The upcoming game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Cleveland Browns could be summed up in two words: Who cares?”
It’s a showdown between two 3-6 teams that both continue to disappoint their fans. These were teams that were being talked about in the off season as possible playoff teams. But injuries, egos, and player changes have created detours for both teams.
Neither the Jags nor the Browns are in the playoff hunt at the midway point of the season and following this game little will change for either, except their position in next year’s draft.
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If this is a game that the Jaguar fans are looking for improvement from rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert, this might not be his best opportunity. He will be facing the league’s best secondary when it comes to yards per game. The Browns are allowing a league low 163 yards passing per game, whereas the Jaguars are averaging 122 passing yards per game.
Gabbert has helped lead his team to two victories over the last three weeks versus the Ravens and Colts, but little has come from his production. In the Ravens game he threw for 93 yards and versus the Colts he was able to gain 118 yards through the air. His role right now is to manage the game, don’t turn the ball over or make any ill advised mistakes.
When it comes to offensive production and leadership, it is all driven by running back Maurice Jones-Drew. The Jags ground game is averaging 121 yards per game which ranks them 11th in the league.
Jones-Drew is averaging 4.5 yards per carry and has rushed for 854 yards and four touchdowns. Going against the Browns poorest run defense, ranked 29th, allowing 142 yards per game, Jones-Drew should have a big day. Last season when Jones-Drew faced the Browns he carried the ball 23 times for 133 yards and one touchdown. Look for much of the same in this match up.
One big challenge that the Jaguars will be facing is the loss of Pro Bowl cornerback Rashean Mathis Colts last week. At present time, the Jaguars secondary is ranked 5th in the league allowing 189 yards per game. Mathis is the leader in the secondary and has been the cornerstone of that group since 2003.
This is a game for the true fan. Neither team has too much to fight for but respect. It may be just past the mid-way point in the season, but it is obvious, neither team is going to be considered a true contender by anyone, but maybe themselves.
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