JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As Tom Coughlin pointed out (several times), there are five games remaining. On Sunday, the Jaguars return to TIAA Bank Field for the first time since Oct. 27 when they beat the Jets. That also happens to be the last time the Jaguars won a game. Here are my four keys for a Jaguars win:
While no team would turn down a fast start, it’s especially important for the Jaguars this week. With the playoffs no longer a real possibility, Jaguars fans have taken to social media to proclaim their displeasure with the last three games. With Coughlin’s ill-conceived plea, it will be interesting to see how many show up on Sunday. Those who do are not likely to wait around to be entertained. A slow start could see an early departure of bodies and energy.
Defense must show up
While the Buccaneers have been a passing-oriented team, ranked fourth in the NFL in passing yards per game, the Jaguars defense should still expect Tampa Bay to try to establish the running game. After all, if the previous three teams have run for 200 yards against your opponent, wouldn’t you try to do the same? Neither Ronald Jones nor Peyton Barber have been explosive this year, but the duo has combined for over 800 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground. They are not to be overlooked.
Do something with turnovers
Jameis Winston has thrown 22 touchdowns this season. He has also thrown 20 interceptions. As a team, the Bucs are minus-10 in the turnover margin. Even with a depleted defensive roster, the Jaguars need to force turnovers, and then the offense must take advantage. On the other hand, not giving Winston and company extra possessions will help. Don’t turn the ball over.
Show the fans something
There is a faction of the fan base that has already thrown up their hands and moved on from the season. Many of those will still watch the game, whether they attend or not. Give them — and anybody in the stadium — something to believe in. Some sign of life. After the worst three-game stretch in franchise history, fans just want some hope, even if it is going in the bank for next year.