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Preview: Browns at Jaguars

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A week after their miraculous victory on the final play of the game, the Jacksonville Jaguars try to jump off Cloud Nine to get ready to host the upstart Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

The Jaguars won a memorable 31-24 decision over the Houston Texans last week when David Garrard’s “Hail Mary” heave on the final play of the game was caught by receiver Mike Thomas. The touchdown encompassed 50 yards and could play a huge role in both team’s playoff aspirations.

Jacksonville moved to 5-4 on the season with the victory. After losing two straight, the Jags are back over the .500 mark with two straight wins and are currently tied for second place in the AFC South, a game behind Indianapolis.

Thomas was having a strong game even before the stunning final touchdown. He finished with eight receptions for 149 yards and the touchdown pass that Houston’s Glover Quin batted right into the diminutive wide receiver’s hands. Thomas leads the team with 536 yards and 41 catches.

Maurice Jones-Drew leads Jacksonville with 745 yards on 186 carries. He’s scored five touchdowns, two them coming in last week’s win.

The Jaguars are without leading pass rusher Aaron Kampman, who was placed on season-ending injured reserved last week. Kampman’s loss showed immediately as struggling Houston quarterback Matt Schaub threw for 314 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s game. Andre Johnson ran wild on against the Jaguars, catching nine passes for 146 yards.

The Browns (3-6) don’t have that type of passing game. Rookie quarterback Colt McCoy has played well but Cleveland has been banking on the burly shoulders of running back Peyton Hillis.

Hillis shredded New England’s defense two weeks ago as Cleveland shocked the Patriots 34-14. Last week, Hillis scored once as the Browns nearly tamed another AFC East powerhouse before losing to the New York Jets in overtime 26-20.

Unlike the Jaguars, who won on the last play of their game, Cleveland lost when Santonio Holmes scored a 37-yard touchdown with just seconds remaining in overtime.

While Hillis piles up the yardage - he is 12th in the NFL in rushing with 726 yards - McCoy has efficiently managed the game for Cleveland. In four games he has thrown two touchdowns and two interceptions while passing for 183 yards a game.

While those numbers are certainly not Pro Bowl worthy, they are well ahead of the pace set by Seneca Wallace and Jake Delhomme, who are both battling injuries.

And perhaps more impressive is that McCoy has beaten New Orleans and New England this season while losing close decisions to the Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Jags are ranked 28th defensively in scoring and 29th against the pass.

Cleveland has won the last two meetings between the two teams, including last season when it defeated the Jags 23-17 at Cleveland. Jones-Drew rushed for 80 yards in the game without a score. Jerome Harrison, then the starting back for the Brown, rushed for 127 yards and a touchdown in the game.

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Key Players to Watch

Stadium

EverBank Field
Jacksonville, Florida, USA.
Capacity: 67,246

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Last Injuries

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Andrew Wingard

    Groin
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Wingard left the last game due to a minor groin strain, and it is uncertain if he will play Sunday versus the Bengals.

  • Brandon Wright

    Groin
    I-R | I-R

    Wright has reverted to the injured reserve list after clearing waivers with a groin injury.

  • Brandon Linder

    Knee
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Linder missed the last game due to a knee injury, and it is unclear if he will suit up Sunday against the Bengals.

  • Leon Jacobs

    Knee
    I-R | I-R

    Jacobs has wound up on the injured reserve list with a torn ACL in his right knee.

  • DJ Chark Jr.

    Chest
    Prob Sun | probable

    Chark Jr. sat out the previous game with chest and back injuries. It is likely that he will be available against the Bengals on Sunday.

  • Stephen Hauschka

    Knee
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Hauschka is bothered by a knee injury, and it remains to be seen if he will face the Bengals on Sunday.

  • Brandon Wright

    Groin
    day-to-day | questionable

    Wright was removed from the last game with a groin injury, and his status for Week 4 versus the Bengals s in question.

  • Josh Lambo

    Hip
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Lambo has been designated with a left hip injury, and it has yet to be established when the team will take him off of the IR.

Cleveland Browns

  • Ricky Seals-Jones

    Leg
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Seals-Jones has missed the previous three games due to a right leg injury, and it is undetermined if he will return Sunday versus the Patriots.

  • Denzel Ward

    Groin
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Ward left the last game after aggravating a groin injury, and it is undermined if he will play Sunday versus the Cowboys.

  • Greedy Williams

    Shoulder
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Williams has missed the past three games due to a shoulder injury, and it is unclear if he will return Sunday against the Cowboys.

  • Jojo Natson

    Knee
    I-R | I-R

    Natson is on the injured reserve list due to a torn ACL in his knee.

  • Jacob Phillips

    Knee
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Phillips has sat out the last two games due to a knee injury, and it is unknown if he will draw back into the lineup against the Cowboys on Sunday.

  • Kareem Hunt

    Groin
    Prob Sun | probable

    Hunt is dealing with a groin injury, but it is anticipated that he will take the field against the Cowboys on Sunday.

  • Olivier Vernon

    Abdominal
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Veronon has been held out of the previous two games with an abdominal injury, and it is uncertain if he will return to the fold Sunday versus the Cowboys.

  • Tae Davis

    Elbow
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Davis exited previous game due to an elbow injury, and it remains to be seen if he will take the field Sunday versus the Cowboys.