The Jacksonville Jaguars are not favorites to win on Sunday against the Detroit Lions. And why should they be? They’ve mismanaged games, turned in some very bad defensive performances, and choked near the goal line when they could keep the score close.
But their opponent this week isn’t much better!
Besides this game, there are maybe two or three games left on the Jaguars schedule I think they stand a better-than-unlikely chance to win. How do they do it?
1. Run James Robinson ragged
The Jaguars had a golden opportunity to pile on the yards last week against the Houston Texans, the league’s second-worst run defense. They didn’t and offensive coordinator Jay Gruden regrets it. Well, guess who they’re playing this week?
That’s right... the league’s worst run defense.
This team is facing a run defense that is allowing 170.3 yards per game so far on the year. Let James Robinson have his signature game in an early bid to win Offensive Rookie of the Year.
2. Let the Lions beat themselves
The Lions have only played four games, but they’re still in the top-10 in terms of penalties allowing first downs by opponents. Play to that trend — take a deep shot now and then, speed rush around the edge in hopes of getting a holding call, and play hard to the whistle to bait them into playing more aggressively than they should. This offense needs a bounce back game in a bad way.
Let Detroit give you some of their momentum.
3. Gardner Minshew needs to settle down
No one blitzes less than the Jaguars, right? Wrong! The Lions blitz on just 19.9% of their defensive snaps, good for sixth-least in the NFL. And it’s not because their base defensive line packages are working either. They have just five sacks in four games.
They’re in the bottom third of the league in quarterback knockdowns. They’re dead last in pressures too, hurrying opposing quarterbacks on just 15.4% of pass attempts.
Gardner Minshew will have some free time back in the pocket. He needs to use that to his advantage and make better decisions than he has in each of the last three games.
If you liked this article, subscribe to the Keep Choppin’ Wood newsletter and be the first to read it — it was sent out a few days ago to subscribers.