When games are on Saturdays, you know the season is winding down. Why do these AFCS Week 15 Game Previews when the Jaguars are out of the play off hunt? Because it’s football. Secondly, we will face our divisional opponents next season and most likely many of the same players and/or teams. Why not keep track of their stats, passing charts, injury reports and referee crews?
SATURDAY 4:30 NFL Network
Texans (9-4) vs Jets (4-9)
This should be an easy win for the Texans, but as they say, on any given Sunday…
Referee Crew: The Texans look healthy with only three “questionables” which also gives them an edge. Don’t trust Bill O’Brian though, I swear he adds guys with a hang nail just to make other teams think they’re messed up and don’t need to play as hard. For the Jets, their secondary is the uh-oh.
Before we get to stats, let’s take a look at Misters Watson and Darnold. Last week, several were sure Sam was a bust, but then he found a groove and they flipped like a politician. Since Darnold didn’t play a few games, only showing last week and the overall chart. Obviously, the 21 year old rookie is far behind Watson. Neither one is tearing anyone up, though.
These passing charts tell a story and that’s both teams need a run game and a defense to win and that Watson has become comfortable with the middle of the field. Which may be the key to beating him: force him to throw to the left sidelines.
Houston is 5th in allowing points – a paltry 19.9 per game. Unless your QB is Blake Bortles or someone close, allowing so little should be enough to win every game. Of the top ten teams against points, only Jacksonville and Denver have losing records and both have crappy QB’s.
The Jets defense is down at 22nd and have a rookie QB, so that explains all you need to know about which team should win this game and do so handily. The area both teams are equal in is stopping passing TDs and sacks.
Watson may not throw a whole bunch, but he helps the run game and that’s crucial. He tends to make critical strikes at the right moments that put his team in the best spot to win. The Jets passing game is like a ghost, only Arizona and Buffalo are worse (fellow rookies).
In short, because why drag out the conclusion, NY can’t run the ball well without Crowell, can’t pass well and their defense tries to do the best they can, but they’re on the field so much. The Jets’ weapon they used to beat Denver is on IR, they beat the Colts with FG’s and the Bills stink.
SUNDAY 1:00 GAMES
Titans (7-6) vs Giants (5-8)
This should be a good game, who would have thought that a month ago? The NFL is crazy this year.
On Friday, Marcus Mariota was added to the injury report, a place he seems to live on. Will it matter? Probably not unless they need to rely on a passing game. With an ab injury, it means he’ll need to muscle throws in. He doesn’t have the strongest arm, so my guess is, any tight window throws beyond five yards will be an issue.
For the Giants, who are so healthy it should be a crime, Odell Beckham is the concern. However, Sterling Shepard has shown he’s a weapon, too.
When it comes to passing, Manning is throwing some slow flying ducks, but they’ve found ways around it, one of which is using Saquon Barkley. Pat Shumur is showing why he was chosen to be a head coach as the team is starting to click.
For some reason, there isn’t a cumulative chart for Mariota, but I looked it up. He’s 11/8, 2,330 yards, 69.1% completion, with a rating of 93.4. Fairly close to Manning which kind of makes sense in that his arm strength is off from injuries, so they have to use him differently, too.
The Giants are 16th in scoring points, the Titans 27th. Tennessee would have the same rushing TD’s as NY if not for the Jaguars showing they forgot how to stop the run and allowed Derrick Henry to do what he wanted.
Could he do it again vs the Giants? Sure because they’re not very good stopping the run, they’re down in the 20’s for rushing yards and TD’s. Tennessee is 5th for not allowing TD’s. Tennessee is also far superior against the pass, for yards, but for points? Only one TD separates them.
The key to the game is the run for the Titans. Whether it’s a tailback or Mariota, they’re going to need to run the ball for several reasons:
limit the hits Mariota takes
NY is good against the pass
they need to keep the better offense off the field, running burns more clock
NYG is poor vs the run
For NYG to win they need to force Mariota to throw and contain him the pocket. When Mariota throws, take away the short hops and ones to the middle. For Manning, keep the pass count under 30. Overall, the more he throws, the less efficient he is. Play action will work since Barkley is a threat.
My money is on the home team because as good as the Titans defense is, their offense will need to put up some points.
Redskins (6-7) vs Jaguars (4-9) CBS
Two things have hurt the Jaguars more than anything this season: injuries and referees. They’re playing a team as beat up as them which should eliminate that issue as a factor, but the reffing may decide (again) who wins. They’re why I started adding ref crews to these scouting reports.
The Redskins make me feel sorry them and that’s a big thing considering how beat up our team is. If the Jags don’t win, it’s one of three things: bad coaching, coaches are bad, the coaches’ game plan.
It’s a shocker, but the OL will be missing two. I hope Kessler has been doing wind sprints because I believe the OL is down to the bag boys from Publix.
