After six months of listening to everyone try and figure out what will happen this year, the NFL preseason has finally begun. One of the first games of the preseason was the New York Jets beating the up and coming Jacksonville Jaguars 17-13. Now with these two teams, they really are two polar opposites. Jets are a team that is built to win now with their veteran squad, while the Jaguars are team that has been rebuilding for the last few years but now looks like this could be their year.
The starters for the Jags looked really strong in the first two drives, putting up 10 points. Quarterback Blake Bortles threw six of seven for 107 yards and was putting the ball in perfect locations. Wide Receiver Allen Robinson looked like the offseason didn’t add any rust on him as he caught three passes for 80 yards, one going for 45 yards in a ridiculous catch. The chemistry between the two men looked great.
For the Jets, their starting Quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick, looked solid in his two drives, throwing three of four for 72 yards. He didn’t really show any true rust and looks like he’s ready to take the Jets to the next level. Meanwhile, the Jets third corner spot is open for competition as Corner Dee Milliner was getting messed up by Robinson and the Jags. Granted, there’s not that many corners who are able to lock up Robinson, it’s still not good to see Milliner struggle like this. Darrelle Revis and Buster Skrine have the one and two positions locked up but Milliner really needs to have a great preseason if he wants to play for this team.
Another positive for the Jags was their running game. Running backs TJ Yeldon and Chris Ivory both looked great when they were given carries as Yeldon rushed four times for 26 yards while Ivory got six carries for 26 yards and a touchdown. Dernard Robinson, the third string back also had a moderate day against the Jets, rushing seven times for 23 yards. It seems like Ivory will get more reps in the redzone while Yeldon would be used as an all around back but both should get a lot of carries.
For the Jets, there might be a quarterback battle for the second string spot as both Geno Smith and Bryce Petty each got a lot of reps and showed a lot. Smith threw eight of 14 for 79 yards and a touchdown to rookie receiver Charone Peake. Petty threw eight of 14 for 91 yards but no touchdown. For the moment, Smith should have a slight lead but that could change in an instant in the NFL.
A negative for them is their running game. Though we didn’t see Matt Forte today on the field, the Jets had a tough day running the ball, rushing for 56 yards on 20 carries, averaging 2.8 yards a carry. Bilal Powell, the second string running back, had only four carries for 13 yards but did get a touchdown on one of them. Though this is preseason and the running game should be better once the swiss army knife Forte is on the field, this is something to watch throughout the season.
Though the Jets won, it feels like the Jags might have a lot more riding for them than the Jets. This could just simply be the fact that it’s the preseason but perhaps this is the Jaguars year to shine. Jets will be home once again next Thursday when they play the Redskins, while the Jags will be home as well when they face the Buccaneers next Saturday.