The Jacksonville Jaguars will be fielding quite a different team in Week 12 than they did in Week 1. Eight of their 22 starters from the season-opening upset against the Indianapolis Colts are injured or suspended, while the Jaguars are set to start their third different quarterback this year in Mike Glennon.
With all of this in mind, it could be hard to envision the Jaguars putting up much of a fight against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. Despite this, we give our five predictions for Jaguars-Browns and give a few reasons for the Jaguars to have some optimism.
James Robinson touches the ball 30 times
Predicting James Robinson to get fed the ball on Sunday and record 30 touches may seem like a cop-out to a degree, but it needs to be considered that the star rookie running back has never seen a game where he has gotten the ball that much. For comparison, Robinson's previous career-highs in touches are as follows: 26, 25, 25, and 21. Those are the only four games Robinson has seen over 20 touches in a game, and the undrafted rookie is averaging 20.3 touches per game. 30 touches would be a career-high for him, so it is still a bold estimate.
Why do we think Robinson gets the ball more on Sunday than he has at any other point this year? Simply put, the Jaguars have nobody else to give the ball to. DJ Chark has been ruled out and the Jaguars are on their third-string quarterback. Laviska Shenault and Keelan Cole will be available to play, but add in an injury to Chris Conley and the Jaguars' options on offense are limited. Robinson's primary backup, Dare Ogunbowale, is also questionable, leading us to believe Robinson gets fed at an incredible rate on Sunday.
Mike Glennon attempts 5 passes over 20 yards but still records below 160 yards
Mike Glennon was at his existential best when he spoke to the media on Wednesday. The veteran quarterback knows this could very well be his final chance as an NFL starter, with the eighth-year quarterback remarking that he is ready to "let it rip" considering his own circumstances and the circumstances surrounding the 1-9 Jaguars. Because of this, and because of Jacksonville's desperation to find a win, we think the Jaguars let him do exactly that and ask him to throw it deep five times.
With that said, we don't expect those deep shots to connect. The Jaguars' two best deep-threats at receiver are out with DJ Chark and Chris Conley injured. Keelan Cole can win deep, but Laviska Shenault has never once been used by the Jaguars as a vertical receiver in his rookie year. Plus it needs to be considered the Jaguars are without arguably their best pass-blocker in Andrew Norwell, who is out with an arm injury. We think Glennon stands by his word and chucks it downfield, we just don't think the situation will permit much success.
Jaguars defense -- again -- comes away with zero sacks
There aren't many teams that are worse at getting to the quarterback this year than the Jaguars and there is no reason to expect this to change on Sunday. In fact, Sunday may be the most difficult game yet for the Jaguars in terms of hopes to get the quarterback down. One big factor is the absence of Josh Allen, who was placed on IR this week with a knee injury. Allen hasn't played at the level he did in 2019 but he was just starting to look healthy and disruptive when he went down with his injury last week.
Allen is far from the only factor, however. All five of the Browns' starting offensive linemen rank top-10 at their position in ESPN's pass block win rates. The Browns as a whole are second in ESPN's pass block win rate as a team. Add in the fact that the Browns are 31st in pass attempts per game, and there is little reason to believe the Jaguars will have much success at sacking Baker Mayfield on Sunday.
Luq Barcoo and Josiah Scott combine for three pass deflections and one interception
While we don't expect the Browns to air it out on Sunday, we do think rookie cornerbacks Luq Barcoo and Josiah Scott will make some plays. Each player has been ignored this season, with the two rookies combining for just 24 snaps this year. The duo has been inactive on most game days but they will have to step up and play on Sunday due to three of Jacksonville's top cornerbacks being on IR and one being ruled out of Sunday's game.
Despite their inexperience, we believe Barcoo and Scott are able to get their hands on some footballs on Sunday. Each was frequently around the ball in training camp and both had terrific ball production in college. Include the fact that Baker Mayfield has thrown seven interceptions this season and is the third-lowest ranked quarterback in Pro Football Reference's bad throw % metric, and we think Scott and Barcoo combine for three pass breakups and one interception.
Jaguars lose by 25+ points, setting a franchise record for consecutive losses in a single-season
The Jaguars are just too damaged heading into Week 12. If they were closer to full strength, perhaps they would be able to put up a fierce fight vs. a young Browns team that is facing its own injury issues. But with Glennon throwing to mostly backup receivers and the defense set to feature almost all new faces in the secondary, we think the Browns win by at least 25 points. As a result, the Jaguars will lose their 10th game in a row, the first time in franchise history the team will have lost 10 games in a row in a single season.