JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Under Doug Marrone, the Jaguars have won eight of nine games after losses. Their only losing streak came last December, when the Jaguars lost to the San Francisco 49ers and Tennessee Titans on consecutive weeks. Sunday, the Jaguars face the Cowboys in Dallas. Here are my four biggest questions for the Jaguars:
1. Which Blake Bortles shows up?
When Bortles has been on, he's been terrific this year. Specifically, in wins over the Patriots and Jets. In the other games, he has struggled. Last week in Kansas City, he looked like the 2015 version. Too many turnovers, a pick-six and some throws that make you shake your head in disbelief. The Jaguars don't need the best version of Bortles to win, but they can't win with the worst version.
2. Can the offensive line protect the quarterback?
Josh Walker has never started a game in the National Football League. He will start at left tackle Sunday. Most of the rest of the offensive line is banged up as well. Right tackle Jeremy Parnell struggled last week and was limited in practice this week. Center Brandon Linder and left tackle Andrew Norwell both appeared on the injury report. although both practiced full on Friday. Without running backs Leonard Fournette and Cory Grant and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, the Jaguars need a solid performance by the offensive line.
3. Can the defense score?
It sounds crazy to expect it, but the Jaguars defense developed a reputation of, not only creating takeaways, but of scoring. This year, Myles Jack's interception return for a touchdown in the opening week is the only touchdown the defense has scored. They did force a safety against the Jets. Any points by the defense would be a welcome contribution against a Cowboys team that is surrendering only 19 points per game.
4. Can Jamaal Charles show that he has more left in the tank?
With the injuries at running back, the Jaguars added 31-year-old running back Jamaal Charles. Once, Charles was among the most dangerous runners in the league. He recorded five 1,000 yard seasons in a six-year span. But he has fought injuries and now, he's on the wrong side of 30. That's usually not a good thing for running backs. Can he show that he can replace Grant for the season? The Jaguars hope the answer is yes.
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