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When Jacksonville Has the Ball
Maurice Jones-Drew continues to set the tone for the Jacksonville offense. His play this season has been nothing short of amazing. Jones-Drew will have his chances this week, but after watching Sean Weatherspoon run down Cam Newton time and time again last week, the Jaguars need to find a way to run away from No. 56.
The Atlanta defense has played better as the season wore on, but it is still soft on the inside at tackle. The Jaguars will want to move the ball up the middle, and with Jones-Drew, they'll be able to work the football down the field.
If Eugene Monroe can handle John Abraham, rookie Blaine Gabbert will find his C-list wide receivers blanketed by Brent Grimes and Dunta Robinson.
When Atlanta Has the Ball
The Atlanta Falcons have a well-rounded offense built on solid passing from Matt Ryan to Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez. Facing a Jacksonville secondary with four players on IR, Ryan will have plenty of room to connect with his favorite targets.
The Jacksonville front seven is talented enough to cause fits for the Falcons, especially on the interior, so expect to see Ryan hurried. He'll also need to carry more of the load this week, as I expect the front seven to do a fine job slowing down Michael Turner and the running game.
Jacksonville needs the performance of a lifetime from their banged-up secondary if they hope to contain the Atlanta offense.
Prediction: Atlanta 31, Jacksonville 17