Jaguars vs Jets: Top 5 bold predictions


Oct 25, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New York Jets strong safety Calvin Pryor (25) during warm-ups before the game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Here are some bold predictions for the upcoming Jaguars vs Jets game that is a must-win for each team entering this match-up.

This weekend, the Jaguars and Jets will be squaring off in a game that features two teams unsure of the direction in which they are going. The Jets have been trending down over the past few weeks and need to pounce on a weaker Jaguars team to right the ship and keep on track for the playoffs.

Sitting at 2-5, the Jaguars have kept games close, but appear to be a young team not quite ready to take the next step toward respectability. That could change with a big win this weekend. They have young talent and are looking to make a statement.

That being said, here are my top 5 bold predictions for this Week 9 match-up.

Next: 5. Jets will lose the turnover battle

November 1, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders free safety Charles Woodson (24) intercepts the football intended for New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) during the second quarter at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

5. Jets will lose the turnover battle

The Jets currently sit at +3 in the cumulative turnover plus/minus for the season. Meanwhile, Jacksonville is at -3. Something will go wrong with a quarterback-running back exchange, a punt will be blocked, Ryan Fitzpatrick will throw a ball into tight coverage, Brandon Marshall will make a boneheaded play, or all of the above will occur. The defense has not been playing with the same fire that we saw in previous weeks, and sometimes the offense plays with a little too much fire.

Given the status of the quarterbacks and running backs, we could be in for some miscommunication or general lack of ability to properly execute a play. As a rookie head coach, Todd Bowles may defer to the veterans when making personnel decisions, especially when it comes to injuries and a player’s tolerance.

I have a feeling that if Geno Smith was the starter and Fitzpatrick was the backup that Smith would be sitting out this week if he had hand ligament issues. Fitz is reckless, and the Jaguars’ defense forces at least one fumble per game on average. This combo could turn costly for the Jets.

Next: 4. Watch out for Blake Bortles

Oct 11, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) throws a pass during the first quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

4. Watch out for Blake Bortles

I’m sure many of you are well aware of how incompetent the Jets’ secondary has been over the past few weeks. Derek Carr torched our secondary last week, leaving Antonio Cromartie and Darrelle Revis looking fatigued and outmatched. There is no Amari Cooper on this Jaguars team, but Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns are both on pace to break the 1,000 yard receiving mark, something the Jets haven’t had in a while.

Bortles himself is on pace to throw for 4,000 yards, and has been significantly improved against the blitz. He has a QBR of nearly 70 when blitzed. 3 of the past 4 weeks Bortles has thrown for nearly 300 yards. He’s definitely a player on the rise.

Things are looking up for the young quarterback, and with the Jets’ secondary looking gassed halfway through the season, along with the Jets propensity to perform below expectations when they’re expected to win, you could be looking at a good stat line for Bortles. Despite coming from different draft classes, Bortles and Carr may very well be compared for years to come based on the similarities of the franchises they took the reins of.

Bortles could be the next Carr, and that could hold true on Sunday. If the Jaguars implement a pass heavy gameplan, which I would highly suggest going against the Jets, then Bortles could have a day. If I’m Jaguars’ coach Gus Bradley, I have Bortles throw 45-50 times against this team. Throw the kid out there and see what happens. I think it could (and should) pay off.

Next: 3. Jets will commit to the run

Sep 21, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (29) runs past Indianapolis Colts defenders in the second half at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

3. Jets will commit to the run

Like I mentioned in my previous article, despite having a league leader in rushing in Chris Ivory, the Jets have a problem at the position and need someone to relieve the Jets’ workhorse. Some pundits think Ivory will be a fantasy machine this week. I don’t know if we can trust Ivory anymore. He has to have another 100 yard game for me to believe in him.

I don’t know if he’s healthy enough to do that. The Jets need to, and will give the ball to Bilal Powell, Zac Stacy and/or Stevan Ridley if any or all of them are healthy. Powell was limited in practice Wednesday, so it doesn’t seem like he will be the guy.

