FRISCO, Texas – Here are the two big keys to this matchup, which I believe will determine a winner for this Week 6 game against Jacksonville
Dallas Cowboys Win If:
It was clear from listening to Allen Hurns that he'd had enough of the criticism of the receivers and wanted those to know his displeasure. For Hurns and his teammates this could go two ways: it can bring the group together and we will see a game-changing play or two from them, or they can go out and play like nonfactors.
This game has a Philadelphia Eagles feel to me. The Eagles have always been a difficult team to run the ball on, due to their front seven. The Jaguars present the same types of challenges with their defensive line and aggressive linebackers. I could see this as a very muddy game when it comes to running the ball for the Cowboys -- much like it was against the Texans last week and the Eagles in past seasons.
If the Cowboys are going to win, they're going to have to manufacture ways to have success in the air. I don't see them living solely by the run and they're going to need to be able to throw the ball. Those opportunities are going to be at a premium and none can be wasted. Sloppy routes and dropped passes will get them beat.
They have to take advantage of the Jaguars' aggressiveness and use it against them. Play action along with boots and waggles to get the defense going one way, then attack the other should be in the game plan. Quick passes are a must.
If Hurns wants to stop the blame game, he and his crew are going to need to step up and make some plays in the passing game, because just banging their head into the wall will not be enough.
Jacksonville Jaguars Win If:
Where the Jaguars specifically have had their issues is offensively and especially at quarterback. Blake Bortles is the master of playing poorly during the majority of the game, and then when it turns into garbage time, making all the throws.
Last week against the Chiefs, he appeared to play rattled. I don't believe it was the rainy conditions that bothered him, but the Chiefs' pressure forced him into some poorly thrown passes. Bortles ended up with four interceptions and he was sacked five times on the day against a Kansas City defense that was statistically near the bottom of the league in several defensive categories. In studying the game, Bortles played as if he was a rookie that had never taken a snap before. He turned the ball over at all levels of the field and the Chiefs fed off that.
What has been surprising about the Jaguars offensively is how much they've asked Bortles to pass already this season. Bortles has put the ball up an average of 42 times per game, which is remarkable considering they have the type of personnel for their running game. The way for the Jaguars to win this game, I believe, is for Nathaniel Hackett to take the ball out of Bortles' hands and put it on the back of T.J. Yeldon and their running game.
This Cowboys defense is capable of putting pressure on Bortles and their offensive line thus forcing mistakes. Using Yeldon will keep the Cowboys off balance but more importantly prevent Blake Bortles for losing the game with turnovers.