The Jaguars sit at 1-3 heading into today's game. A win heading into the bye week could get them back on track, and more importantly, back into contention for the coming wildcard race. A loss would continue the Jaguars' downward spiral. Here's your five things to watch in today's game.
1) Rush the passer: The Jaguars have recorded two sacks on defense this season, good enough for dead last in the league. The Bears have a suspect offensive line to say the least. There should be opportunities to get to Jay Cutler, and the Jaguars have to make good on those chances. To quote our old favorite, Vic Ketchman, "The quarterback must go down, and he must go down hard."
2) Capitalize on the Bears' mistakes: Getting to Jay Cutler is only half of the story. If the pressure starts getting home early, expect Cutler to start to force passes. The Jaguars fumbled an early interception away, and Mathis dropped another potential pick-six in the Bengals opening drive. Take the football away, and keep it.
3) Control the ball: It's not just about getting first down. It's about stringing them together in the form of long, touchdown drives. The best way to help out your defense is to give them an opportunity to catch their breath, something the Jacksonville's offense hasn't done well this season.
4) Make Gabbert comfortable: Blaine Gabbert is almost certainly feeling the pressure of his sophomore season by now. Get him comfortable by opening up running lanes for Maurice Jones-Drew, and get him into an early rhythm with some high percentage passes. Blaine Gabbert is not the root of all of the Jaguars' offensive woes. Help him out as much as possible.
5) Play to win: This is a matchup that shouldn't scare Jaguars fans as much as last week's game against the Bears. Chicago struggles mightily at times, and the Jaguars have to go for the kill if they're presented with an opportunity to end the game late. By that I mean potentially going for it on 4th and short, or passing late instead of running it and punting it away. The Jaguars are 1-3; go for the win.