Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/2/12
The Jacksonville Jaguars are 1-6, in the cellar of the AFC South, and haven’t won a game at home yet this year. Looking at this matchup, it’s obviously a game that the Detroit Lions should win. The game will be played in Jacksonville, and airs at 1:05p.m. on Fox. In the NFL this season, with parity at an all-time high, if the Lions take that attitude into this game they will end up returning to Detroit with tails between their legs. Remember, the Jaguars gave the Packers a run for their money last week in a game that was 15-21 until Packers’ kicker Mason Crosby booted a late field goal to put the game out of reach. All of that said, this Jacksonville team has a plethora of weaknesses that the Lions can exploit. Offensively, the Jaguars rank dead-last in passing yards and 27th in rushing yards.  Quarterback Blaine Gabbert has struggled mightily, and the Lions’ coaching staff knows this.  Putting pressure on Gabbert will be the key in this one defensively.  Push around an already young and struggling quarterback, and the Lions will create sacks, turnovers, and possibly even points. The Jaguars rushing attack has been subpar, but without franchise running back Maurice Jones-Drew, it’s been downright dismal.  Over the last two games, backup Rashad Jennings has managed only 103 yards rushing.  The Lions have been adequate at stopping the run, so they shouldn’t have any trouble bottling up Jennings. Defensively, this matchup leans heavily toward the Lions’ second-ranked pass attack.  While Detroit’s air supremacy has won them games, Jacksonville’s lack of a defensive answer has lost them some.  Jacksonville ranks 23rd against the pass defensively.  Detroit ranks 2nd throwing the football.  It seems like simple math. Detroit will air it out, that is no secret, but establishing the running attack in this game is crucial.  When the defense has to honor the threat of Mikel Leshoure, it makes Matt Young’s emergence helps Detroit’s offense immensely. Should Johnson miss time, #16 will have to step up even further Stafford, Calvin Johnson, and the aerial attack even more effective.  If safeties can’t sit 20 yards deep, Megatron will burn them a time or two. Johnson did not practice this week with an injured knee, but I expect him to suit up this Sunday.  Now all the Lions have to do is use a little creativity to get him open and get him the ball. Last week’s emergence of Titus Young makes the Lions offense that much more dangerous.  Adding another deep threat like Young draws defenses away from Johnson, and creates space in the running game. I’ll stop beating around the bush: this is a lopsided matchup that Detroit should control from start to finish.  I know the defense is banged up and will be without CB Bill Bentley and S Louis Delmas, but a solid game plan defensively will be able to hold the Jags to just a handful of points. It’s up to the coaching staff to get the Lions focused for this game.  Overlook it, and things could get dicey.   Follow me on twitter @ScottPeceny    
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