In a short week of preparation, the Jacksonville Jaguars travel North to play the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night. The winless Jaguars are hoping to get their first victory of the season over a 2-1 Bengals team. Incidentally, Cincinnati is tied for first place in the AFC North division.
Both Jacksonville and Cincinnati feature a young gunslinging quarterback with collegiate national championships. Joe Burrow is in his second season after missing part of last season with an injury. Trevor Lawrence is looking to correct the direction of the Jaguars season by winning on the road.
The Cincinnati offense is a three-headed monster led by Burrows. He has completed 53 of 75 passes for 640 yards with 7 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Joe Mixon is a dual-threat running back. He has rushed the ball 67 times for 286 yards with one touchdown and has caught six passes for 29 yards.
Ja’Marr Chase is the deep threat receiver for the Bengals. He has caught 11 passes for 220 yards with 4 touchdowns. Jacksonville will have to play an over-the-top safety to contain him. C.J. Henderson has been traded to Carolina, so it will be interesting to see which corner covers Chase.
The Jaguars offense has a new weapon in the tight end, Dan Arnold. He came to Jacksonville in the Henderson deal. Tight end play has been non-existent in the Jaguars offense. Expect James Robinson to see the bulk of the action at running back.
D.J. reader is the best Cincinnati defensive lineman. Jacksonville will double-team him to get the running game going. The Jaguars offensive line might be able to win the battle in the trenches on Thursday night.
The Jaguars defense will have to pressure Burrows. Remember, the goal of the pass rush is to disrupt the quarterback’s quiet mind first, then sack the quarterback. Disruption can create turnovers.
The Jaguars secondary can not allow Chase to run open and deep. He is their big-play receiver. Burrow and Chase were collegiate teammates at LSU. Shaquill Griffin has to play tight coverage on him.
Thursday night games have not been good for Jacksonville in the past. Remember the games against Tennessee? Cincinnati wins 28-21. Since Josh Lambo will not be available, hopefully we make all three extra-point kicks.
Be sure to catch the current JJC podcast where Andre Moultry accurately discusses the Jaguars situation in each podcast episode.
photo: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports