Jacksonville Seeks Their Highest Win Total Since 2011 And Second Win At EverBank Field This Season
Jacksonville, FL — The Jacksonville Jaguars (5-3) will get to see a familiar face Sunday, former head coach and Chargers defensive coordinator, Gus Bradley. Bradley was fired last season by the Jags after a 14-48 record. But the players still hold their former leader in high regard.
“I’m very grateful to Gus because he was the guy that was here when I was drafted to come here. He was a guy that believed in me from the very beginning. I’m very grateful for that,” said Jags quarterback Blake Bortles.
36 players on Jacksonville’s active roster and injured reserve played at least one season for Bradley. Current head coach Dough Marrone was Bradley’s assistant head coach and offensive line coach last season. It will be interesting to so how Bradley’s knowledge of the Jaguars plays a roll in Sunday’s matchup
Jags rookie running back Leonard Fournette is ready to play. Due to an ankle injury, the bye week, and a suspension last week, Fournette has been out of action for the past three weeks.
“We just had a misunderstanding. That’s all,” said Fournette on his suspension. “That’s out of the way now. Did my time, did my punishment, and now we’re onto the L.A. Chargers.”
It will be business as usual Sunday, Fournette is still sixth in the NFL in rushing (596) and leads the league in yards per game (99.3). The Chargers bring their 31st ranked run defense (135.1 yds/gm) to EverBank Field. Fournette will have 25 plus carries as the Jaguars will lean on the rookie to provide balance.
In Fournette’s absence, Bortles has stepped up; 42 for 64 passing with two touchdowns and zero interceptions over the past two games. Bortles is gaining confidence, and more importantly, the coaching staff is confident in him.
However, Sunday’s matchup will not be without its challenges, Jags offensive linemen Jermey Parnell, Patrick Omameh, and A.J. Cann are all listed as questionable for Sunday’s game. The task of slowing down Chargers edge rushers Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram will be much tougher; each is coming into Sunday’s matchup with 8.5 sacks.
Bortles will have to bring his A game; the Chargers bring their 8th ranked pass defense to EverBank Field. However, they give up a lot of short throws and allow opposing offenses to complete 66% of their passes.
Defense Wins Championships
Jacksonville will rely on their defense as they have all season. L.A. has the 16th ranked offense (332.8 yds/gm) and only scores 18.8 points per game. In addition, the Chargers’ run game is inconsistent, and they struggle on third down.
Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is having an average year, also, his completion percentage (60.5%) is down vs. other years.
The Jaguars have an elite defense. Most noteworthy, Jacksonville yields the NFL’s top pass defense (156 yds/gm), leads the league in sacks (35), points per game (14.6) and have the lowest opposing quarterback rating (63.5).
Look for the Jaguars to stifle the Chargers, harassing Rivers for most of the game. L.A. just doesn’t have enough firepower on offense to be competitive against Jacksonville.
Prediction: Bradley will bring a wrinkle to EverBank Field as he tries to beat his former team. In conclusion, the Jags defense will be too much, and Fournette will have 125 plus yards.
Jacksonville 27 – Los Angeles 13