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NFL Week 9 Bengals vs Jaguars: Behind Enemy Lines with Big Cat Country

We speak with Ryan Day of Big Cat Country to get a look at the Bengals’ Week 9 opponent.

Cincinnati Bengals v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images

A lot can happen in a decade. Back then Barry Bonds and Tiger Woods were still active, popular sports icons, the economy will still riding high on the housing market bubble, and most people had never heard of Barack Obama.

Ten years later the Jacksonville Jaguars are on their fifth head coach and looking for their first winning record since 2007.

Over that span, the Cincinnati Bengals have faced the Jaguars four times, winning all four games. When the Bengals and Jaguars play this Sunday, the Jaguars will be trying to build up enough wins to get that elusive winning season and playoff berth, while the Bengals are looking to avoid back-to-back losing seasons for the first time in a decade.

This week, we spoke with Ryan Day of Big Cat Country to see what to expect from the Jaguars, and if they have what it takes to end this decade long drought against the Bengals, and the NFL.

Scott Schulze: The Jaguars just traded for Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus. What were the initial thoughts of the trade, and what are the expectations for Dareus’ role with the Jaguars?

Ryan Day: He'll be playing run-heavy packages and help Abry Jones along the interior. Calais Campbell shouldn't be stopping the run -- he should be as rested as possible for pass rush snaps. And Jones isn't getting it done by himself or with the help of Malik Jackson. This team needs a stout run defender and Roy Miller was the guy last year. Now that he's gone, this defensive line is wreaking havoc on quarterbacks but at the expense of giving up lots of yards on the ground.

As far as initial thoughts on the trade, I think everyone was for it. It was a sixth-round pick that may become a fifth-round pick. Who cares? Rarely are there players who make impacts on Day 3 of the draft, but Dareus will almost certainly do that.

SS: The Jaguars are currently 4-3 and tied for first place in the AFC South. With games coming up against the Chargers, Browns, Cardinals, Colts, and 49ers, the schedule seems to be set up well for them. Will this be their first winning season since 2007?

RD: Yes, I think so. Anything less than nine wins is a disappointment, honestly. Before the season, I thought anywhere from 5-7 wins was the ceiling. That was without the knowledge that the defense would have an all-time kind of season. Their performance, coupled with the implosion of the rest of the AFC South, gives me hope for a winning season and home playoff game.

SS: After years of Toby Gerhart, Dennard Robinson, T.J. Yeldon, and Chris Ivory all taking a shot at replacing Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor, the Jaguars seem to have found their answer with Leonard Fournette. Since he struggled with injuries in his last season at LSU, and missed their last game with an injury, is there any chance the team reduces his current rate of 22 carries per game? And what has made him so successful in the first part of this season?

RD: No, I don't think so. There are three capable backs behind him and I think you'll actually see his workload increase as we get into the end of the season. I think this Jaguars coaching staff knew that the Indianapolis Colts wouldn't be a tough opponent and held Fournette out when in fact he could have gone in had it been a must-win game or the playoffs. Instead, it was the game right before the bye week against an underwhelming team. Why not take some precaution?

SS: Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue, and Dante Fowler are all on pace double digit sacks this season, with Campbell already securing 10.0 of them in 7 games. If you were coaching the Bengals, who have struggled mightily in pass protection this season, how would you attempt to stop that trio from getting to Andy Dalton on every play?

RD: Get the run game going early and often. Run inside the tackles. If that doesn't work... I don't know. Pray? There's very few weaknesses on this Jaguars defense. Maybe pick on slot cornerback Aaron Colvin?

SS: Who wins this week, and why?

RD: The Jaguars because they're the superior team in nearly every facet of the game. Final score? 24-13.