JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jaguars lost their second straight game, falling at home to the New Orleans Saints 13-6. The loss drops the Jaguars to 2-4 on the season and makes the next two games vital if they wish to keep their playoff hopes alive. Here are my four biggest takeaways from the game:
1. Without Jalen Ramsey, the Saints targeted Tre Herndon. It was clear that, especially early in the game, the Saints were not going to test A.J. Bouye. Instead, Teddy Bridgewater looked Herndon's way repeatedly.
If Ramsey doesn't play again for the Jaguars, it's likely this will be a part of the game plan against Jacksonville every week. Herndon must play better, but the Jaguars could also use more pass pressure.
Even with Bridgewater getting rid of the ball quickly, the Jaguars didn't harass him often enough. It's a huge expectation for the defense, and the Jaguars should expect to win when they hold the opponent to 13, but the defense has won games for this team in the past. Perhaps with the current group of players on the field, we should recalibrate our expectations.
2. The top priority for the defense was to control Alvin Kamara. They did. Although Kamara was not completely healthy, the Jaguars limited the dynamic running back to 31 yards on 11 carries. The Saints offense looked anything by explosive. On the other hand, backup running back Latavius Murray had success on the ground, particularly in the second half. It was a better performance by the run defense, but it wasn't enough.
3. Gardner Minshew had his worst game of the year. Minshew looked out of sync with his receivers much of the day. He was inaccurate and didn't make plays while on the run (which was often). He struggled for much of the game last week and now the inaccuracy against the Saints. All rookies have ups and downs, but with two very beatable teams coming in the next two weeks, the Cincinnati Bengals and the New York Jets, it's time for Minshew to back on the right path.
4. With games against the Bengals and Jets coming the next two weeks, the Jaguars face virtual must-win games. It's not that tall an order. Both came into the weekend winless. The Jaguars can win both, but their margin of error is dwindling if they want to be a contending team.