JACKSONVILLE – Each week during the 2023 season, Jaguars “experts” – Tony Boselli, Frank Frangie, Jeff Lageman, Brent Martineau, John Oehser, Brian Sexton, J.P. Shadrick and Kainani Stevens – will analyze the following day’s Jaguars matchup.
Up this week:
The Atlanta Falcons at Wembley Stadium in London.
Tony Boselli, Jaguars Analyst and Former Jaguars Left Tackle
- The Jaguars will win if:First and foremost, they don’t beat themselves. The Jags need to cut out the blown assignments, pre-snap turnovers, drops and turnovers if they want to be the team they were projected to be this year. If they play a clean game and force the Falcons to throw the ball on offense, they will be just fine on Sunday.
- The Falcons will win if:Robinson has a big day on the ground. The Falcons want to control the clock and not ask Ridder to win the game for them. Defensively, if they can control the line of scrimmage and force the Jags into obvious passing situations, their veteran defensive line will be looking to take advantage of the interior three of the Jags’ offensive line.
- As Boselli sees it:This is a game in which the Jaguars must eliminate the self-inflicted wounds. If they play a clean game, they should be able to get a win in Wembley Stadium for the first time since 2017. It’s going to a tight game, with the Jags hitting a late field goal for the win, 20-17.
Frank Frangie, Radio Voice of the Jaguars
- The Jaguars will win if: They get back to being the Jaguars. Just flush the Texans game — it was one of those games — and get to back to playing loose, free and easy. But the Jags must be better at the line of scrimmage. Both lines have struggled a bit; they have to protect better and have to somehow find a pass rush. That is so critical.
- The Falcons will win if: They can run Robinson, shorten the game and keep Ridder from having to be a major factor in the game. They also want to move Lawrence off his spot. Atlanta doesn’t want him to have a clean pocket very often.
- As Frangie sees it: The Jaguars should bounce back here. They have the better team and I expect them to play a bit looser. Should be a Jags win.
Jeff Lageman, Jaguars Analyst and Former Jaguars Defensive End
- The Jaguars will win if: They can find a way to play clean football. Drops, penalties, mental errors and missed tackles have been a big factor in the two losses and this Jags team must clean it up to give themselves the best chance for winning.
- The Falcons will win if: They can control the tempo of the game with their offensive line. Robinson is a talented rookie running back who is also Atlanta’s leading receiver. If he can get rolling, it will take pressure off quarterback Desmond Ridder.
- As Lageman sees it: This will be a challenging game with a struggling Jaguars offense facing a remade Falcons defense that has some strong veteran players. A fast start would go far toward building confidence for this Jaguars team as a whole. The Jags need running back Travis Etienne Jr. to have as big or bigger of an impact than he had last week.
Brent Martineau, Action Sports Jax Sports Director
- The Jags will win if: They jump out to the first-half lead. There’s a lot to talk about why the Jaguars are 1-2, but the Jaguars have hardly had the lead the last two seasons. If the offense can provide a cushion, the defense will play better. Good teams dictate the play and the Jaguars have to start doing that soon.
- The Falcons will win if: They have a good day running. Atlanta is built with a good offensive line and a talented rookie running back in Robinson. If they get the running game going, it will open things up for the passing of Ridder. The Jags have been good against the run so far and will need more of the same Sunday.
- As Martineau sees it: I can’t say my confidence in the Jags is sky high right now, but there are hidden things that foretell a breakout game. The Jaguars didn’t have any three and outs last week and this season they have moved into opponents’ territory on almost 60 percent of their possessions. Plus, Lawrence is playing good football. It’s time to get it right against a pesky Atlanta team. Jaguars win, 30-20.
John Oehser, jaguars.com Senior Writer
- The Jaguars will win if: They relax, play their game and make plays in big moments. If this sounds familiar, that’s because it was the pregame theme before a loss to the Houston Texans this past Sunday. The Jaguars aren’t playing poorly overall as much as they’re struggling at crucial times. That’s all it takes to lose in the NFL.
- The Falcons will win if: They play how they want to play offensively, which means running consistently and as well as any team in the NFL. The Jaguars pride themselves on stopping the run and consider it a strength. That strength will be tested Sunday.
- As Oehser sees it: This is an intriguing matchup for the Jaguars. They must play relaxed and effectively offensively, but there’s a real urgency for a team that has lost two consecutive game and is now 1-2 through three games. The Jaguars need to get a lead Sunday. This is a tough matchup and will be particularly tough if the Falcons take control early.
Brian Sexton, jaguars.com Senior Correspondent
- The Jaguars will win: They calm down and play. I’ve sensed something “off” with this team since Head Coach Doug Pederson’s Wednesday news conference before Kansas City. I couldn’t pin it down to anything specific, but he wasn’t himself that day and this team hasn’t been itself yet this season. Whether “anxious” or “pressing,” this team has been “off” and “out of sync.” They may not be quite as good as I thought, but they’re good – and good enough to beat the Falcons.
- The Falcons will win: They pressure the quarterback. There has been consistent pressure on Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence since Week 1 in Indianapolis and the offensive line has yet to hold up. Lawrence has had to throw too quickly. The receivers haven’t had a chance to get open, and it shows in third-down and red-zone percentage. If Lawrence is uncomfortable, the offense isn’t going to calm down, and the Falcons can win.
- As Sexton sees it: I think this is the week the Jaguars look like the team we expected this season. The Falcons are talented at the skill positions on offense and can cause matchup issues all over the formation, but their defense doesn’t get much pressure. I think that will allow Lawrence to put it all together and calm this whole thing down.
J.P. Shadrick, jaguars.com Senior Reporter, Westwood One Radio Play-by-Play
- The Jaguars will win if: They get out of their own way and play cleaner football. Drops and penalties are plaguing the offense, the defense is struggling to get consistent pressure and the special teams miscues have changed the dynamic of the game multiple times. You can overcome one of three phases playing poorly, but rarely can you overcome all three.
- The Falcons will win if: They get rookie running back Bijan Robinson going and control the flow of the game. Robinson is the Falcons’ leading rusher and the leading pass-catcher, so expect a heavy dose. And be careful over the middle too: they also have two tight ends in Kyle Pitts and Jonnu Smith that they feature. Smith has three career touchdowns in nine career games against the Jaguars, eight of those games with the Titans.
- As Shadrick sees it: The Jaguars have lost their last three games under the Wembley arch, with the last win in 2017. This feels like a swing game to see which way this Jags team will go in the short-term. If they can get off the deck from last week and work on things and improve their play, that’s a great sign. If a lot of the same issues hurt them, then they could have some issues in the near term while they continue to spin their wheels. Either way – just win the game, ugly, pretty, it doesn’t matter how.
Kainani Stevens, Jaguars Team Reporter
- Jaguars will win if: They can get out of their own way. Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong against the Texans. That being said, most of the mistakes were self-inflicted. If the offense can go back to their tried-and-true weapons of wide receiver Christian Kirk and tight end Evan Engram, I think that will open things up for wide receiver Calvin Ridley.
- The Falcons will win if: They establish the run early. Robinson has been as good as advertised in the first three games of his career. If he gets going early, it will give Ridder more time in the pocket to figure things out. An effective run game will keep Atlanta on the field and make things more difficult for the Jag’s offense to get kickstarted.
- As Stevens sees it: I hope the Jaguars have mentally turned the corner after and the embarrassing loss to the Texans will serve as a wakeup call. I don’t expect a blowout, but I think the offense will get its act together in London. I think Jacksonville will outlast the Falcons in the end for a 21-14 win.