The Detroit Lions (1-3) travel to Jacksonville to play the Jaguars (1-4) in a week six cross-conference matchup. Both of the struggling squads will hope to earn their second win of the year and help rejuvenate their season. The game will kick off Sunday at 1 p.m. in TIAA Bank Stadium.
The Jaguars, who have lost four straight games, have been in free-fall since the team’s week-one, 27-20 win over the Indianapolis Colts.
The Lions have faced similar pains with their sole win of the season coming on a Matt Prater game-winning field goal against Arizona in week three. The win broke an 11-game losing streak that dated back to last season.
The Jaguars last played the Lions in 2016 when Jacksonville traveled to Detroit for a 26-19 loss.
Jags Offensive Improvement Not Enough
Although the Jaguars are in the midst of another losing season, the team has seen success on the offensive side of the ball with the hire of offensive coordinator Jay Gruden.
Starting Quarterback Gardner Minshew is one of the Jaguars who has benefitted the most from Gruden calling the plays.
Through five games this season, Minshew has completed 70% of his passes for 1,439 yards throwing for 10 touchdowns and four interceptions. ESPN’s stats and info projects Minshew to throw for 4,605 yards with 32 touchdowns and 13 interceptions by the end of the season. In 14 games last season, Minshew threw for 3,271 yards with 21 touchdowns and 6 interceptions completing only 60% of his passes.
Additionally, in three of Minshew’s last four games, he has thrown for 300 yards or more. He completed that feat only twice over the course of last season.
Despite Minshew’s personal success this season, the team’s struggles have impacted the success of the offense. Gruden told the media this week that playing from behind has put an extra burden on his starting quarterback’s workload.
The Jags will also hope to see continued success from their rookie running back James Robinson. Robinson ranks 12th in the NFL in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns, according to ESPN.
Even with improvements in their offense and young quarterback, the defense continues to struggle.
Jacksonville’s defense has given up 417 yards-per-game and 29 points-per-game to opponents this season. The 417 yards given up ranks as the third-worst in the league this season.
The Lions have struggled in three seasons with Matt Patricia as head coach. Patricia has a total record of 10-25-1 with the lions. Patricia won six games in his first year and three last season.
After the teams 1-3 start to the season, Patricia and the Lions will look to take advantage of their week-five bye and a rebuilding Jacksonville team to earn a win.
Veteran quarterback Matt Stafford and the Lions have had success against the Jags in the past.
In his two previous starts against Jacksonville, Stafford has thrown for 563 yards completing almost 80% of his passes. Stafford has never thrown a touchdown or interception against the Jaguars. Stafford and the Lions won both of those matchups in 2012 and 2016.
Matthew Stafford's career stats vs. Jaguars: 46-for-66, 563 yards, 0 (!) TDs, 0 INTs@Lions play the Jags on Sunday.
— Freep Sports (@freepsports) October 15, 2020
The Jaguars listed five players as questionable for this Sunday’s matchup. Some of the players listed were stars WR DJ Chark and DE Josh Allen. The Lions have not released an injury report, but CB Desmond Trufant and TE Hunter Bryant did not participate in practice on Wednesday.
Jaguars list five players as questionable for Sunday vs. Lions: WR DJ Chark (ankle), DE Josh Allen (knee), TE Tyler Eifert (neck), NT Abry Jones (ankle/hamstring), LB Dakota Allen (foot). Head coach Doug Marrone on the possibility of Chark being able to… https://t.co/r9IVAPbYpB
— Michael DiRocco (@ESPNdirocco) October 16, 2020