Football is coming quick and fast, with the Dolphins about to embark on their only primetime game in 2020 on a short week in Jacksonville. It’s not been the best of starts for our Miami Dolphins, we sit 0-2 in this much needed 2020 season in a worldwide pandemic.
Josh Boyer’s defensive group have been flat out abysmal, there’s no run-stopping linebacker and the defensive backs haven’t looked as promised. That has to change if we are to beat Gardner Minshew’s Jacksonville Jaguars, tonight.
We come off a slightly closer loss to the Buffalo Bills, a team that after the lightning delay looked off the pace and were there to be beaten. The game finished 31-28, giving up 413 passing yards. FOUR HUNDRED AND THIRTEEN PASSING YARDS. That’s embarrassing for one of the best secondaries in the league, on paper.
We expected this defense to be very good, after the acquisitions of the likes of Shaq Lawson, Kyle Van Noy, and Emmanuel Ogbah from playoff teams in free agency, These guys were supposed to dramatically improve the front seven.
Bar Christian Wilkins, the entire front seven has been awful in these past two games. That has to change now, fast. And then Byron Jones our other marquee pick up is already out with a groin issue.
Enough of complaining, let’s preview this Thursday Night Football matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
OPPONENT PROFILE – JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
Head Coach – Doug Marrone
Offensive Playcaller – Jay Gruden
Defensive Playcaller – Todd Wash
Offensive Captains – Gardner Minshew, Brandon Linder, Chris Conley
Defensive Captains – Josh Allen, Myles Jack, Abry Jones, Jarrod Wilson
Special Teams Captains – Josh Lambo
2019 Record – 6-10
Key Acquisition – Joe Schobert
Before the season started, many of us would have highlighted this Jacksonville Jaguars team as the easiest game on a pretty tough schedule. That could still be true, but they’re not who we thought they were. The Jaguars have been 100 times better than Miami through these past two games. Gardner Minshew has looked class, as he looks to keep his job beyond this season.
The Jags were supposedly ‘tanking’ having gotten rid of the likes of Yannick Ngakoue and Calais Campbell in the offseason. That isn’t the case, with them actually looking pretty good so far this year. They could quite easily be 2-0 right now.
Week 1 they came out and beat the Indianapolis Colts when no-one expected them to, and followed that up with a narrow loss to playoff calibre Tennessee. They’ve got a little bit of a spark on offense, and that’s down to one man, Gardner Minshew II.
Minshew Mania is back for a second season, and it’s got the Jacksonville Jaguars offense rolling. Rookies Laviska Shenault and James Robinson have made an instant impact, getting touches straight away. The former is the team’s starting back which for an undrafted free agent is very impressive, whilst the latter is a do it all utility player with big-play potential.
The receiving core behind Shenault (who takes snaps at running back and wideout) and DJ Chark is fairly average and will need to step up now that Chark has been declared out with a chest injury. Chris Conley and rookie Collin Johnson could get significant targets if active.
Tyler Eifert and James O’Shaughnessy is a pretty decent Tight End pairing. The two could also get more targets now that their premier receiver, Chark is down. The Jacksonville Jaguars O-line will be missing Center Brandon Linder in this game, which could be a big blow. He’s out with a knee issue.
The pass defense on the other hand really isn’t that great, letting both the Colts and Titans throw down their throats. The D-line is, as it has really always been, pretty good. But that secondary, bar CJ Henderson, is laughable, like Philadelphia 2019 bad.
I really like the linebacker core, Myles Jack is a stud, and Joe Schobert is a playmaker with the ball. He could probably play safety if Wash needed him to haha. I really like Shaq Quarterman and Dakota Allen behind them two.
LAST TIME WE MET – JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
The last time the Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars met was Week 16 of the 2018 season. Both sides were considered underachievers having been expected to be in playoff contention that year. In reality, both could have picked in the top ten of the draft.
Our opponents were goddamn Super Bowl contenders, having got within minutes of reaching one the year previous. Coming into the year, the Jags continued that hype by starting 2-0 and getting revenge on the New England Patriots.
