The Miami Dolphins are going to bless our television screens when they take on the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday Night Football in the NFL’s 2020 week three.
Miami and Jacksonvilles Recent Meeting
Both teams have fueled their Florida rivalry on and off in the decade, the most recent coming in week 16 of the 2018 season. Jacksonville pulled out a 17-7 victory with late-game heroics from inside linebacker Telvin Smith and his interception-returned-touchdown off of former Dolphin quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
The now Titan went 15-for-22 passing for just 146 yards. He did another TD in the game, this time for his own team, when he found running back Brandon Bolden.
Jaguars RB Carlos Hyde led the way for all rushers and finished with 47 yards on eight carries. However, it was Jacksonville RB Leonard Fournette who scored the offensive TD for the Jaguars, punching it in from the one-yard line to tie the game at seven in the first half.
Jacksonville blanked Miami in the second half and scored ten unanswered points to seal the game.
Dolphins Latest Prime Time Game
The Dolphins recently dropped their latest prime time game, 27-14 away against the Pittsburgh Steelers, on Monday Night Football in 2019. Miami jumped out to an early 14-0 lead thanks in large part to veteran QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. He threw both of the Dolphins scores in the first quarter; one each to WRs Albert Wilson and Allen Hurns. After the fast start capitalizing on turnovers, Miami got torched 27-0 the rest of the way.
Steelers QB Mason Rudolph, RB James Conner and WR JuJu Smith-Schuster were the three that were a huge part in keeping Miami in their then-current winless hole. Rudolph threw for 251 yards, with 103 of them landing in the hands of Smith-Schuster. Conner finished with 23 carries for 145 yards on the ground and one rushing TD.
Jaguars Latest Prime Time Game
The Jaguars’ most recent prime time game also came on Thursday Night Football. It came in the hands of a win against the division foe Tennessee Titans, 20-7. Jacksonville QB Gardner Minshew accounted for 14 of the team’s 20 points and went 20-for-30 passing with 204 yards. His two passing scores went to WR D.J. Chark and TE James O’Shaughnessy. Derrick Henry was the only good thing to happen that night for the Titans as he scored the team’s only points with a rushing TD from one yard out.
What to Expect in the 2020 Meeting
While both teams are still looking to solidify their 55-man roster and battle for their respected divisions, this game should be relatively close. Miami’s game plan should look to control the clock as much as possible, but use Fitzpatrick’s arm strength and speedy receivers to its advantage. The Dolphins should be able to pick apart a secondary that’s actually rebuilding more than they are.
Jacksonville should look to rely on Fournette to expose Miami’s rush defense. It undoubtedly struggled in 2019, and with all the new players and possible limited practice time the team will have, three weeks into the season all their problems won’t be solved. The Jaguars should have Minshew under center in the game and the TNF spotlight is where NFL fans saw Minshew’s name (and mustache) rise last season. Jacksonville needs Minshew to use Chark as much as possible in a balance with Fournette if it wants to pick up a win.
Both Teams’ Season Outlook
While Miami did draft their potential franchise QB, Tua Tagovailoa likely won’t play in the game. The Dolphins should opt-out and sit him for a year of learning behind Fitzpatrick. Especially on a national stage, fans should see Fitzpatrick take the TNF spotlight. Miami’s rebuild should prove to be steps ahead of Jacksonville despite the growing pains we’ll see from both teams in this game.
While Jacksonville riding the young leadership of Minshew in 2020, the second-year QB will have growing pains of his own. Those will not only affect him but the team as well. The Jaguars have the disadvantage when it comes to QB and leadership in the matchup. A big step forward for Jacksonville will be how well Minshew can lead throughout the season. However, with this game being in week three, we won’t see this come to fruition in the game.