Jaguars vs. Bengals: How Jacksonville Can Extend Its Winning Streak
If there was ever a time the Jaguars needed to be "All In," this would be the week.
In other words, they desperately need to win this game.
Jacksonville is in a position where their next two home games (Cincinnati and Chicago) are games they can win, which would take them to 3-2 headed into their bye week. And while that is still a few weeks off, everything in the NFL is about positioning for the playoffs.
With Blaine Gabbert's 80-yard strike to Cecil Shorts and Maurice Jones-Drew gaining 177 yards rushing, now may be the time for us to see the "real" Jaguars playing on Sundays. And that includes the return of key players along the offensive line from injuries.
Here are some other reasons why the Jaguars should win on Sunday.
Opening Up the Passing Game
Could we finally see the training wheels come off the Blaine Gabbert experiment?
Have the heroics of last week's win over the Colts given Gabbert the keys to the Jaguars offense?
I think this is the time when coach Mike Mularkey just lets Gabbert open the offensive up and sees what this kid can do.
Obviously, it cannot hurt to try and maybe just playing with a little more confidence will allow him to finally show why he was drafted in the first place.
Run, MJD, Run
Cincinnati has not been all that successful at stopping the run this year.
Maurice Jones-Drew is having a great season so far. At this rate, he may never report to training camp in Jacksonville again.
Run MJD through the Bengals defense and change the pace with a healthy Rashad Jennings. That will also open up the passing offense for Gabbert and company.
Stop Andy Dalton
And stop A.J. Green as well.
It's not as easy as it sounds.
Dalton and Green have become a pretty good tandem in the NFL this year, and they are only going to get better.
Dalton and Green were successful last season against the Jaguars. The Jaguars defense was better last season. Could Dalton falter on the road? Jaguars' fans sure hope so.
Remember Mr. Blackmon
We are still waiting to see Justin Blackmon have a monster game in a regular-season NFL contest.
Some sports media around here call him "Spiderman," since he catches everything thrown his way.
I'm still calling him "the big question mark," since we aren't sure which player we are getting.
This could be his breakout game to show us how great of a talent he is.
Play Injury-Free Football
It sounds so simple, but it's not.
The Jaguars are always bitten by the injury bug. Now that they have most of their players returning to full speed, it will be interesting to see how this team plays as a complete unit.
If they are anything like they were in preseason, then the pundits might have been wrong all along.