Dec 20, 2015; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) throws the ball against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Blake Bortles has been impressive this season, and has been red-hot lately. What can the Saints defense do to at least try to slow him down?
Blake has been his own worst enemy this season, forcing passes into tight windows often. While some of those passes have turned into spectacular plays, a handful of them are just poor pre-snap decisions that lead to interceptions. The Saints should send extra rushers at Bortles and disguise their blitzes to try and force Bortles into some bad decisions in the pocket.
Allen Robinson, who has 13 receiving touchdowns on the season, was clearly snubbed from the Pro Bowl. However, he has been very diplomatic in his approach. What has helped him succeed this season?
The new offensive scheme is using his strengths and it has paid huge dividends. Offensive coordinator Greg Olson has added a much needed vertical element to the playbook which has allowed Bortles to throw deep much more often than he did last year. Robinson is getting more chances at 50/50 jump balls and he’s winning them more often than not. His overall development has also attributed to his leap, as he’s become a terrific short-field route runner.
Assuming Drew Brees plays in this game, how does the Jacksonville defense try to attack him and the Saints offense?
That’s a great question, one the Jaguars’ coaching staff is wondering about as well. The Jaguars have been shredded this season by average quarterbacks, so good ones like Drew Brees have thrived. It’s mainly due to the complete lack of a pass rush, something they’ve tried to remedy by sending extra rushers on passing downs. It hasn’t worked for the most part and I wouldn’t be shocked if Brees has a monster statistical performance.
The Jaguars are turning in their 5th straight losing season this year, and haven’t made the playoffs since 2007. What is it going to take for this team to turn things around? Is Gus Bradley on the hot seat?
A lot of fans want Gus Bradley out, but it’s almost a certainty that he will return for his 4th season. The Jaguars clearly have more talent than they’ve had in almost a decade, but they are still extremely young and consistently make silly mistakes that cost them games. Whether or not that reflects on the coaching staff is another question, but the expectation for this team in 2016 is playoffs or bust.
Major questions around Drew Brees playing, and the Saints defense has been pretty friendly to opposing quarterbacks this season. How does this game play out, and do the Jags walk away winners?
I think this is going to be a shootout (shocker) and I expect it to be fairly close in the end. Ultimately, I don’t trust the Jacksonville defense to contain a good quarterback and Brees will put up enough points to get a home win.