After a disappointing Week 1 loss, the Jacksonville Jaguars need to bounce back and play a good game against the Dolphins. 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 the Jaguars pass rush vs. Ryan Tannehill, Allen Robinson vs. Brent Grimes, and more.
My individual matchup of the week is the Jaguars offensive line vs. the Dolphins defensive line, specifically the left side of the line with likely starter left tackle Sam Young and left guard Zane Beadles against Dolphins defensive linemen.
Jaguars OL vs. Dolphins DL:
The Jaguars starting offensive line consists of left tackle Luke Joeckel, left guard Zane Beadles, center Stefen Wisniewski, right guard Brandon Linder, and right tackle Jermey Parnell. That's not a bad line by any stretch of the imagination, but Joeckel is questionable this week with an ankle injury, and Sam Young might start in his place (sigh).
Backup swing lineman Luke Bowanko has had a good week of practice according to Gus Bradley and we could see some of him on Sunday.
The Dolphins have a scary defensive line, with defensive ends Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon, and defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Earl Mitchell. Last season, these four defensive linemen put together a total of 28.5 sacks.
How the Jaguars can win the matchup:
Really, the only problem I see with the Jaguars offensive line is the left tackle position. That cannot be take lightly, however. My personal opinion on left tackle Luke Joeckel is that he simply isn't strong enough, physically or mentally, to play left tackle in the NFL. Sam Young, who might start due to Joeckel's ankle injury, is even worse.
Other than that, I think the line is sturdy enough to hold up against the Dolphins defensive line. I personally would love to see Bowanko get some snaps along the offensive line.
If the Jaguars offensive line can create gaps for running backs T.J. Yeldon and Denard Robinson, as well as protect Blake Bortles, then I think the Jaguars can win this ball game offensively. Another good idea might be to use the right side of the line predominately throughout the game, with Parnell and Linder carrying the load. Or just run away from Suh.
The Dolphins secondary has been weakened by injury, and their linebacker group shouldn't be considered a serious threat either.
In short, if the Jaguars can shut down the Dolphins defensive line, I can see Week 2 being a win for Jacksonville.