After a Week 1 win against the Indianapolis Colts (my survivor pick right off the bat), the Jacksonville Jaguars haven’t been able to replicate a performance efficient enough to earn another win. This week they head to Lambeau Field, and I’ll be honest, there’s just no way the Packers lose this game. Right?
The Jaguars are currently 1-7, and perhaps more alarming is that they haven’t been playing any of the NFL’s best teams. Their last five losses have all come to teams with below .500 records: Houston Texans (Houston’s only two wins of the year), Los Angeles Chargers (2-6), Cincinnati Bengals (2-5-1) and Detroit Lions (3-5). They’re not exactly playing the Kansas City Chiefs or the Pittsburgh Steelers.
But I digress.
I’m not here to beat the ever living hell out of a 1-7 team, so let’s find the bright light.
James Robinson has been an incredible find. The undrafted rookie out of Illinois State has proven through half the season that he can and probably should be Jacksonville’s bell cow running back for the future.
Robinson ranks sixth among all running backs in rushing yards, and sixth among all running backs in receiving yards. His dominator rating percentage is an eye popping 31.2%, trailing only Dalvin Cook and Christian McCaffrey. He’s been a pleasant surprise as someone who can beat you with some speed on the edge, can catch the ball out of the backfield and run between the tackles as well. Robinson is THE guy that terrifies me for this weekend (see: Packers rush defense).
Jake Luton will be getting his second career start in place of the injured Gardner Minshew. Luton had his moments last week against Houston in a near come from behind victory. The sixth round pick out of Oregon State stands at 6’6″, is really good at protecting the football (28 TDs, 3 INTs last year at Oregon State), and has a nice rifle of an arm. It was on display early last week on a rainbow of a pass down the near sideline to D.J. Chark for a 75-yard touchdown.
One thing to note if you’re a Packers fan is that there is now game film out on Luton from an NFL game that the Packers certainly have been dissecting this week; something the Texans didn’t have the luxury of doing. While Green Bay has been prone to letting underwhelming or unknown names in the past light them up, I’m looking for the edge duo of Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith to make Luton uncomfortable all afternoon, and let the secondary feast on some quick decisions made by Luton.
That’s the good for the Jaguars entering Sunday. Cover your eyes for the ugly if you must.
The Jaguars rank last in the NFL in sacks per game; their defense doesn’t produce enough consistent pressure on the quarterback. They give up an average of 30.9 PPG, “good for” 31st in the league. That sounds like a recipe for Aaron Rodgers to take and get whatever he wants on Sunday. Rodgers has been hard to contain this year, although the Tampa Bay Buccaneers cracked the code once and the Minnesota Vikings slowed down the green and gold offense in the second half of their win. Outside of those two instances, it’s been a banner year so far for Rodgers, Davante Adams, Aaron Jones and the rest of the offense.
Even if the Packers defense shows a lack of resistance in spurts of this game, the Jaguars defense hasn’t shown a capability to produce enough stops against opponents this year. Why would that change against this Packers offense this weekend? In a best case scenario, the Jaguars try to keep up in a shootout and hope for a couple penalty-killing drives for Green Bay mixed in with a fumble or some sort of turnover.
Call it a jinx or bad juju for saying it, but I just don’t see how Green Bay loses this one on Sunday.