Jaguars seeking first win of the season under the lights in Cincinnati

Riley Platt, Sports Editor

Despite suffering another loss on Sunday, Sep. 26, the Jaguars showed plenty of promise to give fans hope going into their sole primetime game of the season.

After an 0-3 start, most fan bases would be panicking. However, this is sadly nothing new in Jacksonville, as the Jags have lost their last 18 games. One unique benefit of this unfortunate situation, though, is that fans are able to find positives in these losses.

Surprisingly, one of these positive notes was the defense. Not many gave them much of a chance going against the high-powered Arizona Cardinals’ offense, but they held their ground for most of Sunday afternoon. 

Ending the losing skid will be no easy task. The 2-1 Cincinnati Bengals are fresh off an impressive double-digit win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in week three. Conversely, the Jaguars lost to the Cardinals in a second-half collapse. 

Picking up a win won’t be impossible, but Jacksonville is going to need to string together four quarters of quality football. The Jags turned some heads by leading at halftime against the Cardinals, but hope slowly faded as the game progressed. 

AP/Gary McCullough.

One area that the Jags will attempt to exploit Thursday is the Cincinnati offensive line. Through three games, quarterback Joe Burrow has been sacked 10 times. The second-year starter isn’t exactly much of a runner, either. If the Jacksonville pass rush can force Burrow out of the pocket and land some hits, they will have a chance against the talented youngster.

Getting sacks and pressures will be critical, though, as the Jaguars’ secondary has endured trouble this season. At times, the unit has just looked discombobulated. Adding to this is the exit of cornerback CJ Henderson, who was traded to the Carolina Panthers on Monday.

The special teams unit has been a bit of an anomaly this year for the Jags. Kicking has been a nightmare, with Josh Lambo misfiring on field goals and extra-point attempts alike. However, the return game has been sparked by speedster Jamal Agnew, who ran back a 109-yard touchdown off of a missed Arizona field goal on Sunday.

As for the offense, there were some positive takeaways from last week. Running back James Robinson proved his value, breaking loose for some critical runs. While tallying two interceptions, only one of these can truly be pinned on Trevor Lawrence. Sure, the rookie threw an ugly pick-six, but that’s part of the growing process.

Being in the spotlight of a primetime game is nothing new for Lawrence, though. He was the focus of the college football world for most of his time at Clemson. This should help dispel some nerves, but critics will be ready to pick at the slightest mistake nonetheless.

The Bengals enter the contest favored by a touchdown, having a 69.2 percent chance of winning according to ESPN’s Football Power Index. These numbers aren’t promising, but it’s far from a death sentence. It’s a simple formula: play four solid quarters, limit mistakes, and the Jags might just pick up their first win of the season.

The game will kick off Thursday night, Sep. 30, at 8:20 p.m. on NFL Network. It will be a big night for both teams, serving as an opportunity for these recent bottom-dwellers to show the nation just what they have. For the Jaguars, the 18-game losing streak could end this week, but they’ll have to work for it.


For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].