Then it all went pearshaped as a run of two wins in twelve began, with Jax only scoring more than 20 points three times. Their ‘Sacksonville’ defense also regressed.
The Dolphins were also fast starters, having a 3-0 record come Week 4. Then, just like with Jacksonville, their season went to pot. Having been almost blown out in Foxborough that week, 3-1 became 5-6 after two lucky one-possession wins against the Bears and Jets. Yes, Brock Osweiler was playing a few of those games but either way, those Dolphins were flat out trash.
A win against the Buffalo Bills stopped that rot and kept the Fins in playoff contention with four games to go. Heading into Week 14, Miami needed to win 3 of their last four to even have a chance at a Wildcard spot. And then somehow the Miami Miracle happened to put them in good stead.
That was short-lived though, as Mike Zimmer’s Vikings destroyed the Dolphins the following week. That left this Jacksonville game as a must-win to keep the Fins in contention.
Let me tell you just how bad this affair was. Between the two teams, there were only four Red Zone possessions all game. Some have that in one quarter.
It finished 17-7 to Jacksonville, in a very slow game. It started fast, with two touchdowns in the first two drives of the game. The Dolphins went out in front, after a 4 yard shovel pass to Brandon Bolden.
Leonard Fournette punched it in for the Jacksonville Jaguars from one yard out, after a pretty impressive drive from Cody Kessler. Fournette went on to have a pretty dismal day, rushing 18 times for only 43 yards. That’s 2.4 yards per attempt.
A Jacksonville fumble meant that Miami could drive again in the second quarter after the fumble, but that was undone after a missed FG attempt by Jason Sanders.
Punt after punt after punt followed until the game came alive again in the 4th Quarter. And that was all down to Blake Bortles. The longtime starting QB of the Jacksonville Jaguars came off the bench and put together a good enough drive to end with 3 points.
Ryan Tannehill put the final nail in the coffin and killed his Miami Dolphins career with a pick six, under pressure. Telvin Smith went in for the score on a pass that was intended for Kalen Ballage. That sealed a 17-7 Jacksonville Jaguars win.
NOW FOR OUR JAGUARS V DOLPHINS PREDICTIONS
Jay – Right, so I think this is the game we step up on both sides of the football! We’ll utilise Gesicki, Williams, and Parker’s height against a smaller defense.
The coaching staff learn from their mistakes against buffalo and although I think Minshew will have a good game, we do just enough and the beard beats the moustache! 23-27 Dolphins
Shane – Dolphins 24-20. This is a real 50/50 game for me. I like the Dolphins matchups against the Jags but they have started the season much better than Miami. The Fins and Ryan Fitzpatrick need to get the win that little bit more than the Jags or their season could soon be over. For that reason, I’ll go with Miami to edge it.
Andy – Before the season started, I felt that this game would be Miami’s easiest of the season but the way the Jags have performed so far has me worried. However, the Jags defense is no longer the ‘Sacksonville’ we saw in the 2017 season and I believe that the way our offense played last week against a tough Buffalo defense that this Jags team can be got at. I am going for a 27-24 Dolphins win.
Gareth – Really hard game to predict. Jacksonville have started the season well. Is it a case of they are better by subtraction or a flash in the pan. I don’t think their receivers will cause us as much trouble as the Bills. Minshew is a mobile QB but not a running QB like we’ve faced the last two weeks so that gives the Defence a different test.
Their running game looks strong. Which doesn’t suit us. However, tackling should improve dramatically. I think it’ll come down to how much we can limit their offense at the start. If the defense can keep it close we’ll come from behind to win it in the 4th Quarter. Fitz seems to generally get better later in games. However, it’s also got the potential to go the other way. I think Dolphins 27 Jaguars 24
Me – These Jacksonville Jaguars worry me, Minshew is playing incredibly well at the moment. Chark being out should help our DB’s who were shocking last week. If we win, it’s going to be down to Fitz. If we lose on the other hand, things aren’t looking pretty. We need a win, so I’m saying Dolphins 23-20 Jaguars. Not confident though.