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Right now, Jaguars’ rookie QB Trevor Lawrence leads the league in picks (7) compared to his five touchdown passes, and HC Urban Meyer’s Jacksonville’s defense is ranked a pitiful 28th in the league, not to mention that the Jags have lost 18 games in a row at this point, so it makes sense that they are the underdogs here by at least a touchdown.
The Bengals’ young QB Joe Burrow is seeming to get more comfortable with HC Zach Taylor’s offense, and with rookie receiver Ja’Marr Chase as his favorite target (4 catches last week for 65 yards and two TDs) and running back RB Joe Mixon grinding out rushing yards from the backfield, all signs point to a big Cincinnati victory at home in Week 4.
These two AFC rivals have met each other 23 prior times, with the Cincinnati Bengals winning 10 of those games and the Jacksonville Jaguars winning 13 of the games.
This season Jaguars rookie QB Trevor Lawrence has been decently protected by his front line with only five sacks so far in 2021, but the 0-3 team has two offensive linemen marked as questionable due to injury, with OG Andrew Norwell (ankle) and OT Cam Robinson (shoulder) both game-time decisions on Thursday.
As mobile as the speedy Lawrence seems to be outside the pocket, the former First Team All American and ACC Player of the Year who finished second in Heisman Trophy voting does not seem too comfortable with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell’s game plan just yet.
So for the rookie to thrive against the Bengals oppressive pass rush, it would be wise for Lawrence’s main goal to be to get the ball out as quickly as he possibly can, a goal that his ace receivers Marvin Jones (below), DJ Chark, and slot man Laviska Shenault can help him achieve.
So far this season, the Cincinnati Bengals’ 8th ranked defense has only allowed opponents to score 18 points per game, scoreboard stinginess that has resulted in two wins, half as many as they won all of last season.
That’s because of unknown emerging playmakers on that side of the ball, like linebacker Logan Wilson, so far with 3 interceptions, 3 passes defended, a quarterback hit, and 30 total tackles, defensive production previously foreign to this Bengals club.
Also looking good in Cincinnati is defensive tackle B.J. Hill who already has 3 sacks and 8 tackles with 3 of those for a loss, the kind of pressure that makes a rookie quarterback like Lawrence make mistakes.
Now in his tenth NFL season, Jaguars wide receiver Marvin Jones actually used to suit up for the enemy, his first three professional seasons spent in Cincinnati where he caught passes from 2012 through 2015 (missing all of 2014 due to an ankle injury).
Now in his first season playing for Jacksonville, Jones has been targeted 28 times, catching 17 of those passes for almost 200 yards and two touchdowns, production that seems almost irrelevant while the team has yet to score a win.
But the veteran Jones should play a key part to Jacksonville’s offense in Week 4, giving QB Lawrence a dependable target to hit, and it could be fun to watch him matched up with either Bengals CB Chidobe Awuzie or Trae Waynes as his Jaguars fight for their first 2021 win.
The big beef against Bengals’ rookie receiver Ja’Marr Chase was that he was struggling to hang onto the ball during the offseason, but during game time that counts he seems quite dependable, so far the receiver of choice for Joe Burrow.
In 2021, Chase has caught 11 of 16 targets for 220 yards and 4 touchdowns, impressive production for a rookie that is still figuring out how to play football at the professional level.
Chase and Burrow already know each other, former LSU teammates who connected often on the field for several seasons, and now that they both suit up for Cincinnati, expect this connection to become tighter as the season progresses assuming in the meantime both players can stay healthy.
|Jaguars vs Bengals Information|
|Teams||Jacksonville Jaguars vs Cincinnati Bengals|
|Time||Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio|
|Location||Thursday, Sept 30, 2021; 1:00 PM ET|
|How to watch||NFL Network|
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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