The San Francisco 49ers (5-2) will be playing a winless Jacksonville Jaguars (0-7) team on Sunday evening in Wembley Stadium for Week 8. Statistically, the Jaguars are not only one of the bottom feeders in wins, but also have the worst rushing attack in the NFL.
Jim Harbaugh said he doesn't want the team to be hung-over from their current four game winning streak, saying this week is where the attention needs to be. He mentioned how the Jaguars were competitive two weeks ago and hopes the team doesn't end up making this Sunday's game too interesting.
"They’ve been in tight games and especially you look at the Broncos game [from Week 6]," Harbaugh said. "It was a two-point game at the end of the third quarter. [Their] defensive line is outstanding. They’ve gotten hits on every quarterback they’ve played. They’re really good off the ball up front defensively."
Despite what Harbaugh said, the Jaguars are the worst run defense in the NFL, averaging 153.3 rushing yards allowed on the ground. Jacksonville is also 29th in the league in sacks with only 11 this year, but they can draw pressure on the opposition.
This is a Jaguars team that is breaking in a new regime from general manager David Caldwell to new head coach Gus Bradley, who previously served with the Seattle Seahawks.
On offense, Jacksonville is stuck with playing Chad Henne, who was initially the backup quarterback behind Blaine Gabbert. Henne was named the starter with his recent performances combined with the injury to Gabbert. Colin Kaepernick was drafted 23 spots behind Gabbert in the 2011 NFL Draft, who was taken 10th overall.
The only dangerous threat on the Jaguars is WR Justin Blackmon, who served a four game suspension to begin the year. In three games this season, the second-year WR has 384 receiving yards and one touchdown. When he faced the Denver Broncos in Week 6, he had 190 yards through the air and was the game's leading receiver.
This is a game where the 49ers need to win to maintain their pace with the Seattle Seahawks, who are one game in front of them in the NFC West standings. The biggest challenge? It's to maintain composure and keep the momentum going from their easy win over the Tennessee Titans from Week 7.
Harbaugh said there is nowhere to go but up for Jacksonville this season. Even though they're winless, he expects the Jaguars to give everything they have on Sunday. He said this is a clean slate for the 49ers this week with a new game and challenge ahead.
"You start with what’s the worst possible thing that could happen as you go into every game, and that’s losing the football game," said Harbaugh. "So, you’ve got to work backward from there to the root, which is where we’re at right now. And understand that our preparation is going to put us in the best possible percentage of winning that game."