Six Points: Jaguars vs. Buccaneers
Two struggling teams, each in search of their second win of the season, face off Sunday when Blake Bortles and the Jacksonville Jaguars head to Tampa Bay to play Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers.
Jacksonville (1-3) is coming off a disappointing 16-13 overtime loss to the Colts in which rookie kicker Jason Myers missed two late-game opportunities to give his team the win.
Tampa Bay (1-3) lost to Carolina last week, 37-23 and has lost 11 straight at Raymond James Stadium.
Here are three keys to the game for both the Jaguars and the Buccaneers.
Can you beat the Crowd’s Line? Submit your final score prediction below. Good luck!
1. Take advantage of Winston’s mistakes
The Tampa Bay rookie quarterback has thrown seven interceptions, including four last week. The problem for the Jaguars is their defense has just one interception so far. That needs to change. Winston has shown a tendency to throw picks. Jacksonville needs to finally come away with the ball for an opportunistic takeaway.
2. Hope Thurston Armbrister comes through
With Paul Posluszny nursing a high ankle sprain, undrafted rookie Thurston Armbrister will start at middle linebacker if the Jaguars’ defensive captain can’t play. One of Armbrister’s main tasks will be to limit the Tampa Bay running game. If he can help slow down Doug Martin, it will force Winston to make throws.
3. Score some points in the second half
Through four games, Jacksonville has scored a combined 17 points in the second half of games. It’s hard to win that way. The Jaguars need to figure out a way to put points on the scoreboard the third and fourth quarters. Converting field goal opportunities is a good place to start.
1. Don’t put Winston behind the eight ball
The more the Buccaneers ask of Winston early, the worse things seem to turn out. In Tampa Bay’s three losses, Winston has thrown the ball at least 33 times. During the one victory, Winston threw it just 21 times and completed 14 of those passes. If the Buccaneers and Winston don’t get stuck behind the eight ball and fall behind early, there’s a far greater chance the Buccaneers can end the home losing streak.
2. Get the ball in Doug Martin’s hands
Martin is fresh off his best game of the 2015 season, as he rushed 20 times for 106 yards and a touchdown, while catching five balls for 37 yards in Week 4. While the Buccaneers lost that game to the Panthers, seeing Martin breakout like this was a great thing for Tampa Bay’s offense. Expect Dirk Koetter to find a way to get the ball in Martin’s hands.
3. Don’t turn the ball over
As badly as the Jaguars are going to bait Winston into making a mistake, he’ll need to play smart from start to finish. Winston has thrown seven interceptions this year, while Martin has also lost a fumble. Regardless, the rate that Winston has been turning the ball over isn’t going to get the job done, so he simply must find a way to fix the issue.