4 causes for concern as Jags takes on Denver in Week 2

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Jacksonville’s season couldn’t have begun any worse. The team was thoroughly dominated by a Houston Texans squad that the Jaguars were favored to beat, and it seems that they’re once again heading toward one of the worst finishes in the league.

There’s still time to turn things around, and the play of quarterback Trevor Lawrence, while a bit erratic, showed some signs of stardom. It’s certainly not all bad news in Duval County, but the Jags have a tougher test than Houston this week for their home opener.

The 1-0 Denver Broncos come to town fresh off a 27-13 win against the New York Giants, and Jacksonville could easily be looking at an 0-2 start if it doesn’t play markedly better this time around. Here are some concerns about that game.

Denver has another mobile quarterback

Sep 12, 2021; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) avoids New York Giants safety Xavier McKinney (29) to throw a touchdown pass during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, the Jaguars got torched for 289 total yards through the air by quarterback Tyrod Taylor. While Taylor, a quarterback with good mobility, only totaled 40 yards on the ground, he was able to keep plays alive by scrambling as Jacksonville struggled to contain him. Denver quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who isn't as shifty as Taylor, has good enough mobility to make it a long day for Jacksonville. Though he looks to pass first, he could extend plays with his legs against Jacksonville's front seven. He was very efficient against the Giants, and it seems likely that he's in for another big game on Sunday.

The Broncos boast a dynamic rushing game

Melvin Gordon of Denver runs the ball in the fourth quarter as the Denver Broncos came to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ and beat the New York Giants 27-13 in the first game of the 2021 season on September 12, 2021.
The Denver Broncos Came To Metlife Stadium In East Rutherford Nj To Play The New York Giants In The First Game Of The 2021 Season On September 12 2021

Jacksonville's run defense was one of the stronger aspects of its performance last Sunday. Still, the Texans managed to brute force their way to 160 yards on 41 carries. This Broncos' offensive line is fairly comparable to Houston's, but Denver was much more successful in the run game in Week 1. Lead back Melvin Gordon III took 11 carries for 101 yards and a score last week, while rookie Javonte Williams took his 14 carries for 45 yards. The Jaguars' defense will have its hands full trying to contain this pair of talented backs.

Von Miller and Bradley Chubb are two of the best pass rushers in football

Sep 29, 2019; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller (58) pass rushes at Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor (75) in the fourth quarter at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Jacksonville's offensive line held up decently well last week, at least in pass protection, but it was also caught for several holding penalties. If the Jags were holding against the Texans' pass rusher, it's scary to imagine what they'll have to do to slow down Von Miller and Bradley Chubb. The Broncos have one of football's best edge-rushing duos, and Miller totaled two sacks in Week 1, while Chubb missed the first game but could return against the Jags. It will be very interesting to see how Lawrence handles the pressure he's likely to face, and if he's only sacked once like he was in Week 1, it would be a major win for the offensive line.

Lawrence will be passing against a dangerous secondary

Aug 28, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos cornerback Pat Surtain II (2) tackles Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Trishton Jackson (83) during the second quarter at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: C. Morgan Engel-USA TODAY Sports

Last season, Denver sat right in the middle of the NFL in terms of passing yards allowed. But this offseason, it took the secondary to the next level with a pair of big-time moves, signing free-agent cornerback Kyle Fuller from Chicago and drafting Alabama's Patrick Surtain II to play opposite him. Fuller had two passes defended in Week 1, and the Broncos only allowed 254 yards through the air from quarterback Daniel Jones. Lawrence tossed three picks in the season opener against a Houston defense that had just traded away starting corner Bradley Roby. If Lawrence makes similarly poor decisions this week, the Broncos will certainly make him pay for it.

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