The NFL wraps up its international series for 2021 with a familiar franchise making their London trip. The Jacksonville Jaguars head to London for the seventh time since the start of the 2013 season, but for the first time in three years (NFL didn't have any international games in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
Jacksonville's opponent -- the Miami Dolphins -- played in the first London regular season game. Miami is expected to get Tua Tagovailoa back for Sunday's contest, a game which the Dolphins need to have in order to keep any hopes of making the playoffs alive. The Dolphins have lost four straight games and are fading in the conference standings, but can get their season back on track over the next two weeks with games against the Jaguars and Atlanta Falcons.
The Jaguars are in the midst of NFL history, becoming just the second team in the Super Bowl era and third team in NFL history to lose 20 consecutive games. The 1976-1977 Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the longest losing streak in the Super Bowl era at 26 games. The 1942-1945 Chicago Cardinals lost an NFL record 29 consecutive games, also splitting the 1944 season with the Pittsburgh Steelers as the Chicago/Pittsburgh Cardinals-Steelers (due to player shortages from World War II). Jacksonville has a ways to go to reach that futility -- and Sunday may be their best opportunity at a victory for several weeks.
As the NFL kicks off for the final time in London this season, this is what to look out for while eating your breakfast on Sunday morning.
How to watch
Trevor Lawrence vs. man coverage
No team plays man coverage like the Miami Dolphins, and they have a great reason given their cornerbacks are Xavien Howard and Byron Jones. Miami lines up in man coverage 54% of their defensive snaps (highest in NFL) and gets pressure on the opposing QB on 33% of their dropbacks (eighth-highest in NFL). Jones has allowed 18 catches for 238 yards and a touchdown (99.5 passer rating) when targeted while Howard has allowed 20 catches for 337 yards and five touchdowns (124.6 passer rating). Teams can throw off the Dolphins with an efficient quarterback.
The bad news for Jacksonville? Lawrence is one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL against man coverage. Lawrence's completion percentage is 46% against man coverage (third-worst among quarterbacks with 100-plus attempts) and averages 4.5 yards per pass attempt (worst among the same group). Overall, Lawrence has completed 59% of his passes (second-worst in the NFL among quarterbacks with 100-plus passing attempts) and his passer rating of 71.3 is amongst the lowest in the league.
Lawrence also struggles when facing pressure, having just a 34.5 passer rating when facing that scenario. The Dolphins certainly have an opportunity to attack Lawrence early and get him off his rhythm.
Miami offense vs. Jacksonville defense
The Dolphins offense is one of the worst in the NFL, averaging just 4.4 yards per play (second-worst in league). Miami has struggled to throw the ball whether Tua Tagovailoa or Jacoby Brissett has been under center, averaging 5.7 yards per pass attempt (last in NFL) and recording just eight offensive touchdowns (tied for second fewest in the league). The offense has scored the second-fewest points and recorded the second-fewest yards in the league.
Jacksonville's defense really isn't any better than Miami's offense, so this is an opportunity for the Dolphins to get some yards if Tagovailoa plays. The Jaguars allow 9.6 yards per pass attempt (second-highest in NFL) and opposing quarterbacks complete 73.5% of their passes against them (second-highest in NFL). Jacksonville also allows 6.3 yards per play, the third-highest mark in the league. This is part of the reason Jacksonville is 0-5, along with their 11 turnovers (tied for most in the league).
If the Dolphins wish to score points consistently this week, no better team to accomplish this than the Jaguars. Same holds true for Jacksonville looking to improve its defensive ranking.
The over/under of 47 (per Caesars Sportsbook) for this game could be a bit high, given how the Dolphins offense has struggled to score points. The Jaguars have allowed over 23 points in each game this season, so that could explain why the over/under is higher than expected. Miami has allowed 30 total plays of 20-plus yards, the most in the NFL, giving Jacksonville's offense an opportunity to score points of their own against a defense that has underperformed.
Hard to envision this game being a high scoring affair, especially the Jaguars commit to James Robinson to pace the offense again. Miami should win this game, but the London factor makes things interesting.
Pick: Dolphins 20, Jaguars 16