#16 toughest matchup of 2020: Jacksonville Jaguars, Week 8
This should be no surprise here but the easiest matchup of the 2020 season on paper is the Jacksonville Jaguars. Easily one of the worst run franchises in the league, the Jaguars are pretty clearly tanking for their chance to win the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes.
Hard to believe they are just a few short years removed from an AFC Championship game appearance, isn’t it? Especially since they almost won that game against the Patriots.
Gardner Minshew is a fine story don’t get me wrong here, but he is clearly being thrown to the wolves. Outside of DJ Chark and Leonard Fournette, he doesn’t have much to work with, and Fournette is the type of running back who is clearly a dying breed in today’s NFL.
Maybe Laviska Shenault ends up having a good year, but he was never healthy in college. Minshew only had two games in which he surpassed 300 passing yards last year and I doubt he has many of them this year.
On defense, Jalen Ramsey, AJ Bouye and Calais Campbell are all gone and Yannick Ngakoue is on his way out. Outside of Myles Jack and Josh Allen they don’t have many marquee players on that side anymore.
I think this team is really going to struggle to score points and struggle even more to stop them from being scored. They are pretty clearly the favorite to be the worst team in 2020 in my opinion and the Chargers get them at home this time around.
#15 toughest matchup of 2020: New York Jets, Week 6
The New York Jets are another contender for the worst run organization in the league. They have mostly done a terrible job supporting Sam Darnold since they drafted him. Their best offensive weapon over the last few years had been Robby Anderson and they let him walk in favor of signing Breshad Perriman. Signing Le’Veon Bell made some sense, but then they also just signed Frank Gore and drafted a running back in the fourth round. So what was the point of signing Bell?
They had one of the worst offensive lines in the league last year, and credit to them they signed and drafted a bunch of players to try and address that problem. They just didn’t get any actual good players, outside of Conor McGovern.
George Fant was a swing tackle in Seattle who has never started a full season in the NFL and they paid him more than the LA Chargers paid Bryan Bulaga. Mekhi Becton was one of the more popular players in the draft class but he is much more of a project than people realize and they drafted him over Tristan Wirfs, who was pretty clearly the better player and better fit, in my opinion.
Drafting Denzel Mims was great but then they followed it up by drafting Jamal Adams‘ backup in Ashtyn Davis. This is why the Jets are always bad. They have no clear plan in place, as evidenced by them firing their general manager last year AFTER the draft. And again, the Chargers get them at home.
#14 toughest matchup of 2020: Cincinnati Bengals, Week 1
All due respect to Joe Burrow, I think he was a little overrated as a prospect. That team around him was clearly extremely talented, they tied the NFL record for most players drafted from one college team with fourteen. Not to mention Ja’Marr Chase and Derek Stingley, who are likely the best players at their position in next year’s draft class.
There’s a reason Burrow didn’t start at Ohio State and had to transfer to LSU in order to get his shot. Mentally, he has everything you want in a quarterback but we’ll see how his physical talent (or lack thereof) transfers to the NFL and it’s not like the Bengals are a greatly run franchise themselves.
It’s no surprise the LA Chargers didn’t get to open the season at home, but as far as season openers go this was probably the best-case scenario. The Bengals have weapons for Joe Burrow, similar to what he had at LSU. Joe Mixon, A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd is the start of a very good supporting cast.
What they don’t have is a full offseason to make sure he has as strong a grip on the offense as possible and chemistry with those weapons. I think Burrow will come on strong down the stretch for the Bengals, but it will take some time for him to adjust to the speed and skill of the NFL and that starts with the Chargers.
If healthy, the Chargers have one of the better defensive units in the league. At least on paper that is. They should be able to keep the Chargers in every game this year and probably win a few on their own by wreaking all kinds of havoc. I expect this team to start off really strong in 2020 by going into Cincinnati and winning fairly easily.