BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – DeShone Kizer might want to get some bubble wrap for his ribs Sunday.
Sacksonville comes to town.
The Jacksonville Jaguars lead the NFL in sacks and they’ve bagged quarterbacks 10 times in 2 games this season to become just the third team since 1940 in NFL history to accomplish the feat.
“We’re not intimidated by them,” left guard Joel Bitonio said Thursday.
How good is Jacksonville’s defense?
They’re ranked No. 1 in points allowed (14.9 points per game), first against the pass (165.1 yards per game), first in sacks (35 – and Carolina is a distant No. 2 with 29), second in takeaways with 18, third in total defense (285.8 yards per game), third in quarterback hits (65) and tied for third in turnover margin (+7).
“It is a challenge. There is no question,” head coach Hue Jackson said. “They have stymied a lot of really good guys. That is a challenge for our offensive staff and our offensive football team. We have to solve it. We have to do it better than what we have done it.
“We have to play better than we did last week – two times better – facing this defensive football team.”
Kizer, who is coming off of his best performance last week against the Lions this season, will have his hands full that is for sure. And the rookie from Notre Dame will e playing sore after suffering bruised ribs last Sunday in Detroit.
Kizer plans to wear extra padding in addition to his customary flak jacket for protection, which is probably a very good idea.
“They have two completely different solid pass rushers,” Kizer said. “You have one guy who is 6-8, 300-plus pounds powering through, and they have another guy who is a speed guy who can change directions quickly. It is on us to make sure that we are prepared for both styles of rushes and making sure that we are ID-ing our protections the right way to make sure there aren’t any free runners at the quarterback.”
Jaguars defensive lineman Calais Campbell is second in the NFL with 11.0 sacks this season. Campbell along with defensive ends Dante Fowler Jr. and Yannick Ngakoue have combined to total 23.0 sacks and 7 forced fumbles through 9 games. Ngakoue, who has has 6.5 sacks this season and 14.5 in his career, was picked 4 slots behind the Browns’ selection of Carl Nassib in the 2016 NFL Draft.
“They’re good players, but every week you play good players,” Bitonio said. “Minnesota’s front was good. Detroit’s front was good. They have some good guys but we’re going to go out there and we’re going to compete.”
When it comes to quarterbacks the Jaguars not only hit you, they pick you too.
Jacksonville is tied for third in the NFL with 11 interceptions this season and they are fifth with 50 passes defensed. Linebacker Telvin Smith and cornerback Jalen Ramsey lead the team with 4 interceptions, including a pick-6 each, since Week 15 of the 2016 season.
They also lead the NFL with 80 points scored off of opponents’ turnovers.
“They are a good defensive football team,” Jackson said.
Conversely the Browns offense is not very good. Cleveland is ranked 31st in scoring (15.9 points per game), T-23rd in total offense (313 yards per game), 17th rush (106.9 yards per game) 24th passing (206.8 yards per game) and 31st in turnover ratio (-13).
The Jaguars go for the clean sweep of the AFC North against the Browns after already trucking the Steelers 30-9, the Bengals 23-7 and the Ravens 44-7 this season.
So what will they do to the winless Browns?