The New York Jets play the Jacksonville Jaguars in what is sure to be a highly defensive matchup. The Jets are fresh off a close loss to a reinvigorated Browns team quarterbacked by first overall pick Baker Mayfield. The Jaguars were upset by the Tennessee Titans while star running-back Leonard Fournette, who is back this week. Possibly back with a vengeance. Fox has coverage of the game, kickoff is at 1:00 pm on Sunday.
When: Sunday, September 30, 1:00 pm EST-FOX
Stadium: TIAA Bank Field
Series: Tied 6-6
Last Meeting: Jets win, 23-20 (OT), October 1, 2017
Last Jet win: 23-20 (OT), October 1, 2017
Notable: Austin Seferian-Jenkins is playing his first game against his former team, who says his time with the Jets “saved his life”. The Jets defense comes into this game as the least penalized team in the league, having incurred just ten penalties on themselves all season. The Jaguars are the second least penalized.
Head Coaches: Todd Bowles, Jets – Third Season, 23-31, Doug Marrone, Jaguars – 28-25
Injury Report: JETS: DNP – Neal Sterling (Concussion), Charone Peake (Hamstring), Limited Practice – Buster Skrine (Knee), Doug Middleton (Finger/Knee), Terrelle Pryor (Ankle/Groin), Marcus Maye (Ankle/Foot), Full Practice – Josh Martin (Concussion), J.J Wilcox (Wrist), Kelvin Beachum (Foot), Spencer Long (Shoulder/Knee), Quincy Enunwa (Back), Steve McLendon (Knee), James Carpenter (Ankle), Robby Anderson (Nose)
JAGUARS: DNP – Josh Lambo (Hip), D.J Hayden (Toe), Limited Practice – Calais Campbell (Ankle), Leonard Fournette (Hamstring), A.J Cann (Triceps), Jeremy Parnell (Knee), Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Core), T.J Yeldon (Ankle), Brandon Linder (Knee)
Jets Rankings 2018: OFFENSE: POINTS PER GAME: 25.7 (10th), TOTAL YARDS 979 (21st), RUSHING 318 (14th), PASSING 661 (21st), 3RD DOWN 38.5% (19th) DEFENSE: POINTS PER GAME 19.3 (10th), TOTAL YARDS 919 (8th), RUSHING 307 (12th), PASSING 612 (7th), 3RD DOWN 36.4% (14th)
Jaguars Rankings 2018: OFFENSE: POINTS PER GAME 19 (25th), TOTAL YARDS 1017 (20th), RUSHING 328 (13th), PASSING 689 (18th), 3RD DOWN 46.3% (5th), DEFENSE: POINTS PER GAME 14.7 (3rd), TOTAL YARDS 859 (4th), RUSHING 346 (21st), PASSING 513 (3rd), 3RD DOWN 32.5% (7th)
- LT Kelvin Beachum vs. DE Calais Campbell: Calais Campbell had 14.5 sacks last year, and has picked up right where he left off. He has three sacks to start the season, and may be the best player in an incredibly stacked front-seven. The Jets offensive line has had a better start to 2018 than many expected, but they remain inconsistent at best. The Jets are going to have a hard time finding space in the run game. If they can’t keep Campbell and company away from Darnold, they have little chance of competing.
- LE Leonard Williams vs. RB Leonard Fournette: Leonard Williams had a lot of hype coming out of the offseason. Williams spent the offseason working on his conditioning, and when he came into camp he looked ready to have a breakout season. He has not lived up to expectations: he has zero sacks and six tackles. He has been facing double teams nearly every snap, but if he can’t get into the backfield and wreak havoc, Leonard Fournette will gash the Jets for big gains all afternoon.
- QB Sam Darnold vs. CB Jalen Ramsey: The Jaguars defense is up there for the best in the league, but they only have one interception this season. Darnold has thrown five interceptions so far, and the rookie is facing his toughest challenge yet. Jalen Ramsey has established himself as a premiere corner, and the Jaguars are due for a couple interceptions. Robby Anderson has not had the success he had last season. While lining up against Ramsey, it will be difficult for Anderson to create space for Darnold to throw into.
- JETS- Quincy Enunwa, 81, WR: While the Jets offense has had its struggles, the big thing they have going for them is their depth at receiver. With D.J Hayden not practicing this week, Enunwa may be able to create seperation against Tyler Patmon who is on his sixth team since 2014. Enunwa has been very reliable for Darnold, and Darnold tends to look his way on third-down. While Ramsey and A.J Bouye are preoccupied with Terrelle Pryor and Anderson, Enunwa could go for a big day. The Jets will need him to go off to stand a chance against this stout defense.
- JAGUARS- Telvin Smith, 50, LB: The Jets have already shown that for their offense to be effective, they need to get the ball out of Darnold’s hands. If Darnold faces too much pressure, he is quite adept at rolling out each way. The Jaguars are probably going to blitz a good amount, and Smith won’t be left out. When he’s not chasing down Darnold, he is an asset in zone coverage and could come up with a big pick if Darnold is pressured.
Keys to the Game:
Stopping Leonard Fournette: Without Fournette, the Jaguars offense is directionless. T.J Yeldon is a fine running back, but Fournette is an elite running back. He is irreplaceable. The Jaguars should not be able to beat the Jets with a pass attack alone. Their receivers are inexperienced like Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook, or cast-aways from other teams like Donte Moncrief. The Jets secondary are equipped to handle Blake Bortles and his cast of misfits, but Fournette is a separate issue. If the Jets defense can keep Fournette from having a big day, they may be able to keep the scoring low enough to pull out an upset. However, betting against Fournette is never smart.
Stymying the Jaguars Pass Rush: The Jaguars front-seven is loaded with studs. There is not a weak name in the bunch. The Jets offensive line, as stated previously, have surpassed expectations but not by much. They struggled mightily with the Dolphins edge rushers, and they aren’t half as talented as the Jaguars edge rushers. Even if the Jets can miraculously keep the pocket clean, Darnold has his rookie moments. The Jaguars secondary have made many greater quarterbacks struggle. They will capitalize on every error.
Wide Receiver Performance: Robby Anderson has underwhelmed this season. Through the first three games Anderson has six receptions for 90 yards, including a 41-yard touchdown week one. This week will be another big test for the former 900-yard receiver. Terrelle Pryor could be doing more too, having caught just eight balls for 158 yards. These two are athletic freaks that both run 4.4 40-yard-dashes. One of them will become the Jets leading receiver in the coming weeks, but the best time for a breakout performance could be this week. Don’t count on it.
The Pick: Jaguars 13, Jets 10- The Jaguars and the Jets are in very different places from a franchise perspective. The Jaguars lost in the AFC championship game last year, and their stellar defense remained almost entirely intact. They are in win now mode. The Jets are in the beginning stages of a massive rebuild, and are at least headed in the right direction. Both teams have glaring holes offensively, and it will make for tough sledding on both sides of the ball. This low scoring affair is going to the Jaguars on the legs of Fournette, who should rush for 150+ yards.