The Jacksonville Jaguars have their back against the wall after three straight losses. An exciting start to the season had the team atop the AFC South standings, but the team’s slide now has the Jaguars stuck playing from behind.
To get back on track, the Jaguars will have to do what five teams were unable to do in the first six weeks: beat the New York Giants.
While a 5-1 record suggests the Giants have been a dominant team to start the year, the stats tell a different story. New York has found a way to win games the numbers say they should’ve lost.
That’s a trap Jacksonville keeps managing to fall into this season. Here are five Jaguars players who can help make sure the team doesn’t do that again in Week 7:
LB Devin Lloyd
The Jaguars were attacked with what felt like 50 crossing routes by the Colts in Week 6 and about 48 or so worked.
The lack of an adjustment from defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell was a problem, but it’s rookie linebacker Devin Lloyd who will need to be on the alert as offenses will certainly look to exploit the same weakness he showed last weekend.
New York doesn’t have much of an outside receiving threat and running back Saquon Barkley and tight end Daniel Bellinger are two of the team’s top four in receiving yards. Lloyd will be tested against Barkley in the running game and he will certainly be tested in the passing game too.
RB Travis Etienne
The Jaguars’ stubborn refusal to give the ball to James Robinson has been a head scratcher, but it might actually make sense to lean on Travis Etienne against the Giants.
New York is dead last in yards allowed per carry (5.6) and eighth best against the pass. It’s way too obvious that the Jaguars should run the ball, but defensive linemen Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence are a load inside.
Etienne’s shiftiness in space and his ability to hunt for cutback lanes is the skillset that looks best suited to exploit the Giants’ porous run defense.
OLB Travon Walker
It’ll be the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft lined up across from the No. 7 pick for most of the day Sunday.
After a hot start to the year with a sack and an interception in his debut, Walker has only garnered attention for penalties in the last two weeks. His untimely unnecessary roughness penalty in Week 5 and roughing the quarterback in Week 6 both proved costly.
Neal has been worse for the Giants. Through six weeks, the rookie tackle has been credited by Pro Football Focus with allowing five sacks and picking up two penalties.
While Neal has been improving, it should be one of Walker’s easier matchups of the season.
TE Chris Manhertz
All eyes are going to be on Evan Engram in his not-so-revenge-y revenge game, but in a matchup begging for the Jaguars to run the ball early and often, it could be run blocking tight end, Manhertz, who gets more snaps.
Manhertz was on the field for a season-high 57 percent of the team’s offensive snaps in Week 6. It’s not a coincidence that it was the week the Jaguars ran for 243 yards.
Expect Manhertz to see the field a lot Sunday and maybe even sneak away for a reception or two off of play action.
CB Tre Herndon
The Giants receiving corps of Wan’Dale Robinson, Richie James, David Sills, and Darius Slayton are far from a scary group for Herndon, Tyson Campbell, and Darious Williams to contend with on Sunday.
But fresh off Shaquill Griffin having a nightmarish day against the Colts last week, Herndon has a chance to put some real pressure on coaches.
If the Jaguars defense can shut down the Giants passing offense and Herndon has a huge day, it may be difficult for coaches to reinsert Griffin into the starting lineup, regardless of his lofty salary.