The Jacksonville Jaguars are heading to New Orleans for a Week 7 Thursday Night Football matchup against the Saints. With the Jags riding a three-game win streak and the Saints sitting at 2–4, this game has major playoff implications.
Jaguars experts Tony Boselli, Frank Frangie, Jeff Lageman, Brent Martineau, John Oehser, Brian Sexton, J.P. Shadrick and Kainani Stevens weighed in with their final analysis on what each team needs to do to win. They also gave their predictions for the final score.
Protecting Lawrence and Establishing the Run are Crucial for Jaguars
The biggest question mark heading into Thursday is the status of Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who suffered a knee injury in the Week 6 win over the Colts. If Lawrence plays, protecting him will be paramount, according to Boselli. The offensive line must contain the Saints’ stout front seven and open holes for running back Travis Etienne Jr.
Frangie echoed this sentiment — the Jaguars must run the ball effectively, with or without Lawrence. Controlling time of possession with Etienne will be key to victory.
Lageman and Shadrick also pointed to the run game as being critical. Leaning on Etienne and the ground attack will help either Lawrence or backup CJ Beathard manage the game.
Defense Needs to Stay Aggressive and Force Turnovers
The Jaguars defense has been on a roll, leading the NFL with 15 takeaways. Continuing to generate those momentum-shifting plays will go a long way versus the Saints, according to the experts.
Lageman and Stevens emphasized the defense’s ability to take the ball away as being integral to a Week 7 win. Oehser said multiple turnovers will be needed to overcome offensive limitations.
Boselli added that pressuring Carr into mistakes gives the Jaguars an advantage. The veteran QB can be prone to turnovers when under duress.
Injuries Could Prove Costly on Short Week
The short week coupled with key injuries makes this a very difficult matchup for the Jaguars. Along with Lawrence’s questionable status, defensive end Foley Fatukasi and cornerback Shaquill Griffin were ruled out.
Oehser noted that missing multiple starters compounds the challenges of playing on Thursday night on the road. Sexton said overcoming injuries will require backups to step up and perform like starters.
Slowing Down Kamara and Saints Pass Catchers Critical for Defense
The Saints have playmakers on offense that the Jaguars must contain. Running back Alvin Kamara is a dual threat capable of hurting teams on the ground and through the air. Wideouts Chris Olave and Michael Thomas are dangerous receiving targets.
Boselli stated that limiting Kamara’s touches will relieve pressure on Carr. Lageman said the Saints will look to utilize Kamara to make the Jaguars one-dimensional.
Sexton highlighted Carr’s abilities if given time in the pocket to find his receivers. Applying consistent pressure on the veteran QB will be important according to several experts.
Final Score Predictions Favor Jaguars in Close Game
The Jaguars experts foresee a hard-fought, defensive battle on Thursday night. Most predict a low-scoring affair that the Jaguars emerge from with a victory.
Boselli, Frangie, Martineau and Stevens all have the Jaguars winning by single digits. They cite the Jaguars’ momentum and defensive playmaking as reasons to pick them on the road.
Final score predictions ranged from 20–14 to 23–19 in favor of the Jaguars. It will likely come down to which defense makes the bigger impact.
Make sure to tune into Thursday Night Football on Prime Video to see the Jaguars take on the Saints. A win would push the Jags to 5–2 on the season as they look to build on their three-game streak.
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