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Jaguars vs Broncos: Week 2 NFL preview

The Jacksonville Jaguars’ opener under Urban Meyer couldn’t have been much worse, and now rookie No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence and Co. face the Denver Broncos’ elite defense in Week 2.

Lawrence threw three interceptions in his NFL debut, a 37-21 loss to the lowly Houston Texans. Can he cut down on the mistakes and keep the Jags within striking distance? Read our full Jaguars vs Broncos preview to find out.

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Urban Meyer vs Vic Fangio

Jaguars vs Broncos: Week 2 NFL preview
Aug 14, 2021; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer watches warmups from the tunnel before the game against the Browns at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

Something about Meyer in an NFL locker room feels like amateur hour. There are already rumors abound that he’s losing the coaching staff and players with some of his antics, and his temper. Words like “unhinged” are being thrown around. Losing to the Texans as a road favorite is yet another bad sign.

Heading into the 2021 season, it seemed like if any coach in the NFL was going to be fired next, it’d be Vic Fangio. then again, he hasn’t really had a great quarterback situation since his arrival, and he’s a defensive-minded coach. At least on that side of the ball during his tenure, Denver has looked exceptional.

  • Meyer Needs to Mellow: Even in the preseason, losing was hitting Meyer like a ton of bricks. If he’s really going to pull off a successful rebuild in Jacksonville, it’ll require patience as he adjusts to the myriad differences between the college and pro games. Otherwise, he’s going to alienate everyone in the organization before his first season is up.
  • Feeling Out Fangio: As big as this year is for the Broncos coach, as mentioned before, his defense continues to impress, and he tactfully navigated a tricky QB competition in training camp. Things might be really looking up in the Mile High City under Fangio’s watch.

Advantage: Denver Broncos

Trevor Lawrence vs Teddy Bridgewater

Jaguars vs Broncos: Week 2 NFL preview
Sep 12, 2021; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) throws the ball against the New York Giants during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The circumstances surrounding the two QBs in this game couldn’t be much different, could they? Lawrence has a long runway as the Jags’ hopeful franchise savior, whereas Broncos signal-caller Teddy Bridgewater is probably playing for his career as a starter.

Bridgewater is the classic game manager who won’t force the issue or make critical mistakes. It’s almost a necessity for Lawrence to take risks and stay in attack mode for Jacksonville to have any chance, because the Jaguars’ defense isn’t going to keep them in many, if any, games.

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  • Trusting in Trevor: Despite all the mistakes he made against the Texans, Lawrence seems like the type of player who can learn quickly from blunders, put it behind him and continue firing. His ability to stretch the field and pick up chunk plays as a runner should at least give Jacksonville some chance.
  • Touchdown Teddy: Against a strong New York Giants defense, Bridgewater tossed two TDs and completed 77.8% of his throws. That accuracy should serve him well against a Jags secondary that will likely rank among the worst in the NFL by year’s end. Lawrence has superior talent, but Bridgewater is in much better position to succeed.

Advantage: Denver Broncos

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Jaguars’ offensive tackles vs Broncos pass rush

Jaguars vs Broncos: Week 2 NFL preview
Aug 28, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller (58) before the start a preseason game against the Los Angeles Rams at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Jacksonville right tackle Jawaan Taylor and Lawrence’s blindside protector, Cam Robinson, ranked 36th and 44th respectively out of 65 qualifying players in Pro Football Focus’ grades in pass protection for Week 1.

That doesn’t sound terrible, but it’s borderline terrifying for the Jags, considering Houston has exactly zero pass-rushers who will keep offensive coordinators up at night scheming against. The Broncos have Von Miller, and could get Bradley Chubb back after he was inactive for the season opener with an ankle injury.

  • Maybe Not a Franchise Tackle: With the most cap space in the NFL, maybe Jacksonville could’ve done better to upgrade the key position that Robinson plays. Instead, the Jaguars franchise tagged him, hoping he’d develop into an above-average starter. So far, not so good.
  • Miller Time Returns: Instead of being rusty, or failing to create a spark with Chubb out, Miller came back after missing all of 2020 refreshed for Denver’s matchup with the Giants, recording three tackles for loss, three QB hits and two sacks. Even if Chubb can’t go, Miller is going to single-handedly wreck Jacksonville when he screams in off the edge.

Advantage: Denver Broncos

The bottom line: There was a big contrast between these teams in Week 1, and that should be on full display. Home-field advantage and all the crowd noise in the world won’t stop the inevitable Broncos blowout from happening. It’d be a shock if the Jags even kept this a one-score game in garbage time.

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