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Why Lions Should Fear Jaguars RB Travis Etienne

Read more on why the Detroit Lions should fear running back Travis Etienne in their Week 13 matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
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The Lions will look to get back on the right track this Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, one of the NFL's up-and-coming teams.

The Jaguars are led by Super Bowl-winning head coach Doug Pederson and second-year quarterback Trevor Lawrence, and are coming off an impressive, come-from-behind victory against Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens.

While Lawrence grabs all the headlines in Jacksonville and appears to be coming into form this season, the Jaguars offensive player that Detroit should truly fear is running back Travis Etienne.

As the 2022 campaign has progressed, Etienne, Jacksonville's first-round pick in 2021 (No. 25 overall), has increasingly become the Jaguars' biggest offensive weapon.

The Clemson product missed his entire rookie season with a Lisfranc injury in his left foot, but has bounced back in a major way in his sophomore campaign as a pro. 

Through 11 games this season, he has already rushed for 728 yards and four touchdowns on 133 carries, good for an average of 5.5 yards a carry. The dual-threat back has also contributed another 202 yards as a receiver. 

Lions head coach Dan Campbell views Etienne as one of Jacksonville's "focal" points. 

"Well, the majority of the offense is going through him," Campbell told reporters Monday. "He’s getting a number of touches in the run and pass game. He’s very dynamic, and I think he is one of the keys to this offense, because he is very versatile. And so, I think he’s certainly a focal point for them. If he is playing, he’s somebody we have to be very aware of.”


Etienne did leave the Jaguars' Week 12 contest with the Ravens prematurely, due to suffering a sprained foot, according to Pederson. 

However, as Pederson told reporters Monday, "barring anything crazy," Etienne, Jacksonville's leading rusher in 2022, should be "ready to go" for the team's matchup with Detroit Sunday.

Regarding his decision not to put Etienne back on the field against Baltimore, after the second-year back suffered the aforementioned foot injury, Pederson expressed, "We just wanted to make sure he will be 100 percent moving forward. It was more precautionary in that game than anything else. It's more, too, sometimes peace of mind with players, coming off a repair like that. It just rests their mind a little bit that everything's going to be okay moving forward.

"Once he came back out, it was a matter of having conversations with him. You think about putting him back in, but at that time, we knew it was probably not the best thing for the player and his health. We just made the decision to keep him out of the game." 

So, it appears that Etienne will be a full-go for the Jaguars' Week 13 tilt at Ford Field

And, unfortunately for the Lions, the emerging back has been heating up in recent weeks. In fact, he recorded three straight 100-plus-yard games on the ground from Weeks 7-9, including a career-best 156-yard effort in Week 8 against the Denver Broncos. 

Etienne should be a handful for Detroit's defense to handle. And, in my opinion, he's the Jacksonville offensive weapon that the Lions most have to fear on Sunday.