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Jaguars-Browns matchup of the day: Thursday

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Posted Nov. 17, 2011 @ 12:58 p.m. ET
By Mike Wilkening

Here's a matchup to watch in Sunday's Browns-Jaguars game.

Jaguars pass rush vs. Browns pass protection

The Jaguars' defense generated a significant pass rush in the last meeting between the clubs in November 2010, sacking QB Colt McCoy six times in a 24-20 Jacksonville win. McCoy suffered a high ankle sprain in the loss and missed the next three games.

If anything, the Jaguars' pass rush is stronger this season. Jacksonville, which notched just 26 sacks in 2010, has 21 sacks in 10 games.

Eleven different Jaguars defenders have at least one sack this season, with DRE Jeremy Mincey (4½ sacks) and DE Matt Roth (three sacks) Jacksonville's most productive pass rushers. 

The Browns are familiar with Roth, who notched a career-best 86 tackles a season ago playing outside linebacker in Rob Ryan's 3-4 scheme. In addition to possessing some pass-rush ability, the 6-4, 275-pound Roth is also stout vs. the run. 

Mincey (6-3, 270) recorded a career-best 2½ sacks last week at Indianapolis and took down McCoy twice last season. He closes quickly on the quarterback. Mincey recorded sacks rushing both off left end and right end a week ago. If he primarily stays on the right side, he'll have to contend with OLT Joe Thomas, who's an excellent pass blocker.

The Jaguars also can get a good push up the middle from their interior linemen, too, with Tyson Alualu the player to watch at tackle if Terrance Knighton (ankle) can't go. They are also an effective blitzing team, too. OLB Daryl Smith had 1½ sacks vs. Cleveland last season and is third on the club with 2½ sacks this season. OLB Clint Session (one sack) and MLB Paul Posluszny (1½ sacks) also have shown they can get to the quarterback.

In short, the Jaguars' pass rush will test the Browns. Will Cleveland do a better job dealing with Jacksonville's pressure this time?

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