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Moeller: Jaguars Looking for Some Motor City Magic

By Jeff Moeller

Last week’ s last-second, 28-27 win over Baltimore certainly as a statement win for Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars.

Lawrence was brilliant with his overall play throughout, reaching his crescendo on the final game-winning drive and subsequent two-point conversion to cap a 321-yard, three touchdown and no turnovers game in which he completed 29 of 37. His biggest previous win likely was- against Miami in London last year, or even the blowout 38-10 win in San Diego in Week Three.

But in this case, Lawrence and his team finished. It wasn’t just Lawrence, who had time to find his receivers, but it also was the Jags’ defense, which kept Lamar Jackson out of the end zone when needed.

They closed the door when they had to do it, and they didn’t leave it hanging. This can be the character-type win they have been anticipating.

Last week was about staying close enough to have the chance to win. This week, it is a must win to take the first step to begin a new identity. They aren’t just a pushover anymore.

These 4-7 Jaguars likely won’t be heading to the postseason, They have two games left with Tennessee and one in Houston to help change that narrative. Their first unanticipated home loss to Houston is the one that really stings now.

The Jaguars head to Detroit to face a 4-7 Lions team that basically is a mirror image of themselves. They have played well over the last month, and found their own ways to cross the threshold to the next level.

“Our whole focus has to be on the team that’s coming in here on Sunday, because they are very much a mirror image of us,” Lions coach Dan Campbell said. “They are starting over a little bit with a new coach, and they are hungry with a ton of talent coming off their best win of the season.”

Campbell is right.

Both teams have hit the reset button, and the tape now looks pretty interesting and convincing.

When they won consecutive games ending with the Chargers’ win a few months ago, the Jags lost a close game in the rain In Philadelphia, one they could have easily won.

That was the beginning of a five-game skid in which they lost those by a combined 32 points.
That was about being close.

This week is about winning another statement game in its own way.

It will have to be about Lawrence with running back Travis Etienne listed as questionable with a nagging foot injury that set him to the sidelines early last week. JaMycal Hasty showed some flash last week running the ball, and his contributions should increase.

Lawrence will face a Detroit defense that has given up a league -worst 28.2 points per game. Contrarily, the Lions have the eight-best offense and have scored 30 or more points in five games.

The Lions do have No. 2 overall pick edge rusher Adrian Hutchinson, who has 5.5 sacks and 10 quarterback hits as opposed to the Jags’ No.1 overall pick edge rusher Travon Walker, who has 2.5 sacks and nine quarterback hits. There will be an angle on them.

Suddenly, Sunday becomes another chance for a statement game. This is one that a 4-7 team should beat another 4-7 team even if the latter one is at home. It is the perfect opportunity for the Jags to take the next step to the next level.

And it shouldn’t be about just being close.

 

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