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Jaguars expect to see motivated Jets team

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JACKSONVILLE — The Jacksonville Jaguars are going to New York Sunday to play the Jets.

What they don’t know is which Jets’ team they are playing. Is it the team that went 4-2 in its first six games and was competitive against New England in a 30-23 loss?

Or was it the Jets team that went to Oakland last Sunday, lost their quarterback early and were beaten, 34-20?

Their vaunted defense collapsed and end Muhammad Wilkerson even said some members of the defense were loafing. Head coach Todd Bowles virtually agreed with him.

“He wasn’t talking about all the players,” Bowles said. “There were certain plays where somebody wasn’t going full speed that we addressed. We’ve taken care of all that. It just wasn’t a good day.”

If the Jets are not loafing on defense, this is going to be a tough test for young quarterback Blake Bortles.

Bortles is going to get a rematch with veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick. Despite the ligament damage he suffered in his left thumb last Sunday in Oakland, Fitzpatrick took all the snaps with a glove on his hand at practice Wednesday and Bowles didn’t try to keep the Jaguars guessing about his status. Bowles said Fitzpatrick will start.

Bowles said Fitzpatrick will be able to run the regular offense without any limitations although he apparently will deal with some pain.

“It’s painful enough to get me out of changing diapers,” Fitzpatrick joked. “That’s been the one positive.”

It wouldn’t be that unusual for Fitzpatrick to play with an injured thumb. Carson Palmer suffered a similar injury in the fifth game of the 2009 season and decided to forego the surgery until the end of the season and led Cincinnati to a division title at 10-6. He threw for 3,094 yards, 21 touchdowns, 13 interceptions and was named to the Pro Bowl.

Fitzpatrick is no stranger to the Jaguars. This is the eighth time he’s played against them for five different teams – Bengals, Bills, Titans, Texans and now the Jets. He’s 4-3 against them.

He played Bortles last Dec. 13 at EverBank Field with Houston as the Texans posted a 27-13 victory. Fitzpatrick passed for 135 yards while Bortles threw for 205 and had one touchdown and one interception.

This is Bortles’ fourth rematch. His first three were against Charlie Whitehurst, then with Tennessee, Brian Hoyer with Cleveland and Houston, and Ryan Tannehill of Miami. He split with all three quarterbacks.

The Jaguars not only have to worry about Fitzpatrick if he’s effective. The Jets have a strong running game led by Chris Ivory.

It’s up to Bortles to solve the Jets’ defense and avoid getting picked off by Darrelle Revis. One thing Bortles has to avoid is throwing Pick Sixes after throwing one in the last two games against Houston and Buffalo, but he said he can’t think about it.

“I’ve never thought about that,” he said. “I think I’ve thrown plenty in my career.”

SERIES HISTORY: 11th regular-season meeting. Jaguars lead series, 6-4. The Jets also won the only playoff game between the two teams in 1998 by a 34-24 margin. In the last meeting in 2012, the Jets won 17-10 as Chad Henne was sacked three times and threw two interceptions for a 41.3 passer rating. Montell Owens led the Jaguars in rushing with 91 yards. Only four players who started in that game for the Jaguars – Henne, tight end Marcedes Lewis, defensive lineman Tyson Alualu and linebacker Paul Posluszny – are still with the team.

GAME PLAN

–The Jaguars will try to run the ball with T.J. Yeldon against a Jets’ defense that is noted for stopping the run although the Jets missed a lot of tackles in Oakland. Since Darrelle Revis tends to take away half the field on passing downs and Blake Bortles has thrown a Pick Six two games in a row. If they can run, it will take some of the pressure off Bortles.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH

–Jaguars WRs Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns vs. Jets CB Darrelle Revis.

It is uncertain whether Revis will shadow one of their two leading receivers or just cover one-half of the field. Either way, he will make it more difficult to get the passing game going.

–Jaguars RDE Chris Clemons vs. Jets RT D’Brickashaw Ferguson.

It will be difficult for Clemons to generate much of a pass rush against Ferguson. The Jaguars have had problems putting heat on the quarterback and Clemons has just one sack. They are having problems generating a rush with their front four. Their sack leader is cornerback Aaron Colvin with three.


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