- Ramsey, despite reportedly requesting a trade from the Jaguars this week, is expected to play on Thursday night against the Titans, likely matching up against Corey Davis. Does Davis have a chance at any sort of production?
We’re heading into Week 3 of the NFL season, and Thursday Night Football brings us a AFC South clash between the Jaguars and the Titans. Here are three quick thoughts on what to watch.
1. As outsiders, we don’t know what it’s really like to maintain an everyday working relationship with Jaguars’ Jalen Ramsey, who has reportedly requested a trade. But here’s a safe guess: it’s probably a little more taxing than maintaining a relationship with, say, A.J. Bouye. What we do know is that on film, Ramsey is clearly the best pure cover corner in football.
The Jaguars’ Cover 3 zone scheme doesn’t always allow him to shadow No. 1 receivers in the truest sense. (The Texans, for example, aligned DeAndre Hopkins in the slot at times last week to get him away from Ramsey, who dominated that individual matchup.) But this isn’t to say Ramsey’s skills are wasted in Jacksonville. For one, he’s also probably football’s best Cover 3 zone corner, especially against vertical routes (including seam routes). Also, the Jaguars’ Cover 3 is adopting more match-coverage principles, like many teams’ Cover 3 these days—and the Jags D has learned to anticipate so many of the popular Cover 3-beating offensive designs.
If Jacksonville can get two first-rounders in a trade for Ramsey, they should do it, especially since those players would cost worlds less than what Ramsey soon will. But just one first-round pick and a mid-rounder for Ramsey? That’s not enough, unless the Jags know for certain that they simply cannot continue to work with the outspoken corner on a personal level. In this game Thursday night, expect Ramsey to shadow Titans WR Corey Davis, and expect Davis to have fewer than three catches in that matchup.
2. The Titans are committed to being a run-first offense built off multi-tight end designs. That will serve them well Thursday unless Jacksonville’s front seven, namely the talented defensive line, bogs down. The Jaguars’ defense was great at Houston but mostly in coverage. Up front, they were uncharacteristically mediocre against the type of lead-blocking zone runs that they’ll see from Tennessee.
3. New Jaguars QB Gardner Minshew last week did not rediscover the pocket poise that he showed against Kansas City until the fourth quarter. He’ll need it Thursday against a Titans defense that does more with coverage disguises (especially in Cover 2 concepts) than any in the league.
Bold Prediction: After trying unsuccessfully to move the ball last week via simplified aerial designs, Jacksonville will avoid Tennessee’s stalwart coverages by staying on the ground for most of their scripted plays. The results of those plays will be a harbinger for the result of the game.
Score Prediction: Titans 20, Jaguars 9
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