NFL Thursday Night Football Preview – Week 15: Jacksonville Jaguars at Atlanta Falcons
Jacksonville Jaguars at Atlanta Falcons – 8:30 PM
Atlanta (8-5) needs to win this game to keep its current position as one of two NFC wild card teams. The Falcons trail the Saints in the NFC South by two games, but play at New Orleans on Dec. 26. Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan should be able to exploit the Jaguars secondary by throwing to receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White. Falcons running back Michael Turner, the NFL's third-leading rusher with 1,068 yards, is a considerable threat. He'll challenge a Jaguars' defense ranked fourth overall in the NFL in total yards allowed per game.
Jacksonville (4-9) is led by Maurice Jones-Drew, who is the NFL's leading rusher with 1,222 yards, despite the fact that teams key on him whenever he's in the game. The Falcons run defense gives up just 92.5 yards per game, fifth-lowest in the NFL, so it won't be an easy day for Jones-Drew. Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert has not found his go-to target, as no Jacksonville receiver has more than 400 yards or 40 catches. Atlanta will also look to confuse Gabbert with blitzes and force him into mistakes.