Denver Broncos at Jacksonville Jaguars – NFL Week 8 Game Preview

jaguars stadium
"Panoramic view of Everbank Field" by CFariello is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The NFL takes their talents overseas to London once more as the Denver Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars will do battle in England this Sunday. Both teams are looking to forget losses they endured in Week 7 back in the United States. The Broncos had trouble getting anything going at home against the New York Jets in a 16-9 defeat. Jacksonville was in it until the very end against the New York Giants, but ended up falling 23-17.

As the 2022 slate of London games concludes with this matchup, let’s take a look at three keys to watch.

Trevor Lawrence On The Move

Even though Jacksonville has not been able to maintain the hot start they got off to, they have been competitive in almost every game this season. It does feel like their young core is improving this season, and that head coach Doug Pederson is finding ways to put his players in a position to succeed. One of those methods is by using Lawrence’s mobility more frequently in recent weeks.

While he was dominating college football at Clemson University, Lawrence had several enormous runs during the sport’s highest profile games. We hadn’t really seen him utilize that agility in the NFL, but it looks like the Jaguars are interested in deploying it now. Lawrence has scored three rushing touchdowns in the last two games, and Jacksonville may continue to call designed runs for their quarterback.

Denver’s Backfield Breakdown

The loss of running back Javonte Williams to an ACL injury was a huge one for Denver to absorb. Even though Williams was largely splitting carries with Melvin Gordon, the Broncos were excited for their second year player to take steps forward as an explosive option with the football in his hands.

Even though Gordon was the 1B alternative at the start of the year, Denver has not looked to increase his volume that much in the wake of Williams’ injury. However, fellow running back Mike Boone has also been lost for the season, which might make Gordon’s involvement a necessity. In order to bolster the depth they have in the backfield, Denver has brought in Latavius Murray and Marlon Mack in recent weeks.

One Thing Is For Surtain

Fans in London will have a chance to see one of the NFL’s brightest young stars in Broncos cornerback Patrick Surtain. There wasn’t much of a doubt that the former Alabama prospect would achieve great things at the professional level, as he sharpened his skills against some of the best wide receivers in the country as a collegiate player.

Surtain’s presence proves problematic for most teams, but it could really hinder Jacksonville’s ability to move the ball on Sunday. Lawrence has found a preferred target in Christian Kirk, but may not be able to look his way as much as he likes if Surtain is draped on his favorite receiver. This will force other players like Marvin Jones and Zay Jones to step up if Kirk can’t break free.