Denver Broncos at Jacksonville Jaguars

Denver Broncos
Jacksonville Jaguars

Broncos coach Josh McDaniels won’t reveal his second-string quarterback until just before Sunday’s game, but it will be a highly anticipated decision. If Tim Tebow gets the nod over Brady Quinn, it will mean the former Florida Gators star could make his NFL debut in his hometown.

Tebow’s return isn’t likely to make much of an impact in the game, but the Jaguars are very conscious of the impact it’s made in their stadium. The Jaguars blacked out nine of 10 home games including two preseason games last season and know the future of their franchise depends on sellouts and televised games.

“The ticket sales and all the hype,” Jaguars cornerback Rashean Mathis said. “Are we staying here, are we not staying here? We know winning helps everything.”

Keys for the Broncos
• All-Pro offensive lineman Ryan Clady could be limited in the season opener, five months removed from an injury to his patellar tendon. He’ll be facing defensive end Aaron Kampman, another All-Pro veteran less than a year removed from a knee injury.
• The Broncos ranked 26th in the league against the run last season and are facing a team that’s among the best in the league on the ground. And despite rumors of Maurice Jones-Drew being hindered by a knee injury, Jones-Drew insists he has no injury, hasn’t missed a single practice this week and was not mentioned on the Jaguars’ injury report.

Keys for the Jaguars
• Showing an improved pass-rush will be an important key for the Jaguars not only in their first game but because of the tone it might set for the next few games. That was the biggest focus of Jacksonville’s offseason, including the draft.
• The Jaguars released Gerald Alexander and traded Reggie Nelson last weekend, the two free safeties who had been competing to be the team’s starter. Their reason was that nobody had emerged at the position and they felt it was time to move on. But they didn’t acquire replacements and will start Sean Considine this week, who worked mostly with the second team during the preseason. The Broncos could take advantage of the position.

Bottom Line
Both defenses have their soft spots, but the Jaguars should be able to take advantage of two things — Denver’s injuries, especially on the offensive line, and the heat. McDaniels downplayed its impact, but it could be one of the hottest opening days in franchise history. Jaguars 14–10

Week 1
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