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NFL Preseason Preview - Atlanta (1-2) at Jacksonville (1-2)



By John McMullen, NFL Editor

(SportsNetwork.com) - Despite a very strong preseason from No. 3 overall pick Blake Bortles, the Jacksonville Jaguars will close their preseason against the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday by sticking to the original plan.

Veteran quarterback Chad Henne will be the rebuilding Jags' starter at the game's most important position during Week 1 of the regular season against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sept. 7.

Both have performed admirably in Jacksonville's practice games thus far with Bortles finishing 10-of-16 passing for 158 yards and a touchdown last week in a 13-12 setback at Detroit. Overall, the No. 1 pick who is regarded as the future in Jacksonville, is 28-of-44 for 435 yards and a touchdown with a passer rating of 103.9 in the preseason.

Henne, meanwhile, was 9-of-14 for 70 yards against the Lions and is 25-of-38 in the preseason for 230 yards and one touchdown, good for a 90.9 passer rating.

If things continue to go to plan for the Jags, this might be the last time Bortles plays in 2014.

"It could be," Jacksonville head coach Gus Bradley admitted. "I haven't talked to him about it. I just say 'hey, continue to prepare. You're a play away. You have to have that mindset like that. Just keep working and sitting in those meetings, take good notes.'

"But I don't know, we haven't talked that much about it. It's been mostly this game, capture it and perform well in practice."

The Falcons will be trying to close their preseason slate on an up note after falling to the Tennessee Titans, 24-17, at the Georgia Dome last week.

Matt Ryan was as sharp as ever for Atlanta, completing 18-of-23 passes for 224 yards and two touchdowns. Julio Jones hauled in a 52-yard touchdown pass and Devin Hester brought in a 31-yard TD pass to highlight a four-reception, 56- yard effort for the Falcons.

Jacquizz Rodgers carried the ball eight times for 33 yards and caught five passes for 31 yards in defeat.

These two clubs have met 10 times in the preseason, including each of the last four seasons. The Jaguars lead the all-time preseason series 7-3, including a 20-16 win at the Georgia Dome in 2013.

08/27 10:21:41 ET