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Previewing the Jets’ opposition: Jacksonville Jaguars

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Last season, the Jets and Jaguars met in a late-season game which was won by the Jets 26-21. At the time, these were two of the worst teams in the NFL. This time, though, they are both in with a realistic chance of making the postseason. They’ve had differing fortunes lately, though, as the Jets are slumping and the Jaguars are on a roll. The Jets are 1.5 point favorites on DraftKings Sportsbook.


After losing 20 of his first 25 starts at the NFL level, Trevor Lawrence seems to have figured things out. Since the bye week, the Jaguars have won three out of four with Lawrence passing for over 300 yards in all three wins.

Going back over the last six games, Lawrence has 14 touchdown passes and just one interception. He does lead the league in lost fumbles, though.

C. J. Beathard is the backup for the Jaguars. He’s only thrown three passes all season but his knowledge of the system as a former 49ers quarterback will perhaps be valuable in Jacksonville’s preparation. He’s unlikely to see action, despite the fact Lawrence was limited in practice during the week and is listed as questionable with a toe injury.

Offensive Line

The Jaguars have had excellent continuity on their offensive line this season. Since Ben Bartch, the opening day starter at left guard, went into injured reserve in October, the starting line has been unchanged.

That’s about to change this week, though, as their starting left tackle Cam Robinson suffered a season-ending knee injury on Sunday. Walker Little, who started a few games at left tackle last year, filled in for Robinson on Sunday so will presumably move into the starting lineup.

Tyler Shatley was Bartch’s replacement at left guard and hasn’t allowed a sack so far. Center Luke Fortner, a third round rookie, is a potential weakness though.

The right side is strong with veteran Brandon Scherff at guard and former second round pick Jawaan Taylor at tackle. Scherff has given up a team-high five sacks, though. Both are actually listed as questionable for Thursday night but presumably they will each play as both practiced on a limited basis on Wednesday.

Cole Van Lanen and ex-Jet Blake Hance provide depth off the bench and the Jaguars may need to elevate another player to replace Robinson.

Running Backs

Travis Etienne, who missed his rookie season in 2021 due to a foot injury, has had a good impact this year with 917 rushing yards at five yards per carry, along with 27 catches. He has four 100-yard games on the year, including one on Sunday, where he broke out of a mini-slump.

Having given up on James Robinson and traded him to the Jets at the deadline, the Jaguars have JaMycal Hasty and fifth round rookie Snoop Conner available in reserve. Hasty has averaged almost five yards per carry himself, but Conner has only had five carries.

Pass catchers

The Jaguars spent big money on Christian Kirk in free agency and he’s repaid their faith in him with 966 receiving yards and seven touchdowns to lead the team.

However, he’s surprisingly been overtaken for the team lead in terms of pass receptions by Zay Jones, who has 74 on the year. Jones had 109 yards and three touchdowns in the win over Dallas on Sunday.

Marvin Jones is a useful number three option with 35 catches on the year and they’ve also been getting return specialist Jamal Agnew involved on short passes and jet sweeps. He has three touchdown catches and rushed for 52 yards in Sunday’s win.

Tim Jones, who has three catches on the year, and undrafted rookie Kendric Pryor, who hasn’t played, round out the rotation. The Jaguars also acquired Calvin Ridley at the trade deadline but that was with an eye on next year because he’s still suspended.

At tight end, Jacksonville gave Evan Engram - a Jets target - a big-money deal. He has 61 receptions on the year. Reserves Dan Arnold, Luke Farrell and Chris Manhertz have 17 catches between them, but no touchdowns. Although Arnold was the starter last year, Manhertz gets the most playing time of these three and has actually started nine games.

Defensive Line

The Jaguars operate out of both three and four-man fronts, although their official depth chart lists them in a 3-4 configuration. Ex-Jet Folorunso Fatukasi and Roy Robertson-Harris are listed as defensive ends with DaVon Hamilton the starting nose tackle.

Fatukasi has been banged up this year and has been ruled out of Thursday night’s game due to an ankle injury. Adam Gotsis and Corey Peters could see more time as a result.

The Jaguars will also be without the number one overall pick, Travon Walker, after he injured his ankle in practice on Tuesday. Walker has 3.5 sacks but also leads the team with seven penalties.

Walker and former seventh overall pick Josh Allen are listed as starting linebackers but typically line up on the edge. Allen leads the team in quarterback hits and he and reserve Dawuane Smoot each have a team-high five sacks.

Arden Key has also stepped up. He has 4.5 sacks, including 2.5 in the last two games. You can expect him and Smoot to get more work on the edge with Walker out. K’Lavon Chaisson and undrafted rookie De’Shaan Dixon can also line up on the edge.


At linebacker the Jaguars signed Foyesade Oluokun, who is the league’s leading tackler for the second straight season. He also leads the team with 11 tackles for loss.

They also drafted Devin Lloyd with the 27th overall pick to pair with Oluokun but he had been struggling badly in coverage and they benched him for fellow rookie Chad Muma for a couple of games. Muma, a third round pick, also struggled in coverage and Lloyd has taken his starting role back for the past few weeks even though the team’s official website still lists Muma as starting ahead of him.

Depth is provided by Caleb Johnson and Shaquille Quarterman but they don’t get any defensive reps. Muma is questionable with an ankle injury though, so they could be on standby.

Defensive Backs

The Jaguars have allowed the fourth-highest passing yardage total in the league and their secondary has been a work-in-progress since Shaquil Griffin landed on injured reserve early in the year.

2021 second round pick Tyson Campbell is having an excellent year with 12 passes defensed, although Darious Williams actually leads them in that category with 13. Williams began the year as a nickel back but has transitioned into a role on the outside.

In contrast, veteran Tre Herndon started the year off on the outside and has transitioned into a role in the slot. He’s struggled this season.

The starting safeties are Andre Cisco and the versatile Rayshawn Jenkins, each of whom has three interceptions including a pick-six. Jenkins won the Dallas game with his overtime interception return on Sunday. The pair has also combined for 20 pass breakups.

Andrew Wingard started a couple of games while Cisco was out with a toe injury and was in the starting line-up again on Sunday as the Jaguars ran some three-safety personnel packages. He is questionable with a shoulder issue though.

The rest of their secondary depth hasn’t played much. Ex-Jet Tevaughn Campbell and Chris Claybrooks can both play in the slot and Daniel Thomas provides more depth at safety. Jacksonville also drafted Gregory Junior and Montaric Brown in the late rounds.

Special Teams

Riley Patterson was claimed off waivers at the end of preseason and has retained the placekicker job for the Jaguars all year. He’s missed only five kicks and had a clutch field goal as time expired to send the Dallas game to overtime on Sunday.

Punter Logan Cooke is third in the NFL in gross punting average, but his net average is actually lower than last season.

Agnew is a threat in the return game, which has to be a concern for the Jets after giving up two touchdown returns since the bye week. Agnew scored twice last season on returns. Kirk, Hasty and Claybrooks back him up.

In coverage Claybrooks is their best punt gunner but Wingard and Johnson are their most productive tacklers.

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