Are the Jags for real?! Looks as though we will find out, as the red-hot Jaguars travel to the City of Brotherly Love to face the undefeated Eagles.
Jacksonville coach Doug Pederson returns to face the organization that he won a Super Bowl with just five years ago.
Here are some of the key matchups I see having the most impact in this game:
Keeping Eagles Offense in Check
I think this matchup will come down to whether or not Jacksonville’s defense can slow down Jalen Hurts and the explosive Eagles offense. The Eagles rank first in the NFL in total offense, averaging 150 yards per game on the ground and 296 via the air. Those rank seventh and third, respectively. They also convert on third down 49% of the time, which is good for third-best in the NFL.
Hurts is doing a great job of running the offense. He’s completing 67% of his passes while throwing four touchdowns to just one interception. He’s also doing a good job of distributing the ball. DeVonta Smith and A.J. Brown are his two favorite targets, while tight end Dallas Goedert remains a trusted option.
Hurts can beat you with his legs and his arm. It will be a challenge for this Jaguars defense to slow down Hurts and company on Sunday. Coming off two impressive wins, a 24-0 shutout of the Colts and a 38-10 blowout victory at SoFi Stadium against the Chargers, defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell has this defensive unit playing at a high level.
The Jaguars currently rank seventh in total defense and first versus the run, giving up only 55 yards a game and 3.11 yards per rush. Led by Josh Allen and the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, Travon Walker, this stingy unit only gives up 12 points a game. They also have the most takeaways to this point with eight. As a team, the Jaguars are plus-seven in turnover margin, which ranks first in the NFL.
Jacksonville’s Improved Offense
Trevor Lawrence looks to be as good as advertised after a crazy — to say the least — first year under former coach Urban Meyer. Along with an outstanding run game led by James Robinson and Travis Etienne, Lawrence is completing almost 70% of his passes to go along with a 6-to-1 TD-to-INT ratio. Pederson has this group playing with a ton of confidence and swagger.
However, Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and company might prove to be too much for the up-and-coming Jaguars and Lawrence.