Yes, it is early in the NFL season but the Jaguars are inching closer to the point of no return. The difference between 1-4 and 2-3 from a confidence standpoint is huge, and with a rookie quarterback in Blaine Gabbert, developing confidence is a must for this team if the season is to be salvaged.
The Bengals are no slouch but they present a winnable game for the Jaguars. Cincinnati’s defense has been surprisingly good, leading in the NFL in yards allowed, but the offense has been flat, averaging 20 points per game.
The Jaguars would love that total, but it still ranks amongst the bottom half of the league.
Cincinnati has a rookie QB also, which has attributed to the slow start on offense. Andy Dalton has completed 58 percent of his passes for 868 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions, which is respectable for a rookie.
The Bengals has to be salivating at the chance to get to Gabbert and rattle the rookie quarterback, but the Jaguars have the same tactical advantage on Dalton.
So the Jaguars are in a position to where they could capitalize on poor quarterback play and pull off a win. It would mean a little bit of self-assurance in a locker room that seems lacking in that department right now. If that happens, who knows, the Jaguars could catch lightning in a bottle and pull off enough wins to make some noise in a mediocre AF South division.
If the Jaguars can't find a way to get the home victory, Jacksonville will be looking at a long road to get to .500. The road to getting a top-five draft pick would get a little bit shorter though.
Prediction: This was a game I predicted the Jaguars to win in the beginning of the season. This conceivably is a winnable game for Jacksonville, but the team’s lack of offense so far this year makes it difficult to think that they’ll be able to score with any type of consistency against Cincinnati. Bengals 20, Jaguars 17.