season, which has allowed opposing offenses to have field days against the Jaguars secondary. Don't let the 33 sacks the Jaguars have this season fool you, the Jaguars have simply not been able to consistently pressure/hurry opposing quarterbacks at all in 2015.
The Saints, led by Drew Brees, have the No. 1 passing offense in the NFL this year, as Brees has thrown for 4,135 yards and 28 touchdowns so far this season.
The Jaguars may not be facing Drew Brees on Sunday, however, as he is suffering from a right foot injury. Instead, Matt Flynn might be under center for the Saints, who hasn't played in a game since week 17 of last season, where he threw one pass for six yards for the Green Bay Packers.
How this matchup will impact the game
As I said before, the Jaguars pass rush has been poor all year. If the Jaguars had been able to consistently pressure QBs all year, the Jaguars record would look very different, I guarantee it. That's how bad the pass rush has been.
If the Jaguars want to beat the Saints on Sunday, as well as keep their playoff hopes alive, then the pass rush needs to step up and apply constant pressure to whoever is taking snaps for the Saints on Sunday.