Behind Enemy Lines with Jaguars Wire

The Raiders will take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in a must-win game in Week 9. Ahead of that matchup, we spoke with Adam Stites, the managing editor of the Jaguars Wire to preview this game. Here are his thoughts on the 2-6 Jaguars so far this season:

1. How has Trevor Lawrence performed in Year 2?

Statistically, he’s made improvements across the board from his rookie season, but the issue has been consistency. He still makes too many massive mistakes at the worst times possible. That’s been magnified in the red zone where he hasn’t done a good job minimizing risk.

The Jaguars’ lack of a deep threat has made things difficult at times and leaves little margin for error, but Lawrence’s decision-making definitely has to be better, regardless.

2. How has former Raiders WR Zay Jones looked so far in Jacksonville?

Zay has been a great addition. He’s a very reliable receiver who moves the chains and makes plays in traffic, so it didn’t take long for him to become one of Lawrence’s favorite players to target. He hasn’t exactly been a game-breaker, but he’s definitely provided the young quarterback with a safety valve.

3. What has the first year of Doug Pedersen been like?

Well, it’s definitely been about 100 times better than the Urban Meyer era. Pederson’s stubborn refusal to deviate from his pass-heavy game plans has been frustrating at times, but for the most part, it’s clear the team is taking a step forward.

The Jaguars have played much better football than you’d expect out of a team with a 2-6 record and there’s a cohesiveness and calm about the team, despite its losing streak. The good vibes might wane if the wins don’t start rolling in, but for now, it looks like the Jaguars found their guy.

4. Who is an under-the-radar player to watch?

All eyes go to Josh Allen and No. 1 overall pick Travon Walker when it comes to the pass rush, but the Jaguars have seen a fair amount of pressure generated inside by Dawuane Smoot.

The sixth-year vet gave the Broncos fits and he’s been playing really well as a rotational defensive lineman. The Jaguars have also got some really good play out of Arden Key, a player Raiders fans are probably pretty familiar with.

5. Who wins and why?

The Jaguars’ offense is at its best when it can string together lengthy, ball-control drives without negative plays or turnovers. The Raiders’ defense, which is last in takeaways, sacks, and average drive length, looks ripe for being picked on by that kind of offense.

Jacksonville has a tendency to rip defeat from the jaws of victory, but I think it gets the job done finally.

Jaguars 24, Raiders 21.

Story originally appeared on Raiders Wire