I’m not posting passing charts for these quarterbacks because they look like what a Pop Warner Midget game would show, plus they have 2 games, combined. Based on what we don’t know about Cody Kessler and Josh Johnson, let’s look at rushing and defenses.
It’s tough to imagine either team will try to put the game in their QB’s hands, but one should. In case you didn’t know, the Jags’ run game has been poor. Between an OL that spends more time at the ER than the games and Fournette who was out for weeks, they’re ranked in a tie for dead last for TD’s.
Washington has twice as many at 12 and an average 4.4 yards per carry to Jacksonville’s 4.1. They also average 114 yards a game to Jax’s 104. Not exactly the stats a run-first team should have.
Since Jacksonville is supposed to have a stout defense, I’m sure stopping the run must be good, right? Looks at Derrick Henry and sighs. Jax has allowed 14 TD’s to Washington’s 11. SO, there is a little light. Maybe Fournette, Hyde and Yeldon can do something.
Both teams are allowing 4.5 a rush. That’s just so pitiful I want to punch something. Moving on to rainbows. As much crap as the national media wants to throw at Jalen Ramsey and the secondary, they seem to overlook that when it comes to stopping the pass, no one is better.
They are tied with Minnesota in only allowing 15. Washington is 18th in allowing 23. Dearest wide receivers, CATCH THE DANG BALL and you will win. They’re allowing a 66.8 completion percentage. Do your jobs and make that number so.
CATCH THE DANG BALL, JAGS
That’s the key to this game. While the Jaguars may want to keep the game plan conservative with Kessler, they ought to open it wide open, unless, or until he does bad. BAD, not mediocre. What have they got to lose, a play off spot? If it works, the fans are happy, they can keep him for next season as a security blanket or get a high trade partner for him. If it doesn’t, oh well. Do you hear me, Milanovich? Balls to the walls.
For Washington to win, they need to run the ball. Johnson may know ten plays and Todd Wash has experience with him, plus he’s facing a damn good secondary. His best shot is at screens and shallow crossers since the edge rushing seems to have died this season along with tackling.
I’m going to be at TIAA – I’m not hurt, no funeral to go to and no ER visit for puking. Knock on wood. SO, it better not rain and turn into a plodding run game. I didn’t get to the field to eat the grass, if I did, I’d say this was in the bag. If they lose, heads should roll.
Cowboys (8-5) vs Colts (7-6)
You should never root for a divisional opponent to win, but dang I detest the Cowboys and since Jacksonville is out of the PO race, I hope Dallas loses. Three reasons: when Jerry Jones loses he looks like a South Park character. Secondly, every year the national media says this is the team to go a Super Bowl. Finally, they get so many unwarranted national TV games.
Neither team looks all that healthy, it may be a wash, except, Andrew Luck has had a good season because this OL has done a great job protecting him. Quenton Nelson has a back issue and that could allow him to get run over.
Dak Prescott is too erratic for me to think he’s a QB I’d bet on to win a game. He throws a few elite passes a game to make people forget all the boneheaded ones. His passing charts can’t show those. They do show he’s thrown less TD’s than he’s played games.
Meanwhile, Andrew Luck is throwing almost 2x times as many (Jags put a wrench in his record).
This game should be a good one. Dallas defense vs Indy offense. Jacksonville showed how it can be done, but the Cowboys don’t have the same talent. Remember, Jax also kept Mahones from throwing a TD.
Indy and Dallas both have allowed the same number of passing TD’s – 19. That gives the advantage to Luck since he’s thrown more than their average and Prescott has thrown less. When it comes to air yards, there’s a .2 difference between them. Both teams allow a 97 passer rating, advantage Indy, again. So, when it comes to passing, the game is Indy’s to lose.
Both teams have the same amount defensive sacks (35); however, when it comes to taking sacks, Prescott has gone down 48 times for a staggering 293 lost yards.
As far as rushing defense, Indy has allowed 10 TD’s to Dallas’s seven. .2 yards also separate them for rushing yards per play. Overall, Dallas is better at stopping the run on all levels, but not by much. Which may not matter for Dallas since Indy doesn’t run a whole lot; however, Dallas does. Their offense is built off of it. Dallas has 11 to Indy’s 8 rushing TD’s.
The bottom line is, the Colts are a better team. In order for Dallas to win, they will need their secondary to find a way to stop Luck and keep them from scoring because the boys lag far behind in that category.
Indy is scoring one more TD a game than Dallas. That’s where their run game can help – keep Luck off the field.
For Indy, the answer is to get after Dak. Sacking him shouldn’t be too difficult. If they can contain the edges, all the better because he’s better on the run than from the pocket.
Obviously, Elliot is the weapon and they can only do so much, but flustering Prescott will force three and outs. Indy’s best defense is Luck throwing TDs. If Luck stays to form, they win. I’ll take his passing game over Dallas’s run game.
Until next week…