Gus Logue of Big Cat Country was nice enough to answer five questions about the Jacksonville Jaguars heading into this week’s matchup. Had over to Big Cat Country to see his questions with my answers.
1. Through 9 games, are the Jaguars where you expected them to be in terms of record and how they have played?
Though 9 games, Jacksonville’s 6-3 record is about what everyone expected, but nobody predicted how they got there. Doug Pederson said during the offseason he wanted the offense to score a touchdown more per game than last season’s average (23.9 points per game), but that side of the ball has underwhelmed. The defense, which leads the league in turnovers and ranks fifth in DVOA, has carried Jacksonville through the first half of the season.
2. Is this team ready to compete with the elite teams in the AFC?
Evidently not. The Jaguars just got walloped by a fully healthy 49ers team last week, and they’re 0-3 against the Chiefs since the start of last season. The Week 4 win over the Bills looks less impressive in hindsight as well. Jacksonville has five straight AFC matchups on deck — the Titans, Texans, Bengals, Browns, and Ravens — so that stretch will give us a clear answer.
3. How would you assess the play of Trevor Lawrence through 9 games? Where would you rank him amongst QBs in the league?
Lawrence isn’t playing as well as he’s capable, but I think it’s due to the environment around him. Jacksonville’s offensive line (especially the interior) hasn’t played well at all this season; Calvin Ridley is good but not as great as many were assuming; and Zay Jones’ absence, plus Lawrence’s knee injury, have hampered the play calling. I would take Mahomes, Allen, and Jackson over Lawrence today but I think he’s in the same tier as Burrow, Herbert, and Prescott.
4. Give us a player we have never heard of that will have an impact on this game.
Pederson called star cornerback Tyson Campbell “probably a long shot” to play on Sunday with a hamstring injury, so second-year corner Gregory Junior is expected to start in his place. Jacksonville’s pass defense obviously declines without its top secondary player in Campbell, but he also has a significant impact in the run game. I’m interested to see how often Derrick Henry is sent to the edge against Junior and Darious Williams, who’s had an incredible season but is listed at 5’ 9” and 187 lbs.
5. The Jaguars are a 7-point favorite in this game and the total sits at 39.5 at DraftKings Sportsbook. What’s your favorite bet here?
Under 39.5 points looks intriguing to me, as Tennessee likes to limit possessions and Jacksonville likes to turn the ball over in opposing territory. I think the Jaguars will have enough motivation to get back on track at home against a division rival, so I do think they’ll win, but 7 points is a high spread for a team with such a struggling offense.