Jaguars vs. Packers: A Week 8 Matchup Preview for Green Bay and Jacksonville
Cary Emondson-US PRESSWIRE
Shield your eyes, friends.
This could get ugly.
Here's everything you need to know about the game.
What it Means
The Green Bay Packers are in a fight for their playoff lives. The NFC is so talented and deep that the Pack have no guarantee they are even going to make the postseason.
The Jaguars are playing for pride at this point. While in theory they are only two games out of a playoff spot, no one realistically expects that.
Everyone associated with the franchise is playing and working for their job right now.
Matchup to Watch
Blaine Gabbert vs. Green Bay Secondary
There's a meme floating around that Gabbert may have turned a corner based on one good pass against the Raiders in Week 7. While there's plenty of evidence to doubt that, his injury prevented us from ever knowing for sure how he would have finished that game.
While he's bucking it up to go out and play, the worry will be that if things go poorly, people will use the injury as an excuse.
The reality is that this is a bad matchup for the Jaguars, even if Gabbert was 100 percent healthy.
All the Green Bay secondary defenders have played well in coverage, and their pass defense is statistically sound, though aided by a great pass rush (more on that in a moment).
With Jones-Drew out and a high-scoring offense on the other side of the ball, Gabbert will have to throw a lot and accurately if the Jaguars are going to be competitive.
Gabbert only has three picks on the year, but Green Bay is a ball-hawking defense that excels in forcing interceptions.
Stat that Matters
8.5 and 8.2 percent.
The Jaguars have one of the worst offensive lines in football, surrendering sacks on 8.2 percent of plays, good for 27th in the NFL.
Asking Gabbert to play hurt in this game simply makes no sense.
If Gabbert has to pass 40 times, he's likely to go down three or four times at least.
Biggest Advantage for the Packers
Believe it or not, the pass rush isn't even the best thing the Packers have going for them in this game.
Aaron Rodgers is on absolute fire, having thrown 16 touchdowns and just two picks in his last four games.
The Jaguars have a bottom 10 pass defense, and regardless of whether Jordy Nelson plays, they'll have their hands full with Rodgers.
Rodgers can be pressured into mistakes, but the Jaguars have the worst pass rush in the NFL.
So that's out.
Biggest Advantage for the Jaguars
It's difficult to come up with anything the Jaguars do well, but they have been competent against tight ends in the passing game.
Jermichael Finley is average at best, and the Jaguars led by Paul Posluszny are ninth overall against the tight end.
That's at least one weapon they won't have to worry about.
Best Video Only Tangentially Related to the Game
Here's the thing about this video:
It was made by Packers fans with pride.
So do with that information what you will.
The Jaguars Will Win If...
If Gabbert plays and has the best game of his career, and Rashad Jennings breaks several long runs, and the Packers turn the ball over at least three times, and the officials blow some calls and there is a serious in-game injury to Rodgers, the Jaguars will emerge victorious.
It's true that on any given Sunday, anything can happen, but that is typically true when the better team travels. Real home collapses are rare.
The Jaguars just don't have the firepower to win this game.
The Packers Will Win If...
...the sun rises on Sunday without the dawn of the zombie apocalypse?
Seriously, as long as Green Bay puts together a reasonable effort, it is talented enough to take down the Jaguars.
It's already had its unexpected collapse of the season in Indianapolis. It won't happen again this week.
There's no point in sugar-coating it.
Green Bay is going to win by four touchdowns.
No further explanation is necessary.
Packers 38 Jaguars 10
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