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The Trevor Lawrence era in Jacksonville will begin Saturday when the first overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft will be taking his first snaps as a Jaguar in his first game on the NFL gridiron.

Lawrence and the Jags will be led by new head coach Urban Meyer as they take on the Cleveland Browns who are coming off of their most successful season in nearly three decades. They produced a record of 11-5 last season on their way to their first playoff appearance since 2002, and they won their first playoff game since the 1995 season. 

The Jaguars on the other hand had an atrocious record of 1-15 last season, but having the worst record in the NFL handed them a future with Trevor Lawrence. 

The game will be live on NFL Network at 7 PM on Saturday, August 14th from TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Florida.

Can the Browns Maintain Their Success?

Last year marked the second double-digit win season for the Browns in the past two decades, and they are for sure hoping to make this year the third time. 

While no drastic changes were made to the roster, their core stars will be returning on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Defensive end Myles Garrett will look to build off the 12-sack season he had in 2020 and provide some leadership on that defensive line. 

Denzel Ward is still manning the secondary for Cleveland, and he will surely be counted on to lock up other team’s best receivers.

Offensively, Baker Mayfield had arguably his most efficient and effective season last season as the quarterback of the Browns.  They will look for him to continue improving alongside his backfield mates, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. 

Chubb once again rushed for over 1,000 yards, and Hunt brought a great change of pace and change in dynamic to the Browns’ offense. WR Odell Beckham Jr. will be returning from a Torn ACL that he suffered in October of last season after only seven games. He will surely be a big factor in the Cleveland offense.

While all of this talent will not be featured heavily in Saturday night’s game, they may take a few early game snaps. This team is talented enough to make another run in an AFC North Division that features strong opponents like the Ravens and Steelers.

New Era Jaguars

Saturday night will be all about Trevor Lawrence, as it should be.

The 1st overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft will be making his NFL debut and should bring instant life to a Jaguars franchise that has struggled mightily since losing the AFC Championship game to the Patriots back in 2018.

Much of that is because of the massive turnover their roster faced, more specifically their defense. The team that nearly made the Super Bowl featured a defense that was statistically the best in the NFL in 2018, but with many of the impactful players from that team gone, their defense has taken a sharp downfall, ranking 31st in points allowed and yards during the 2020 season.

Urban Meyer has a hard task at hand with trying to improve this defense, especially when many of their top picks were offensive players.

Joining Lawrence as a first-round draft pick of the Jaguars was his Clemson Tigers teammate, running back Travis Etienne. Etienne and Lawrence won a national championship together in 2018 at Clemson and were both multiple-time All-Americans and First-Team ACC members.

Lawrence will also have a relatively young core of receivers to throw the ball to as well. DJ Chark will be the main target, but second-year man Laviska Shenault and former Lions receiver Marvin Jones will surely be in the mix.

After going 1-15 last year, there really is nowhere else to go but up for the Jaguars.


Browns vs Jaguars Pick

With many of the regular starters for both teams playing minimal time in this game, the outcome of this game will heavily rely on which team has more depth and talent throughout their roster.

That team would be the Cleveland Browns in this matchup.

Jacksonville is also heading into their first game with a new coach, a new system, and a new quarterback, which most likely means there will be some miscues on their end. But hey, that’s what the preseason is for.

The first quarter of play where most of the starters will make their appearances will play a major role in how this game plays out.

Despite the Jaguars being favored, most likely because of the debut of Lawrence, I like the Browns to take the early lead and never let it go.

Final Pick: Browns ML (+110)


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