Moeller: Jaguars Need to Keep Momentum on Their Side

By Jeff Moeller, Florida Sports Wire

JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars grinded out a victory at Houston last week. It was truly a must win for their reputation and league status.

What can they do for an encore? Take another step toward being the top seed in the postseason.We should know where they are over the next three weeks. 

Beat the Bengals under the lights Monday night at the Bank. It is their first prime-time Monday madness since 2011 when they dropped a 38-14 decision to the Chargers. It should be an electric home crowd.

With their win over the Texans last Sunday, the Jags (8-3) comfortably moved into first place in the AFC South with a two-game lead over both the Texans (6-5) and Colts (6-5).

This is the second of a crucial four-game stretch that can determine how far the Jags can go this season. If they should win all four games, the Jags will have a strong shot at gaining the top spot in the AFC.

On the other hand, three consecutive losses will severely hamper them as well as their apparent second straight division title.

Monday night’s showcase against the Bengals was supposed to be one of the better games on the docket. Fortunately for the Jags, starting quarterback Joe Burrow is out, and backup Jake Browning made his first career start against the Steelers last Sunday and went 19-for-26 for 227 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Cincinnati (5-6) enters the game sliding on a three-game losing streak, and top comer Cam Taylor-Britt has been ruled out. 

It appears all of the football stars are aligned in the Jags’ path. This can be a path toward being the top seed in the postseason ahead.

The top-seeded Ravens (9-3) have their bye week, and the Chiefs (8-3) are in Green Bay Sunday night. Jacksonville will host the Ravens in two weeks on a Sunday night classic.

So, the path is simple – keep winning.

That sounds easy enough. They have to take care of Cincinnati and then travel to upstart Cleveland next Sunday.

It will come down to this..

Trevor Lawrence has helped the offense average 28 points and more than 400 yards in each of the past two weeks. In that span, he has thrown and run for three touchdowns apiece. Lawrence and Calvin Ridley have found the chemistry everyone expected as the duo has combined five touchdowns over the last three games.

Josh Allen has 12 sacks in 11 games, and their No. 4 ranked run defense will have to corral Joe Mixon. More importantly, the secondary will have to keep receivers Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins with their grasp.

The Jags’ overall defense has forced a turnover in eight of their last 10 games, and they have a 7-1 record during that span. 

Brandon McManus continues to show why he is one of the league’s best, as he converted11 of 12 field goal attempts in the last five games and 23 of 26 overall.

If you haven’t noticed, the Jags have won seven of their last eight, the lone blemish being the 34-3 thumping by the 49ers. When they are playing this well, it is early overlooked.

It’s another big one Monday night at the Bank in front of a national audience, and there are more to come for their reputation and league status

(File photo by Nancy DeLander Beecher)

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