Blake Bortles Starts for the Jacksonville Jaguars Final Game of 2018

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Blake Bortles
MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 23: Blake Bortles #5 of the Jacksonville Jaguars throws a pass against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on December 23, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Blake Bortles will get the start for the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday against the Houston Texans. Though it is his first start since the Jags week 12 loss, it is presumably his last with the team. Unfortunately for Bortles and Jacksonville, this game means more for the other three AFC South teams than it does for Jacksonville. The Texans are currently first in the division with a 10-5 record. But, the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans face off on Sunday night. Both teams are 9-6. Each team controls its destiny, except for Jacksonville. The Jaguars are merely starting a quarterback who is on his way out, while the only important matter is the 2019 first round pick.

Blake Bortles to Start Sunday Against the Houston Texans

The Boat Sails Once More

Blake Bortles has a very up and down career. His highs are quite good, but he is more often maddeningly terrible. Jacksonville’s front office made a bet on him last offseason by giving him a new contract. It’s only the next season, but Bortles’ time in Duval is about up. Of course, there have been many offensive injuries this season, but Bortles is not the leader the team needs. The only reason coach Doug Marrone is going back to Bortles is because the offense was impotent with Cody Kessler.

Kessler has only thrown one touchdown in the four games he’s started. He’s also only thrown one interception, but he’s been sacked a lot and can’t keep drives alive. Bortles starting against Houston makes sense because he’s a better rusher than Kessler. Time will tell if they decide to air it out on Sunday, but if anything this is Bortles’ chance to audition for potential future teams.

The Matchup

It’s interesting that Bortles’ first start since being benched comes against the Texans. The Texans are the team that the Jags were playing when he got benched after the first half on October 21st. In that game, Bortles was six of 12 for 61 yards. He also lost two fumbles. It will be interesting to see how many pass attempts Bortles has on Sunday. In his last start (against the Buffalo Bills), Bortles only had 23 passing attempts.

J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney should play a factor in how much Bortles is able to accomplish. Watt and Clowney are a formidable rushing duo and could cause Bortles to tuck the ball and run more often than to throw. Bortles seems to do a better job of keeping drives alive by running on third down than by throwing anyway, so that may not be a problem. In the end, getting a win on Sunday would still be a loss for the Jaguars.

A Win is a Loss

Winning on Sunday would really just be a loss for the Jags. It would worsen their draft position. At this point, they are out of the playoffs and in desperate need of a new quarterback. The jags currently sit at the ninth pick in the draft, which is three picks after the New York Giants. The Giants are the other team likely to pick a quarterback with their first pick in 2019. Winning on Sunday for the Jaguars would mean a few things. For one, they would likely be out of the top ten. Also, they would be forced to expend draft capital in order to move up to get the man they want.

Nobody outside of the Jaguars front office knows who the team has their eye on. Dwayne Haskins of Ohio State is a fan favorite, especially with Justin Herbert‘s decision to remain at Oregon. The public will have to wait until the draft to find out who the team will pick, but a win makes it harder to get your guy.

The Last Word

The only meaning that Sunday’s game against Houston has for Jacksonville is draft order. Blake Bortles will likely suit up for the last time as a Jaguar in what has been a disappointing season. Though the Jags could play spoiler and force the Texans to a wildcard spot, a win hurts their draft pick. Yes, winning is nice when you’re good but in a lost season, it’s time to look to the future.

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