The Jacksonville Jaguars look to be poised to be a playoff team, but they hit a big bump in the road Sunday when they lost to the Indy Colts at the RCA Dome last week 28-25. Jacksonville does have a much easier opponent on the slate this week, as they get set to host the Carolina Panthers at home Sunday at 1pm. The Jags and Panthers have not met since 1996, and Sunday it appears that the Jags will the overall advantage over their foes from the North.
Jacksonville has been clicking for the most part on offense, as they have put up 24 points or more in each of their last six games. David Garrard has had complete control of the passing game, while Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew have been running the ball effectively. The Jags have the second-best rushing offense in the league, putting up 141 yards per game. Garrard has a passer rating of 104.7, and has thrown just one pick all year.
So what about the Panthers? Yes they are 5-7, but its been mostly with smoke and mirrors, as before Sunday vs the 49’ers they had scored 17 or fewer points in five straight. They will be hard pressed to do that again this week, as the Jags defense will not be in the giving mood after the letdown last week to Peyton Manning and the Colts. Look for Vinny Testaverde to be under loads of pressure by a solid Jags D that also got Marcus Stroud back this past week off a suspension.
Tough spot for the Panthers, who will be lucky with the Seahawks, Cowboys and Buccaneers left on their slate to win any more games this season. The Jags will enjoy an easy win Sunday at home, and with it will take another step towards the #5 spot in the AFC as the top wild card.