Week Two Preview: Jacksonville Jaguars Host the Denver Broncos

Week One brought it’s fair share of surprises for fan bases all across the league. Move on. Let it go. You’ll be happier for it. It is a long season. There’s no reason to dwell on the Jacksonville Jaguars poor showing against the Houston Texans when there’s sixteen more chances at heartbreak and disappointment! Kidding, kind of, hopefully.

Tale of the Tape

Denver Broncos (1-0)

  • 420 Total Yards
  • 6.4 Yards per play, 5.9 yards per carry
  • 7/15 on 3rd downs, 3/3 on 4th downs
  • 0 Turnovers
  • Gave up just 3 yards per carry and 314 Total

Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1)

  • 395 Total Yards
  • 5.8 yards per play, 4.8 yards per carry
  • 3/11 on 3rd down
  • -3 Turnovers
  • Gave up 3.9 yards per carry, 449 Total Yards

The Jacksonville Jaguars hold the advantage in the all time series record against the Denver Broncos 6-5

A Look at the Opposition

Von Miller during the Broncos' Week 1 game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on September 12, 2021. (Photo by Gabriel Christus)
Photo credit: Gabriel Christus via denverbroncos.com

The Denver Broncos have one of the best defenses in football. Von Miller is one of the best pass rushers in NFL history. Bradley Chubb is a fantastic player on the other side. It has taken an injury to get top 10 pick Patrick Surtain II into the starting lineup in the secondary.

The defense is fast, physical and disciplined. Vic Fangio’s unit is masterful at disguising different coverages and blitzes. This is a tough, tough match up for any offense, particularly one led by a rookie quarterback. Keep an eye on Safety Justin Simmons, one of the very best at his position in the league right now.

Offensively, the Broncos are a different team with Teddy Bridgewater under center than the inconsistent Drew Lock. Bridgewater is much more suited to run Pat Shurmer’s offense and it was clear most of the offseason he was the preferred choice of the coaching staff. He rewarded their confidence with a 264 yard, two touchdown game with, most importantly, no turnovers.

Courtland Sutton is still working his way back to form from an ACL injury, but he is very dangerous. Noah Fant is a match up nightmare at the tight end position. KJ Hamler is a house call threat every time he touches the football. Rising star Jerry Jeudy will be out several weeks with an ankle injury.

The offensive line may be down a starter in Graham Glasgow, but the unit is solid. The running back duo of Melvin Gordon and rookie Javonte Williams is probably one of the best tandems in the NFL. Simply put, this Denver Broncos roster is very good. Many believe they are a franchise quarterback away from being legitimate Super Bowl Contenders.

Key Battles

As with any game, there are a few critical match ups that will have a drastic impact on the outcome and overall quality of the game. Let’s take a look at 5 key battles between the Broncos and Jaguars.

  • Cam Robinson and Jawaan Taylor vs. Bradley Chubb and Von Miller
  • Tyson Campbell vs. KJ Hamler
  • Jaguars front 7 vs. Broncos backs Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams
  • DJ Chark/Marvin Jones vs. Patrick Surtain II
  • DaVon Hamilton vs. Lloyd Cushenberry

Final Thoughts and Predictions

The Jacksonville Jaguars are coming off of a rough start to the season, performing poorly in a game they were expected to be competitive and able to win. They have to prove they can avoid beating themselves with mental mistakes and drive killing penalties. James Robinson must be able to get going, early and often.

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Kam Nedd via jaguars.com

The offensive line allowed just one sack on almost fifty pass attempts, but the right side in particular didn’t exactly play well. For this contest to remain competitive, the unit must have a good day at the office. Dropped passes are another theme from Houston that cannot carryover.

Defensively, all eyes will be on Tyson Campbell with Tre Herndon officially ruled out by the team. He needs to put together a consistent game and reward the faith the team has shown him. The defense has said it’s game plan is to take away the running game and put the ball in Bridgewater’s hands. DaVon Hamilton, Damien Wilson and Myles Jack will determine if that happens or not.

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Kam Nedd via jaguars.com

Overall, this is bad match up for a young Jaguars team. It’s not unwinnable by any stretch of the imagination, but what have the Jaguars done to earn a vote of confidence? Nothing. Perhaps I’d feel differently if they had performed to the level I expected last week. Trevor Lawrence is good enough to win these types of games, and at the very least, keep them in it.

Ultimately, the Jacksonville Jaguars are who they are until they aren’t. The franchise is beyond any moral victories. Their record says there are 0-1. I expect Teddy Bridgewater to play mistake free football and for the Broncos to leave Jacksonville 2-0. Broncos win, 33-24.

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