The Miami Dolphins (0-2) will play the Jaguars (1-1) on Thursday night at 8 p.m. in Jacksonville and can be watched on NFL Network. The game features two teams looking to bounce back after losses in their respective divisions.
The Jaguars were beaten by former Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill and the Tennessee Titans (2-0) in a shootout during Week 2, while the Dolphins lost in a close game to the Buffalo Bills (2-0).
The main issue the Dolphins have faced during their first two games has been the defensive. This is surprising considering the number of acquisitions the team made during the offseason. In the first game against the New England Patriots (1-1) it was the rush defense that hurt the team the most. Against the Bills, the team let QB Josh Allen throw wherever he wanted, and he abused first-round pick rookie corner Noah Igbinognhie.
Defensively the team must be better and stop making mental mistakes. Whether it’s missing tackles or poor positioning, the team needs to do better defensively. They should focus on the defensive line and cornerbacks to improve in Week 3.
Byron Jones ruled out for Dolphins vs Jags
— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) September 23, 2020
Week 2 saw the offense put up better numbers and actually complete drives. The Bills were missing starting linebackers Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmunds, and if the offense hadn’t stepped up, it would’ve been concerning.
The game against the Bills also saw some true positives for the Fins’ offensive line and the ability to make plays. If you subtract Preston Williams’ dropped touchdown grab, there were improvements in the passing game. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick had a good game against his former team and was able to make plays when necessary.
It was back to good from Fitzpatrick, which hopefully will not trigger the Fitztragic clause and a poor game against the Jaguars.
The other positive for the offense was the ability to run the football with second-year running back Myles Gaskin getting the bulk of the carries. The only way for the team to run the football is for the offensive line to continue to play well. Rejoice Fins’ fans, the team looks to have solved a decade-old problem.
The Jaguars are probably the most surprising team in the NFL right now along with the 2-0 Las Vegas Raiders. They released starting running back and former first-round pick Leonard Fournette before the start of the season. He eventually signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Jaguars were also dumping players from their defense, which was top-tier just a few seasons ago.
All of this to say that the team has a true leader in quarterback Gardner Minshew, who was a seventh-round pick in 2019. Minshew impressed during the 2019 season but fans thought the team would tank for Clemson Tigers QB Trevor Lawrence. It has only been two games, but to think the team isn’t in the right hands with Minshew at the helm (for now) is crazy.
The Jaguars also surprised with a running game led by 2020 undrafted rookie free-agent James Robinson. This proves the team made the right decisions in releasing Fournette and sticking with the undrafted talent.
Rookie @Robinson_jamess aka ‘Spinna’ gets his first NFL TD
: CBS | #DUUUVAL pic.twitter.com/h94rtKOHoB
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) September 20, 2020
Defensively the Jaguars got cooked by Tannehill en route to a stat line that led off with four touchdowns and 239 yards passing on just 24 attempts. One reason: the Jags’ defense was expecting a heavy dose of Derrick Henry running the football. Henry still carried the ball 25 times and got 84 yards, but it wasn’t the same team they were expecting to play.
Knowing this and the eventual game-prep the team will do on the Fins means that the weak point to attack is the Jaguars’ secondary. Rookie first-round corner C.J Henderson, a University of Florida alum, has played really good in his first two NFL starts. However, he can’t be the one controlling the game. The team from Duval needs defensive end Josh Allen and linebackers Myles Jack and Joe Shoebert to show up. Former UM linebacker Shaquille Quarterman is also featured on the Jags defense.
Prediction: Dolphins 27-24 Jaguars | Dolphins get their first win in the battle of Florida
It wouldn’t surprise me if this game ends up being a shootout. Both defenses have had their struggles. The Dolphins have started this season better than they did in 2019, and the positives are there. As long as the team can get the run game going, expect a win and a fun Thursday night matchup.