Urban Meyer and Trevor Lawrence finally tasted their first-ever win at the NFL level by defeating the Miami Dolphins in a close victory in London ahead of their bye week. It's back to business in Week 8, though, when they'll again travel a great distance to take on an opponent -- this time the Seattle Seahawks. It's a chance for the Jacksonville Jaguars to string together a win streak for the first time in 2021, but the Seahawks are desperate for a win at 2-5 and in a division where both the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams are creating distance from them weekly.
If the Seahawks want to stand any chance at staving off the depths of Davy Jones' Locker to remain relevant until Russell Wilson can return, it's paramount Geno Smith figures out how to save the day. It's a clash between two teams that don't know each other well, but the game will have major ramifications in the NFC and for the future of Meyer in North Florida.
How to watch
This game will simply come down to which team makes the fewest mistakes. The Jaguars have shown themselves prone to giving up the ball in 2021, but without Russell Wilson at the helm, the Seahawks are now suddenly nearly as messy on offense. It'll be interesting to see how Geno Smith responds to a poor outing that saw him torpedo any hopes the Seahawks had of winning at home against the New Orleans Saints in Week 7. You have to presume Smith is on a rapidly shortening rope in Seattle, now 0-2 as a starter and facing a 2-6 record if he can't outplay rookie first-overall pick Trevor Lawrence. The added problem for Smith is in how talented Lawrence is when he's firing on all cylinders, which could make it difficult for a middling Seahawks defense -- contingent upon head coach Urban Meyer dialing up the right plays.
And that's the other angle in this matchup: will Meyer be wholly outcoached by a more wily Pete Carroll? The edge obviously goes to Carroll here, for a laundry list of reasons, and Meyer is under extreme duress to start stringing together wins for the Jaguars. Neither of these teams have lived up to their 2021 aspirations, but it's the Seahawks who've fallen far from expectations, and another loss might see them realistically shoved out of the NFC West playoff picture.
There will be key matchups to watch all over the field, but none will be more intriguing than the battle at quarterback. How many more chances will Carroll give Smith, and after adding quarterback Jacob Eason to the roster? Smith as all the motivation he needs to deliver a big game, but so does Lawrence, who has now tasted victory for the first time in his NFL career and isn't too keen on going back to the Jaguars' losing ways considering he's a complete stranger to losing football games. Expect Lawrence to figure out a way to outplay Smith, assuming Eason doesn't enter the game before it's all said and done.
Unfortunately for the Jaguars, it'll take more than Lawrence's talent to win this game. One too many questionable play calls from Meyer will doom them in Seattle, arguably the most hostile environment in the NFL. Smith might have another forgettable game, but a game-winning field goal will save the day for him and the Seahawks in an absolute must-win situation.
Seahawks 20, Jaguars 17