Week 6 JaguarMaven staff predictions: Jaguars vs. Saints
With the New Orleans Saints slated to travel to Jacksonville to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field on Sunday, the JaguarMaven staff has come together to bring you the predictions on the game's most important storylines of Sunday's game.
From Gardner Minshew, to Leonard Fournette to the Jaguars defense: how do we think thinks will play out?
1. Do we think Gardner Minshew has another solid game against the Saints on Sunday, or will he finally hit that rookie wall?
John Shipley: I think Minshew will once again have a strong performance on Sunday. He had one of his roughest games of the season in week 5 against the Carolina Panthers when he turned the ball over three times, but he also threw two touchdowns and over 370 yards. The Panthers are a much better defense than the Saints, so I think he has another good week.
Andrew DiCecco: I think Minshew is still a couple weeks away from hitting the rookie wall – and I anticipate another strong showing from the sixth-rounder. Assuming the running game gets established early, he’ll have an opportunity to pick on a vulnerable Saints secondary with D.J. Chark and Dede Westbrook.
Trevan Pixley: I think the Minshew magic is more than just "magic". I think he's actually a really talented player, his football smarts is out of this world. I think he has another solid performance - he's set the standard for his performances.
2. Who is the most important player for the Jaguars when it comes to the Saints game?
John Shipley: Gardner Minshew is the obvious answer since the quarterback is what makes everything else on the team go, but I am going to go a bit outside of the box on this one and say cornerback A.J. Bouye.
I will elaborate on my thoughts on Jalen Ramsey later, but I think there is a strong chance Bouye draws All-Pro wide receiver Michael Thomas for most of Sunday's game. If Bouye is not at the top of his game, the Jaguars defense could be shredded for the second week in a row.
Andrew DiCecco: I’d like to say the most important player is Leonard Fournette, due to the fact that his effectiveness would eat away at the clock, keep the dynamic Saints offense off the field, and provide a most balanced offensive attack against an opportunistic Saints defense.
That said, the most important player on Sunday has to be Calais Campbell. The 6-foot-8, 300-pound specimen is an outstanding run defender and anchor off the edge, and will need to knock Teddy Bridgewater off his spot early to make them one dimensional.
Trevan Pixley: The whole starting five on the offensive line. They need to have a bounce back week against a really solid front seven.
3. How do you think the Jaguars offensive line will fare against a productive and talented Saints defensive front?
John Shipley: The Saints have the kind of deep defensive line rotation that could give the Jaguars offensive line fits. The Saints do not have a dominant defense by any means, but Cam Jordan, Marcus Davenport and Sheldon Rankins is a terrifying trio for any offensive line.
Andrew DiCecco: I expect the Saints uber-athletic bookend tandem of Marcus Davenport and Cam Jordan to give offensive tackles Cam Robinson and Jawaan Taylor fits. Much like how Brian Burns had his way a week ago, the Jaguar tackles tend to struggle against athletic pass rushers that use their pad level to their advantage. They may have to call on Fournette to stay in and chip on occasion.
Trevan Pixley: I think they'll play how they usually play. There will be some flashes, but they'll be some struggles as well.
4. Gut guess: Does Jalen Ramsey play on Sunday and, if so, how well does he do?
John Shipley: Ramsey is in such a stalemate with the Jaguars that it is hard for me to see it end on Sunday, especially after ESPN's Josina Anderson said Ramsey is still "going to listen to his body." That tells me that Ramsey will get the final say on whether he plays, and I think the prideful corner will once again stand on the sidelines as an inactive participant.
Andrew DiCecco: I believe Ramsey will play on Sunday. My gut tells me there is a fire burning inside him, and he’ll play like he has something to prove. Expect Ramsey to bring his ‘A’ game against the virtually uncoverable Michael Thomas – which would be bad news for Saints fans. I like a motivated Ramsey in that matchup.
Trevan Pixley: Yes, Ramsey will suit up on Sunday. And in addition, he'll snag an interception of off Teddy Bridgewater (bold prediction of the week).
5. Final score prediction for Sunday, and why?
John Shipley: Alvin Kamara's game status is the most important factor for this prediction in my opinion, but I am going to go with the scenario that Kamara doesn't play after an ankle injury made him a non-participant in Friday's practice.
I think the Jaguars win 31-23 in another high scoring affair, much like their last two games. I think Gardner Minshew will continue to put points on the board, while the loss of Kamara will be a big boost to a strugglign Jaguars defense.
Andrew DiCecco: If this game were being played in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, this would likely go in the Saints favor. The crowd noise that radiates throughout the stadium rivals maybe two other teams across the league. However, this will be a home game for the Jaguars.
Coming off a tough loss against the Carolina Panthers – one in which a multitude of mental errors factored into the outcome – expect the Jaguars to come out aggressive on offense in the early going to set the tone. The opportunities will be there to attack the New Orleans secondary vertically, and I believe Westbrook will have the breakout game we’ve been waiting for.
Jaguars: 27, Saints 24.
Trevan Pixley: Jags 24, Saints 21. Why? Because Minshew will put us in field goal range with seconds left in the game and Lambo will hit a 50-yarder right down the middle, furthering his case of being the best kicker in the league.