The Jets will re-evaluate their running situation at some point and sign a running back. They have to. Maybe Ridley makes a cameo appearance this week. Somehow, someway, the Jets will get the ball in another runner’s hands. Run some wildcat with Jeremy Kerley. Find Brad Smith wherever he is these days and get him to return kicks.

With concerns about Fitzpatrick’s health, I’m sure the coaching staff is not including too many bootlegs or designed quarterback runs into the gameplan. Fitzpatrick has ran the ball about 3-4 times per game, which may not sound like much, but it is a factor.

Pro Football Focus currently ranks the Jets’ offensive line as 21st in the run blocking department. That’s quite surprising considering that Ivory is a top 10 runner. Based on all of the injury concerns with people who run the ball, something unexpected with the Jets’ rushing attack will happen in order to fill the carry quota.

Next: 2. The real defensive MVP so far

Sep 13, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets safety Calvin Pryor (25) rallies fans against the Cleveland Browns during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

2. The real defensive MVP so far

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Calvin Pryor is the MVP of this team. The statistics may not do Pryor justice, but it clearly showed on the field last week. Pryor even voiced his disgust at the Jets’ secondary last week on Twitter, using a profanity to express his opinion. Known for his ability to lay a big hit on an opponent, Pryor’s aggressive play is needed in an aging secondary.

The Jaguars also have 3 big Tight Ends in Julius Thomas, Marcedes Lewis and Clay Harbor. With no one really intimidating in the middle of the secondary, the Jaguars may exploit this. Expect some seam routes where the athletic Thomas makes his way through the levels of the Jets’ defense and seeks to challenge the defensive backs.

If the Jets’ secondary plays to current form, then they should be in for a long day. They haven’t been able to tackle, haven’t been able to cover and simply haven’t been good the past few weeks. Antonio Cromartie currently ranks as the 90th best cornerback in the game, clearly not worthy of a starting job.

We all love Cro, but as the saying goes, if you love something, let it go. The Jets need their hitman back in the secondary. Even Revis has had some off days this year despite making 3 picks. The intimidation factor of the once-formidable cornerback duo known as Batman and Robin needs a third wheel. Previous Jets teams had the likes of Jim Leonhard, or Ed Reed, or even Kerry Rhodes patrolling the safety position. The Jets will soon realize Pryor is that guy for this team.

Next: 1. Don't expect a blowout

Sep 27, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; A general view prior to a game between the New York Jets and the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New York Jets 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Steven Ryan-USA TODAY Sports

1. Don’t expect a blowout

Do the Jets ever make it easy? When was the last time you could truly relax as a fan in the fourth quarter? While the Patriots dismantled the Jaguars earlier, Bortles still had a somewhat respectable game against them. The Jets aren’t putting up 51 points, and the Jaguars’ defense isn’t a walkover, as their points allowed per game stats are clearly skewed by that game. The Jaguars’ offense isn’t a walkover either. We’ve seen what the T.J. Yeldon can do based on his collegiate career at Alabama, and Bortles is clearly turning a corner.

Despite being 2-5, the Jaguars are far from out of the division race. In fact, if they win against the Jets, they are tied record-wise for 1st in the AFC South. 7 games could quite possibly win this division, and with the 8th easiest schedule this season, a 5-4 finish could easily get the job done.

Next: What are analysts saying about Jets' NFL Playoff chances?

Meanwhile, with the division title essentially out of reach for the Jets, they are in a race with the Raiders, Steelers, Bills and Dolphins for the final two playoff spots. The Jets must be on at all times to secure one of these spots, while the Jaguars are virtually in a pressure-free situation where at best they can back into a playoff spot or continue to build on their young nucleus.

Ultimately I still think the Jets win this game, and I’ll go with a final score of 26-20.