Back Resurgent Jaguars to Cover vs. Lowly Jets

Rainman M.

Thursday, September 28, 2017 1:18 PM UTC

Thursday, Sep. 28, 2017 1:18 PM UTC

The New York Jets (1-2) already avoided a winless season by defeating the Dolphins last week. They host the Jaguars (2-1), who return from London and decided not to have a bye in Week 4.

Jacksonville Jaguars at New York Jets

The Jaguars are currently -3, road favorites for the first time since 2011. The game total opened at 40 and has been bet down to 39.5, the lowest total on the NFL card this week.

Stopping the Jets' running backs is every opponent's top defensive priority. Matt Forte and Bilal Powell are combining to average less than 4 yards per carry.  The Jets, in order to alleviate pressure off of their running game, rely on journeyman quarterback Josh McCown. He is struggling to develop chemistry with a wide receiving corps that lost significant talent from 2016.

The veteran QB's most important targets are Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse. Anderson is decent at creating separation at the shorter passing game. But he suffers from dropped passes. Kearse is more reliably a possession receiver who is capable at finding and occupying open spaces and reeling in passes even in traffic.

New York's offensive line ranks in the lower half in terms of percentage of sacks allowed. The Jets boast two solid guards. The best is James Carpenter, but there is grave concern outside of the guard positions. McCown's circumstances are not ideal because he lacks a reliable offensive line and talented wide receivers who can really help him in the shorter passing game. He is struggling to take pressure off of the Jets' running game.

The Jaguars' talent at defense end should be prominent against the Jets' blockers. Second-year Yannick Ngakoue finds a way into the play even while engaged with blockers. He also excels in lateral pursuit and containment of running backs within the backfield. Dante Fowler Jr., his backup, adeptly attacks the inside of blockers and helps to disrupt the inside rush game and collapse the pocket. Calais Campbell leads the team with 4.5 sacks. 

Jacksonville boasts a capable defensive interior and budding superstars at linebacker, including the sideline-to-sideline stud Myles Jack, who leads the Jaguars with 24 tackles, and Telvin Smith, who boasts two passes defensed and an interception. The Jags' secondary boasts AJ Buoye, whom quarterbacks mustered a passer rating under 60 on passes thrown in his direction last season, and the insanely speedy, vertically proficient, agile star Jalen Ramsey. The Jaguars have been among the NFL's best at collapsing the pocket this season and are stacked at linebacker and in the secondary in order to support the defensive line.

Jacksonville shouldn't have to score much here. It is a run-first team and should prosper against the Jets, who rank towards the bottom in rush yards allowed per game and per attempt. Leonard Williams has yet to show anything after a solid year last year at defensive end, while his counterpart Muhammad Wilkerson is continuing to decline.

Linebacker Demario Davis is the Jets' leader on defense. Davis excels at pursuit due to his size, strength and speed. Morris Claiborne leads the Jets' secondary with his speed, intelligence, reaction ability and ball skills. Outside of Claiborne, the features unproven talent, including two rookies at safety. The Jets really struggled to mount a pass rush and achieve interceptions last year and these struggles are continuing.


The Verdict

The Jaguars' offensive line has allowed only 2 sacks this season.  Even thoughrunning back Leonard Fournette will surely face 8+ in the box, he is maintaining a respectable 3.5 yards per carry. He can improve upon that number against a Jets team that will be outmatched in the trenches and lacks weapons outside of Davis with which to attack the rusher.

Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles, who is learning to be more conservative and throw the ball away more often, can exploit the attention that the weak Jets rush attack devotes to Fournette. The Jaguars are 4-0 ATS (2-0 this season) in the last 4 games in which Bortles has not thrown an interception. The Jets lack the quality to limit Fournette, apply much pressure to Bortles or to force him into turnovers. 

Free NFL Pick: Jaguars -3Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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