Pro Football Focus Reveals 4 Relevant Stats for Jaguars vs. Buccaneers

John Shipley

The Jacksonville Jaguars (4-7) will try to reverse the fortunes of a season gone off of the rails when they play a Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7) squad trying to accomplish the same thing at TIAA Bank Field this Sunday. But before the two teams clash, Pro Football Focus has released some statistics to put a few matchups in an interesting context. 

With the Buccaneers entering Sunday's game with the second-ranked run defense in the NFL (78.7 yards allowed per game), Jacksonville will need running back Leonard Fournette, the focal point of its offense, and its offensive line to perform at a high level to have a chance to produce. 

Fournette has already had a productive 2019 as he currently ranks third in the NFL in yards from scrimmage with 1,342 yards (951 rushing and 391 receiving and three touchdowns, giving him an average of 122 yards from scrimmage per game. He will need to deliver similar results against an elite run defending unit to give Jacksonville a chance on Sunday, but Pro Football Focus statistics give optimism that this may happen.

"In his short career, Leonard Fournette has had three or more third-down carries in a game just five times — one being on Sunday against the Titans," PFF said. "He made the most of his opportunities in Week 12, rushing for two first downs and a touchdown on his three attempts. And with a career-high 11 targets, too, Fournette is becoming an all-around back in the Jaguars’ offense."

While Jacksonville's offense and Fournette are on the field and not looking to run the ball downhill, it is clear where their focus should be: blocking Shaquil Barrett. The sixth-year veteran has tormented offense's all season, racking up 12.5 sacks (tied for second in NFL) and 15 tackles for loss (tied for third in the NFL) along the way. 

But it is not only the plays where he has brought down the ball carrier that Barrett has made an impact on. According to Pro Football Focus, the veteran pass rusher has been one of the top players in terms of generating any pressure all season, meaning offensive tackles Cam Robinson and Jawaan Taylor will have to be near-flawless Sunday if they hope to keep quarterback Nick Foles safe from Barrett.

"Shaquil Barrett racked up double-digit pressures in Week 12 for the second time this season — and the second time in his career," PFF said. "Barrett’s signing this offseason has paid dividends for the Buccaneers, with his 29.3% win rate ranking second among qualifying edge defenders this past week. He now has 56 pressures on the season, slotting in at No. 6 among edge defenders."

When the Jaguars' offense is off of the field and the defense has their number called, two of the most pivotal players to the game's final result will be Jaguars defensive lineman Calais Campbell and wide receiver Chris Godwin. 

The Buccaneers will likely turn to their potent passing game, spearheaded by Godwin and Mike Evans, to beat the Jaguars, so Jacksonville will need Campbell to provide solid disruption, as well as have the entire secondary keep tabs on Godwin.

Godwin lines up all over the field for Tampa and will likely draw both A.J. Bouye and D.J. Hayden in coverage at times. But just how often should people expect to see Godwin vs. Hayden in the slot as opposed to Godwin vs. Bouye or Tre Herndon on the perimeter. Pro Football Focus revealed that while Godwin may not have been in the slot for extended periods of time in past games, he has still done major damage from that spot on the field.

"Just under 50% of Chris Godwin’s snaps in Week 12 were from the slot, but that didn’t stop the third-year wideout from putting up massive numbers when lined up there," PFF said. "Of Godwin’s 184 receiving yards on the day, 128 of them came from the slot on just four receptions. And the Penn State product added two touchdowns from inside for good measure."

Campbell will be one of Jacksonville's most important pieces when it comes to the tough task of slowing down the Buccaneers' offense. Campbell has had a solid 2019 thus far with 5.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss, and he has still been a frequent disruptor vs. both the run and pass. 

Despite serviceable play and production in 2019, Campbell will have one area he needs to make sure to fix if he wants to give Jacksonville's defense a boost on Sunday, according to Pro Football Focus.

"With two more missed tackles in Week 12, Calais Campbell now leads all interior defenders, whiffing on 10 total this season," PFF said. "He boasts an impressive 90.5 overall grade, but his 35.4 tackling mark ranks just 103rd among 127 qualifying interior defenders."

From Fournette, to Barrett, to Godwin, to Campbell, Sunday's game will have several players on each sideline who will play a key role. For Jacksonville to snap its losing streak, it will need to devote a lot of attention toward such players.

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