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Jaguars vs Saints: Week 2 NFL preseason preview

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The Jacksonville Jaguars and New Orleans Saints both had reasons to be discouraged to kick off the preseason, so they’re each looking to get back on track in Week 2’s meeting. Read on for our preview of this exciting Monday Night Football showdown, featuring key matchups and a predicted winner.

See where the Jags and Saints rank in our latest NFL power rankings

Jaguars vs Saints: What you need to know

Jameis Winston vs Taysom Hill

Jaguars vs Saints: Week 2 NFL preseason preview
Aug 14, 2021; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston (2) throws before the game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Saints head coach Sean Payton has been enamored of Taysom Hill for a while, deploying him at a multitude of positions. When Hill had to take the reins for an injured Drew Brees at quarterback last season, he went 3-1 in four starts, acquitting himself rather well.

But there’s little doubt Jameis Winston has the higher ceiling as a pure pocket passer. It’s just that the last time he started full-time was 2019 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and he threw 30 interceptions. Yikes. Speaking of turnovers, the Saints coughed the ball up six times in Week 1 of the preseason. Not a great start to the post-Brees era.

  • Odds in Jameis’ Favor: DraftKings’ latest player prop bets list Winston as the -185 favorite to start the regular season under center. Succeeding the now-retired Brees is no easy task. Funny, too: once Winston left the Bucs, they picked up Tom Brady and proceeded to win a Super Bowl. That’s got to hurt.
  • Taysom’s Time: Maybe Payton decides to hand the reins first to Winston. Then again, Hill didn’t really lose any ground in the exhibition opener, he has multiple other roles in the offense, and boasts a dual threat skill set Winston simply doesn’t have. No matter when he goes in Monday, it’s feels like Hill is playing with house money a little bit.

Advantage: Taysom Hill

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Urban Meyer vs Sean Payton

May 27, 2021; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer stands midfield during OTA at the Dream Finders Homes Practice Complex. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Even with the best intentions, new Jaguars coach Urban Meyer couldn’t keep Tim Tebow on the roster even past initial cuts to trim his team down to 85 players. Tebow’s failed comeback at tight end is the latest misstep from Meyer in his first season at the helm in Jacksonville, along with a dubious hiring of a strength coach, who abruptly resigned.

Sean Payton led the Saints to a 13-3 record and an NFC Championship Game appearance during his first year at the helm in New Orleans, so it’s not like instant, raging success is without precedent. Alas, Payton is more the exception than the norm, and he did have Brees coming into his own at the perfect time.

  • Submerged Urban: Maybe Meyer is just too close to everything to realize how silly it is to not name No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence the starting quarterback over Gardner Minshew. While he wisely didn’t play his starters too much last week, Meyer needs to recognize the value of getting Lawrence reps with the starters.
  • Payton Aims to Persevere: Brees’ retirement creates a whole host of new challenges for the Saints boss. New Orleans had serious salary cap difficulties this offseason, and has an unsteady QB situation. Nevertheless, Payton always somehow seems to have the Saints relevant, even as Brees’ skills declined in recent years. He’ll make sure New Orleans is sharp in what should be a “dress rehearsal” game of sorts.

Advantage: New Orleans Saints

How does New Orleans’ D rate among the league’s best? Find out in our NFL defense rankings

Jaguars secondary vs Saints receiving corps

Jaguars vs Saints: What you need to know
Jan 3, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Marquez Callaway (12) after the game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

If Jacksonville is going to have any chance at contending in the AFC South, it’ll largely boil down to how well its youthful defensive backfield can step up. Second-year cornerback C.J. Henderson in particular needs to rise to the occasion.

While a trip to New Orleans wouldn’t traditionally be a confidence builder, Brees is no longer walking through that door. At least for now, neither is the Saints’ go-to wide receiver Michael Thomas. Thus, the Jags have a great chance to show out and earn some playing time, but the home team needs some wideout to emerge.

  • Rallying the Rookies: Former Georgia corner Tyson Campbell and Syracuse safety Andre Cisco figure to see a lot of action for Jacksonville. Campbell is a sure tackler whose ball skills need work. Cisco is coming off a major injury, but hasn’t lost any of the playmaking that helped him to 12 interceptions in his first two college seasons.
  • Calling on Callaway: After going undrafted last year, Marquez Callaway is turning heads at Saints camp. He still managed 21 receptions in 2020, and could be in for a much larger role as an NFL sophomore.

Advantage: Jacksonville Jaguars

The bottom line: The Jaguars got crushed by the Cleveland Browns in Week 1, and once Lawrence exits the field in New Orleans, it’s going to be a struggle for Jacksonville to move the ball with its backup offensive line. Thus, the Saints are deserving favorites and should delight the home fans with a win.

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