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Week 8 Preview: Jaguars @ Dallas Cowboys

(Fellow Jaguars fans, each week I will preview the team’s matchup against their opponent. This week, the Jaguars play the Cowboys and below I give my take on both teams and what I predict to be the outcome of the game. Feel free to let me know what you think of this, either by commenting, or emailing me at: jaguarsgab@gmail.com. I really want Jaguars Gab to be an interactive site and serve as a forum for Jags fans to let their thoughts and ideas be heard.)

 This Sunday, your Jacksonville Jaguars will take on the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium. When the schedule came out during the spring, I am confident that Cowboys fans circled this game as a win and expected it to be some kind of walkthrough for the team. Many people in Dallas, from Jerry Jones to the average Joe, legitimately believed that Dallas would be the first team to play a Super Bowl in its home turf. While Dallas is not mathematically out of the playoff picture, it will be incredibly hard for them to make something of this season. The Cowboys are 1-5, and have just found out that they will be without starting QB Tony Romo for the next 6-8 weeks. Right now, they are closer to getting the #1 overall pick in the draft than they are to making the playoffs, let alone the Super Bowl.

 Both the Jaguars and Cowboys are coming off of losses in Week 7. The Jaguars receiving a 42-20 beating by the Kansas City Chiefs and the Cowboys losing 41-35 to the New York Giants on Monday Night Football. While every game is an important one, I believe this one to be especially so for both teams. A 1-6 record is never good. For Dallas, a 1-6 record is catastrophic. The Cowboys like to think of themselves as America’s team, and starting the season so poorly certainly does not bode well with their fans. The coachers will have a lot of questions to answer and the pressure will increase exponentially for the players. On the other hand, the Jaguars have a chance of going 4-4 before heading into the Bye Week. The Jaguars play in the ultra-competitive AFC South and one cannot emphasize enough how valuable every win is. It looks as if the battle for the AFC South will go down to the wire this year and the Jaguars must do their part to remain in the conversation. They should not rely on help from the other teams in order to remain alive.

 Can the Jaguars beat the Cowboys? You better believe it. Having just found great interest in the Jaguars, I must admit that I have not seen as much of them as I should in order to make a fair judgement on the team. Nonetheless, I think the Jaguars have what it takes to beat the Cowboys. Whether they go out and do things right to get a win is a completely different story. This is a team that ranks in the bottom of the league in every major statistical category on defense. The team is 31st in scoring defense, and 30th in total yards allowed. Clearly, adjustments have to be made on the defensive of the ball to shore up their mishaps. While the Jaguars rank 25th in rushing defense, allowing their opponents to rush for 129 yards a game, they will be facing a Cowboys team that has not found success in the running game. Coming into the season, I actually thought that the Cowboys would find success in every aspect on offense, including the running game. However, Felix Jones, Marion Barber, and Tashard Choice have not dominated as I thought they would. They have not been too involved in the offense and I am curious to see how Dallas approaches their game plan against the Jaguars.

The Jaguars do one thing well, and that is rushing the ball. On the other hand, the Cowboys have found trouble in stopping the opposition’s running game. The Jaguars should take full advantage and make the Cowboys pay for their deficiencies. I think that the Tennessee Titans, in their Week 5 matchup against the Cowboys in Dallas, showed what it takes for a team like Jacksonville to beat Dallas.

In their Week 5 matchup, the Titans gave the Cowboys a healthy dosage of Chris Johnson. Vince Young complimented Johnson’s efforts by throwing for 173 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jacksonville is more than able to emulate what was done by Tennessee. Maurice Jones-Drew is due for a breakout game this season, and it just might come against the Cowboys. David Garrard needs to play smart and not force any throws into the Dallas secondary. Should they do that, the Jaguars will be victorious.

While Jon Kitna has not started a game in some time and is getting up there with age, I think that the Cowboys’ receivers will make something happen whenever he puts up the ball in the air. I was really impressed of what I saw from rookie Dez Bryant in the game against the Giants. The guy has a ton of fun playing football and never seems to give up. Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett has to get his running backs going at some point, and this game is a prime opportunity for him to do so.

Prediction: Jaguars win 27-23. This game can certainly go either way. But, I think Dallas is a team in shambles right now. This game will tell if they decide to throw in the towel on the season. They need their star players to start carrying them and I am not sure that that will happen this Sunday. I may be proven wrong, but if Kitna slips up, I do not get the feeling that his teammates will rally around him for some six weeks. Jacksonville needs to win this game and they will play inspired football.

Enjoy the game everybody!

Go Jags Go!


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