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Talking Points: Jaguars vs. Broncos

The Jaguars play their final game before the bye week, in Denver against the AFC West leading Broncos. Here are the topics and storylines that I’ll be talking about before the game, following during the game, and analyzing after the game:

1. Jaguars Running Game-With the exception of the Jaguars win at Indianapolis, we haven’t seen the Jaguars power running game. While the Broncos aren’t as bad against the run as the Colts are (nobody in the NFL is, actually), Denver ranks near the bottom on defense and the Jaguars should be able to run the ball. Center Brad Meester worked without limitation in practice on Thursday, and I expect him back after the bye week, but for now, the offensive line will work as is.

2. Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves
-The Jaguars rookies haven’t exactly dominated this year. Groves has a sack and a half and seems to be coming around. Harvey, who missed all of training camp, is, in the estimation of defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, just now getting to the point that he would be if he had attended camp. Perhaps we will see him make a difference against Jay Cutler. The Jaguars could sure use a defensive score, like the one that Rashean Mathis gave them last week.

3. Brandon Marshall
-Speaking of Mathis, he’ll likely be matched up with the Broncos 6-6 wide out Brandon Marshall (a teammate of Mike Walker’s at UCF). Last year, Marshall was tough to stop, hauling in seven passes for 133 yards against the Jaguars. He’s on pace for another 100 catch season and with a couple of Broncos pass catchers out of the game (tight end Tony Scheffler and running back Selvin Young), he’ll be a bigger focus than ever.

4. Who Delivers Big Plays in the Passing Game? I don’t expect Mike Walker to play Sunday so where will the Jaguars go in the downfield passing game? Matt Jones has done a nice job as a possession receiver, but isn’t a deep threat. Jerry Porter hasn’t shown much so far this year. Maybe this is the game that he starts to make his presence known.

5. Third Down, Red Zone, Fourth Quarter-These are the three area where championship teams excel. The Jaguars defense has struggled on 3rd down, allowing too many conversions (nearly 50%), they’ve given up a lead six times in five fourth quarters and the offense is scoring touchdowns in the redzone, they’re reaching the end zone on only 40 percent of their visits inside the 20.

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