The /nfl/nfc-north/green-bay-packers” rel=””>Green Bay Packers in Everbank Field.
While the Packers have been playoff stalwarts since the days of Brett Favre, the Jaguars’ roster has been overhauled since general manager Dave Caldwell’s arrival in 2013. With so much young talent on both sides of the ball, the Jaguars stand a chance to pull away with a win versus the pride of Wisconsin.
Offensively, the Jaguars aim to score on their opening drives and force the Packers to play from behind for as long as possible. Swift starts in games were a focal point throughout the Jaguars’ offseason, which culminated with a couple of quick starts in the first two preseason games. A key component to starting fast is establishing the run early and often in games, which should be aided by the fact that neither of the two Packers’ inside linebackers have more than one season of NFL play under their belts. The Jaguars’ dynamic halfback duo of TJ Yeldon and Chris Ivory will not be in full force today, as Ivory will sit out with an undisclosed injury. Yeldon will take the majority of the carries with Denard Robinson and Corey Grant as change-of-pace backs. Look for Yeldon and Ivory to share carries in the future, though there is no definitive split at this point and each back’s workload will likely change week to week.
Defensively, the Jaguars’ rebuilt defense (featuring a revamped secondary and pass rush) is tasked with slowing down arguably the best quarterback in the NFL currently, Aaron Rodgers. The additions of Tashaun Gipson, Jalen Ramsey and Prince Amukamara should contribute significantly to the inhibition of the Packers’ aerial assault, which will be back to full force this week with the return of star receiver Jordy Nelson. Interior defensive linemen Malik Jackson, Roy Miller III, Sheldon Day, Sen’Derrick Marks and Abry Jones will all pitch in versus the Packers’ run, which is led by a trim Eddie Lacy. A key to success for the Jags’ defense will be to get the Packers off the field on third down. The Jaguars boasted the worst third-down percentage in the league last season and their defensive woes will continue if they cannot force teams to punt
With so many players on the Jaguars’ roster that are still unknown quantities, it is nearly impossible to accurately predict who will walk out of the Bank with a ‘W’ today, but rest assured, the Jaguars will finally be able to compete with the likes of the talented Packers.