The Detroit Lions will look for a fresh start against the Jaguars after a bye week
Starting off the season 1-3, the Detroit Lions got some rest as they were given a Week 5 bye. With the bye week now a thing of the past, the Lions will look to regroup and start fresh as they take on the Jacksonville Jaguars at the beautiful TIAA Bank Field, arguably the nicest stadium in football.
As we’re now getting back into game previews, we’ll take a look at the matchup history between the Lions and Jaguars, the previous matchup between the two teams, what to watch for, what the Lions need to do to win and finally, a prediction.
These two teams don’t play each other often which shouldn’t come as a surprise as the Jaguars are in the AFC South while the Lions are in the AFC North.
They’ve faced off just six times with the series record being split apiece at 3-3. The Lions are on a two game win streak against the Jaguars. These two teams have been to overtime once which was back in 2004 and resulted in a Lions 23-17 loss.
The last time the Jaguars and Lions faced off was in 2016 where the Lions won 26-19 at Ford Field. Quarterback Matthew Stafford didn’t even throw for a touchdown but completed 24 of 33 passes for 278 yards.
Tight end Eric Ebron got a rushing touchdown which is a rarity although it was only one yard. The Lions rush attack this game was dormant as running back Theo Riddick rushed for just 13 yards on four carries while it took running back Dwayne Washington 13 tries to get just six yards.
Despite the struggles in the run game, Riddick was the leading receiver this game as he caught eight passes for 70 yards. Ebron needed just three catches to get 70 yards while wide receiver Andre Roberts caught a 44 yard pass and got a punt return touchdown.
For the Jaguars, quarterback Blake Bortles threw two touchdowns and interceptions apiece while going 22/35 for 202 yards.
What to watch for
After a week off of game and football activities, how will the Lions play as a team? While we won’t be able to see it, will head coach Matt Patricia feel any pressure after two head coaches were fired this month and cries for his firing among the fans only growing louder?
For the Jaguars, one thing to watch for is how they select their plays on offense. It remains to be seen how much they’ll run the ball compared to throwing the ball and vice versa.
Keys to the game/What the Lions need to do to win the game
The Lions will need to stop the Jaguars on the ground. Running back James Robinson has been a surprise this season as he went undrafted but yet, has 333 yards through five games. Quarterback Gardner Minshew II is averaging 4.8 yards a run when he rushes the ball himself.
Also, the Lions can’t let the Jaguars wide receivers get open as Minshew has built a good connection with his wideouts as he often doesn’t miss his targets and balls are rarely dropped.
In each of the past games, I predicted the Lions to lose but this time, I’m going the other direction as I have them winning this game.
In the Jaguars recent game against the Houston Texans, their defense was shorthanded with three of their starters inactive. While they have a week to rest and could return to play in Week 6, the Lions have Stafford gunning the ball and a strong offensive line to protect him. That will be key in the Lions winning the game and ultimately, the win saves Patricia’s job.
Final score prediction: Lions 31, Jaguars 17