The Saints travel to Jacksonville to take on the Jaguars in a week 6 match-up in their second game against an AFC South opponent. The Saints (4-1), and the Jaguars (2-3), are both being led by their teams backup quarterback to different degrees of success, and both very well could be playing their way to a starting job next season. The Saints have been undefeated with Bridgewater as the starter, and every week his play continues to improve as he gains more confidence in running the offense. In the first game of the season Jaguars QB Nick Foles went down, and it appeared their season went with him, but in his absence 6th round rookie draft pick Gardner Minshew has stepped up, and brought some life back to the team.
The Jaguars style of play has always been to smother with great defense, and control the game clock with a ground and pound offensive approach. But, with the outstanding play of QB Minshew, and two LSU standouts RB Leonard Fournette, and WR DJ Chark on offense the team has seen a change in their identity with their offense being in the top 6 of the league. On the other side of the ball the defensive unit has seen regression this year, as their all pro CB Jalen Ramsey has missed most of the season with a “back,” injury. The defense is obviously not the same without him, and they’ve fallen to the bottom of the league giving up the 9th most yards per game. After a heart to heart talk with the team owner Ramsey did return this week to practice, and is listed as questionable for the game Sunday.
When Drew Brees runs the offense for the Saints it’s always a sure bet the team will be in the top 5 of the league in all offensive categories, but after Teddy Bridgewater replaced an injured Brees, it was not likely he was going to be able to put up the numbers we have become accustomed to seeing Brees put up. But, coach Sean Payton, has shown that he can still win games without always putting up gaudy numbers, as he adjusted the offense to maximize Bridgewater’s strengths. Not just the offense, but the entire team has had to step up their play if they were going to win. The defense led by all world DE Cameron Jordan, has shown they were up for the challenge. The defense continues to improve each week, and really look like they are starting to gel together. The unit has shut down 2 of the top receivers in the league the past 2 games, and have one of the best pass rushing attacks in the league.
This game has the potential to see all kinds of different things and go in all kinds of different directions. It could easily turn into a shootout, a foot race, or a defensive battle, no one truly knows, but the crystal ball. So, once again it has come that time of the week we take a look into the crystal ball and see what predictions lay ahead.
Minshew mania quiets down.
Minshew mania is alive and quite well, the team is even giving out 35,000 mustaches to the fans to sport during the game. Garner Minshew’s play has put him in talks for the Rookie of the Year award, with his 9 touchdowns and no interceptions on the season. Minshew, has been playing well over his head, and this week will be his first week he looks like a rookie, as the Saints defense proves to be to much for him. The mustache is not going to be enough this week to save him from Cameron Jordan. 175 yards ( most of those coming in garbage time), 0 TDs, and he will thrown not only his 1st interception of the season, but his 2nd interception as well.
Saints defense outplays the Jaguars defense.
Even if Jalen Ramsey suits up for the Jags, I still expect the Saints defense to overwhelm the Jags offense. The Saints will shut down Fournette, and force Minshew to beat them. Minshew, has not really spread the ball around that much outside of throwing to his favorite receiver DJ Chark, and if trends are a thing Marshon Lattimore will do his Houdini impression again making Chark disappear for the game.
Jared Cook has a big day.
Last week we finally started seeing Cook getting worked into the offense, and with Michael Thomas single handily beating the Bucs last week by himself the Jags will probably throw everything they have at stopping him. The offense needs other play-makers to step up, and with Thomas geting all the attention Cook should be open most of the time. Cook will finish the day with 6 receptions, 73 yards, and 1 TD.
Wil Lutz will kick the game winner.
This game will most likely not be a high scoring game, with the score being somewhere in the low 20’s with every yard and point fought hard for. Teddy will manage the game perfectly, and put the team in place to win with a chip shot from Wil “Clutch” Lutz. The Saints will improve to 5-1 and head to Chicago to complete a 2 game road trip. Saints 25 Jaguars 24 WHODAT!!!