Yes, there is hope.
That’s the answer, and because the question is, “Do the Jaguars have a chance against Green Bay?” you likely will get a lot of funny looks if you repeat that first line.
But there is hope. And there are reasons for that hope.
All of that is true despite the Jaguars being 1-5, and it’s even true not having running back
Are the odds against them? Sure. Does it look bleak? Sure.
But there’s hope because this is the NFL, and because the players on both teams are paid to play football. There’s hope because while the Packers have looked very good they have not looked “quite” as good as they did for a 25-game stretch in 2010 and 2011, and there’s also hope because whenever you play sports one team has a chance to beat another team.
The Jaguars will have to play better than they have all season, far better. They’ll have to do the things they’ve talked about doing and not yet done. They’ll need big plays and good fortune and a lot of things that haven’t happened yet this season.
But there is hope, and as the team prepares to visit one of the NFL’s most historic venues and play one of its best teams, here are 10 things the Jaguars must do to beat the Packers:
1) Pressure Aaron Rodgers. We won’t repeat this over and over, though we could. It’s that important. Do it, and you have a chance. Don’t do it, and you lose.
2) Be tough. It looks like Blaine Gabbert will play Sunday. He has been listening to people talk about his supposed lack of toughness for a year and a half. Here’s a chance to put that to rest.
3) Shorten the game. I usually hate the approach of shortening the game and keeping the opponent off the field. The circumstances Sunday, though, are unique. So, the best approach may be to control the clock, and in order to do that you...
4) Run. The Jaguars haven’t run well the last three games. It had little to do with Maurice Jones-Drew or
5) Be effective throwing. This is about more than simply creating yards downfield. The Jaguars need to be more effective more consistently passing 10-to-15 yards downfield. They rarely have been able to complete passes in that range this season and until they do, teams will bunch the defense at the line of scrimmage to stop the running back. Teams have been doing this the last three weeks, and have limited both Jones-Drew and Jennings.
7) Make big plays. It happened a lot more last week than it had in the first five games. As a result, the Jaguars twice had leads of 14 points. They also had momentum more often against the Raiders than in just about all of their past games combined. Things went bad in the final quarter and a half, but keep making plays and things will get better.
8) Get the ball to Cecil Shorts. Someone long, long ago mentioned that Cecil Shorts might become the best receiver on the roster. Well, lo and behold, right now, he is. He has made some mistakes, some of them costly. But he also is running the best routes on the team and getting open more consistently than any other receiver.
9) Force turnovers. This sort of ties in with No. 7 – make big plays – but it’s sort of its own separate thing, too. Whatever it is, it needs to happen. The Jaguars forced three turnovers Sunday, and if the offense had taken better advantage, that game’s not close in the fourth quarter. So, we’ll add “take advantage of turnovers” to this entry, but whatever... you want to beat a really, really good team? Get turnovers, then turn them into points.
10) Play the game of your lives. It may take that. But if it happens, yes, there’s hope.