Keys to victory: Jaguars edition
Good news coming out of the bye week is the Chargers should have a very high chance to secure a win…theoretically. They play the games for a reason and nothing is guaranteed in the NFL. A lot will depend on how this team was able to utilize the bye week. If they were able to mentally gather themselves and recoup then they should be set to go as they approach what should be a much easier stretch in their schedule. By all accounts the bye week also helped buy the team extra time for some big names to get healthy and ready to play. While some players like Melvin Ingram and Bryan Baluga are still questionable for week 7 others who were playing through nagging injuries likely benefited in getting well. While Jacksonville isn’t a great team on paper, they still possess enough fire power to stick around and give teams trouble like they did with the Tennessee Titans who they lost too by only a field goal. This game has the possibility of being a convincing win and likely confidence booster for the Bolts if the approach the game properly. Here are my keys to victory.
Overcoming Jacksonville’s good interior pass protection:
While the Jaguars have trouble at the tackle positions, which will likely be taken advantage of by the likes of Joey Bosa and either Ingram or Nwosu they do have very good pass protection on the interior part of the line. Center Brandon Linder has a pass protection grade of 85.6 on the season while former pro bowl guard Andrew Norwell has a pass protection grade of 86.9 on the season topped off with right guard AJ Cann having a 74.5 pass protection grade on the season. So its easy to see why Gardner Minshew often has time to move around the pocket and extend plays regardless of his tackles getting beat off the edges. It is also of note that AJ Cann is officially a game time decision so they may be without one of those interior lineman. If Joseph Linval and Justin Jones who is set to return this week can get the best of Linder and Norwell in the pass rush department then Minshew could be in for a long long day and find it hard to get anything going offensively. If they can accomplish this then the probability of winning sores through the roof in my opinion as Jacksonville also has a running attack that is less than impressive.
Outside corners limiting the Jaguars wide receivers:
The wide receivers are the Jaguars strong suit on the offensive side of the ball. This second key to victory should go along with key number 1 as if the first one goes well this second one should be easier but if not will help to overcome if they find the latter more difficult. DJ Chark Jr who is now in his third year out of LSU has the looks of a number one wide out with a big frame at 6’4”. Chark has been the Jaguars most consistant wide out and even has a 73.5% catch rate when targeted. This will be something to keep an eye on as Hayward struggled against Mike Evan who is the same height. On the other side the Jags have rookie second rounder Laviska Shenault Jr. While Shenault isn’t as tall as his counterpart he is a very physical threat as one can tell from his frame at 227 pounds. So much so that they even use him in the running game as well on jet sweeps and has totaled 10 carries so far on the season. While that may not seem like a lot it is a high amount of carries for a non-running back through only 7 weeks so far. Shenault has also shown that he has potential of a future star in the receiving game and actually has a slightly higher catch rate than Chark coming in at 74.3%. If Davis and Hayward can plays even slightly lock down on these guys then it will be hard for Minshew to feel comfortable at any point.