JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (0-3) AT CINCINNATI BENGALS (2-1)
Week 4 of the 2021 NFL season gets underway on Thursday, September 30 (8:20 PM ET, NFL Network) as the Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) host the Jacksonville Jaguars (0-3) in a matchup of the two most recent No. 1 overall picks – Cincinnati’s JOE BURROW (2020 No. 1 pick) and Jacksonville’s TREVOR LAWRENCE (2021). This marks only the second ever quarterback meeting between the two most recent first overall picks. Cleveland’s BAKER MAYFIELD (No. 1 overall in 2018) and Arizona’s KYLER MURRAY in (No. 1 overall in 2019) met in Week 15 of the 2019 season.
Thursday will be the 24th all-time meeting between the two franchises, with the Jaguars holding a 13-10 series advantage. The clubs also met in Week 4 of last season, with the Bengals winning, 33-25. It marked the first-career victory for Burrow, who passed for 300 yards in the win. Running back JOE MIXON totaled 181 scrimmage yards (151 rushing, 30 receiving) and a career-high three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving).
Cincinnati enters this week coming off a 24-10 victory over the Steelers, its first win in Pittsburgh since 2015. Burrow completed 14 of 18 passes for a career-high 77.8 completion percentage and added three touchdown passes. He is one of three AFC quarterbacks (DEREK CARR and PATRICK MAHOMES) with at least two touchdown passes in each of the first three weeks of the season. Mixon rushed for 90 yards last week and he aims for his third in a row on Thursday Night Football with at least 85 scrimmage yards. Wide receiver TYLER BOYD had his first touchdown catch of the season in Week 3 and had seven receptions for 90 yards in last year’s meeting. He aims for his third in a row on Thursday Night Football with a touchdown reception. Rookie wide receiver JA’MARR CHASE had two touchdown receptions last week, including a 34-yard catch, and is the third rookie in NFL history with a touchdown catch of at least 25 yards in each of his first three career games, joining DONTE STALLWORTH (2002) and BILLY HOWTON (1952). He is one of four players in the league with a touchdown reception in three games this season.
Linebacker LOGAN WILSON led Cincinnati’s defense in Week 3, setting career highs in tackles (14) and interceptions (two). Entering Thursday night, Wilson leads the league with three interceptions this season. Safety JESSIE BATES had eight tackles and a tackle for loss last week and since entering the league in 2018, ranks second among all safeties with 340 tackles. Defensive end TREY HENDRICKSON tied for second in the league with 13.5 sacks last season with New Orleans and has a sack in two of his first three games as a Bengal. Cincinnati is one of two teams in the AFC (Cleveland) with at least 10 team sacks (10) this season.
Last week against Arizona, Lawrence completed 22 of 34 passes (season-high 64.7 pct.) for 219 yards and a touchdown. He enters Thursday leading all rookies with five touchdown passes and ranks second with 669 passing yards. Running back JAMES ROBINSON totaled 134 scrimmage yards (88 rushing, 46 receiving) last week and recorded his first rushing touchdown of the season. In last year’s meeting, Robinson had 107 scrimmage yards (75 rushing, 32 receiving). Wide receiver MARVIN JONES led the team with 62 receiving yards last week. He has a touchdown catch in two of his first three games as a Jaguar. Wide receiver DJ CHARK had eight catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns in last year’s meeting. He is one of four AFC wide receivers with at least five catches in each of the first three weeks of the season.
Linebacker MYLES JACK led the Jaguars with a season-high 10 tackles last week. He recorded an interception in last year’s meeting in Cincinnati and aims for his third in a row against the Bengals with an interception. Defensive end/linebacker JOSH ALLEN has a sack in two of three games this season and aims for his third in a row against Cincinnati with a sack. Safety ANDREW WINGARD recorded his first interception of the season last week.
Thursday’s contest marks the third of eight games exclusively televised on NFL Network this season and will be produced by FOX. The game will feature Joe Buck, Pro Football Hall of Famer Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews and Kristina Pink on the call.