The Jaguars are coming off of a rough home loss to the Dolphins, but can they bounce back with a win in Cincinnati on Sunday?

Riley Platt, Sports Reporter

Featured Image: Stephen B. Morton | AP

The forecast surrounding the Jacksonville Jaguars coming into 2020 was foggy to say the least. After getting rid of key players like Yannick Ngakoue, Ronnie Harrison and Leonard Fournette, a “tank” season seemed inevitable. However, that notion was sent away after an impressive week one win against the Colts. 

While hopes were high after the season opener, the Jags would soon take a step back following losses against the Broncos and the Dolphins. Despite the season taking a turn for the worse, Jacksonville has a chance to turn things around as they face the Bengals on Sunday.

The Cincinnati Bengals finished the 2019 season with the worst record in the NFL, but this would earn them the 1st overall pick in the draft. They used this pick to select LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, whom the team hopes can become the face of the franchise. The rookie QB has shown promise in his first three starts, yet the Bengals have been held winless so far. 

This matchup is by no means being viewed as one of week four’s key games, but it could very well end up being an exciting duel. Both teams are rather evenly matched, yet Cincinnati is being favored by oddsmakers by the margin of a field goal. Will the Jaguars be able to rebound this weekend with a win on the road?

Date: Sunday, Oct. 4

Time: 1 ET

Location: Cincinnati, OH

Venue: Paul Brown Stadium


Keys to Victory

JAX: Put simply, the Jags have to clean up some things if they want to win another game anytime soon. The once domineering defense has shown cracks early on this season. This was best exemplified when the Dolphins jumped out to a big lead in the first half last week, something that the struggling offense just couldn’t make up for. Quarterback Gardner Minshew has shown what he’s capable of, completing 95% of his passes in the week one win against Indianapolis. If his offensive line can allot him time, that is when he can shine. 

Another key piece to the Jags offense has been undrafted rookie running back James Robinson out of Illinois State. With Fournette’s departure, there were questions as to who would become the lead back for Jacksonville, and Robinson quickly stepped into the spotlight. While only accounting for 64 yards last Thursday, he did score the only two touchdowns of the game for the Jags.

Defense and special teams should have been a key focus in practice this week following an ugly performance in week three. Young defenders like C.J. Henderson have to step up and play better in order to give the offense a chance. Nothing is more demoralizing than having your defense put you in a hole early. With the injury of kicker Josh Lambo, the Jags had to turn to a rather unknown backup Brandon Wright, who missed a PAT attempt. Following this, the Jags decided to sign veteran Steven Hauschka. Errors in tight games like the one expected on Sunday will be unacceptable, and Jacksonville will need to execute on all the small things if they want to secure a victory.

CIN: While a 0-2-1 start isn’t exactly ideal, the Bengals seem to be on the right track. QB Joe Burrow has fit in nicely with his new team, throwing for five touchdowns and 841 yards through his first three games as an NFL quarterback.

Burrow can’t carry this team alone, which is where Cincinnati’s talented wide receiver corps comes in handy. This group is made up of experienced guys like A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd, along with rookies Tee Higgins and Justin Jefferson. If Burrow is given time to link with his top targets, this could spell trouble for a reeling Jags defense. 

Cincinnati’s defense hasn’t been awful, allowing an average of 24.7 points on the year. Safety Von Bell will look to shut down the Jaguars aerial attack, built of guys such as D.J. Chark Jr. and Laviska Shenault Jr. If this Bengals defense can lock down the Jacksonville passing game, it could result in Cincinnati’s first win in the Joe Burrow era.


Betting Odds

Point Spread: Cincinnati (-3)

Over/Under: 49


This should be a very tight game, where every detail matters. The Bengals just seem to have more momentum and be in a better place than the Jags currently are. It should be a close one, but look for the Bengals passing game to edge out the Jacksonville defense and propel them to their first win of the season.  

Final Score: Bengals 31, Jaguars 27


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