After an ugly win last Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys (10-3) move their attention to their next opponent, the Jacksonville Jaguars (5-8). The Jaguars, in particular their quarterback, have played much better over their last five games and will be a challenging opponent for the Cowboys.
Today we take a look at the Jaguars’ offense and give you three things to know about the unit before the two teams square off.
1) A red-hot signal-caller
Trevor Lawrence is currently playing the best football of his young career. After a tough rookie season, the 23-year-old signal-caller has bounced back nicely in year two.
In Lawrence’s last five games, the former number-one pick has played like one of the better quarterbacks in football. Lawrence has completed almost 72% of his passes during this five-game span and thrown 10 touchdowns without a single interception.
The 23-year-old has protected the football and been highly efficient, and it’s showing in his advanced metrics. Lawrence has the second-best CPOE (6.2), third-best EPA+CPOE (0.166), and fourth-best success rate (53.3%) among all quarterbacks over the last five weeks.
The biggest difference between the Lawrence we have seen in the second half versus the first is his ability to protect the football. During his NFL career, the Jaguars are a shocking 0-12 when Lawrence throws at least one interception in a game. When he throws none, they are 8-10.
Jacksonville has won three of their last five games, and Lawrence’s performance and ability to take care of the football is the biggest reason for their recent success.
2) An improved offensive line
The Jaguars’ offensive line has been one of the more underrated units in football this season. Jacksonville has given up just 23 sacks, the fifth-fewest in football, and has been the fourth-best pass-blocking line in football, according to Pro Football Focus.
A pair of former second-round picks, sixth-year tackle Cam Robinson and fourth-year tackle Jawaan Taylor, have both had a very solid season. Every starter on Jacksonville’s offensive line has a pass-rush efficiency grade of at least 97.2, via PFF.
Interestingly enough, the Jaguars’ offensive line has played probably its worst football over Jacksonville’s last four games. They’ve allowed Trevor Lawrence to be sacked 11 times, including five against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Jags’ line bounced back nicely last week in their win over the Tennessee Titans, not allowing a single sack and giving Lawrence outstanding protection.
It will be interesting to see which version of the Jaguars’ offensive line comes out on Sunday against the Cowboys.
3) A number of solid offensive weapons
The Jaguars have done a nice job of surrounding Trevor Lawrence with talent on offense. This past offseason, they surprised the NFL world by signing wideout Christian Kirk to a huge deal, totaling $72M over four years.
While Kirk probably isn’t worth that much money in the grand scheme of things, the Jaguars have to feel pretty happy with his performance this season. The 26-year-old leads the team with 67 catches for 874 yards and seven touchdown receptions.
Jacksonville has also gotten some production out of former first-round pick Evan Engram. Engram, who spent the first five seasons of his career with the Giants, has caught 53 passes for 548 yards and scored four touchdowns. The tight end had benefited greatly from a change of scenery and is on pace to set career-highs in receiving yards, touchdowns, and first-down receptions.
After missing all of last season, second-year running back Travis Etienne has also been a valuable weapon for the Jags this year. The 23-year-old has run the ball 163 times for 814 yards, registering a very impressive 5.0 Y/A.