Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio must be having trouble sleeping lately. With his rear end firmly planted into the coaching hot seat and with a struggling offense that is among the worst in the league, he and the Jaguars will be facing the league's top 3 defenses for the next three games. In short, JDR is going to need nothing short of a miracle in order to keep his job after this year.
Opponent #1: The Cincinnati Bengals
It seems like the ducks are all lined up in a row in this defensive trifecta. The first opponent, ironically, is ranked first in the league in total defense. What makes matters worse (or perhaps better) is that their confidence is sky high after defeating a heavily favored Bills team last week. Part of what makes their defense so effective is the amount of pressure that they generate with their defensive linemen. Also factoring into their success is the revival of the career of former Jaguar Reggie Nelson. Anyone who watched him play in the 2009 season, would know that he was a disaster with bad angles, missed tackles, and blown coverages. So, with that said, I'll believe it when I see it and I hope that Koetter decides to test the waters and have Gabbert throw to Marcedes Lewis down the seams.
Opponent #2: The Pittsburgh Steelers
The second team of the defensive trifecta are the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are second in the league in total defense. This struggle with an old AFC Central rival will be made worse by the fact that the game will be in Pittsburgh, where memories of the Jaguars' last visit are probably still fresh. Everyone can name 3-4 players on the Steelers defense and everyone knows that they have a bunch of talented players, but unfortunately for them, the Steel Curtain is starting to turn into the Rusted Curtain. A good amount of their starters are over 30 and there's not much depth behind them. Fortunately for the Jaguars, Steelers have been fighting injuries on both sides of the ball, the most impactful of which is the eye injury to Steelers LB James Harrison. This in turn, makes the Steelers pass rush a lot less menacing.
Opponent #3: The Baltimore Ravens
The third and final team of the defensive trifecta are the Baltimore Ravens (JDR's previous team), who are ranked third in the league in total defense. While this game is at Everbank Field, it is going to be a nationally televised game on Monday Night. Like their chief rivals, the Steelers, they have a well-known cast of defensive talent, most notably Ed Reed, Haloti Ngata, and Ray Lewis. To have three perennial All-Pros on all three parts of a defense, poses quite a challenge. However, in "The Vault", crazier things have happened before. Maybe Maurice Jones-Drew can have a monster day against the Ravens defense.
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