The Jaguars Host Detroit, both have split their first two preseason games. As we peruse the NFL odds let’s analyze the matchup and cash in our NFL picks.
Detroit Lions (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS)
The Lions bowed to the Redskins in their second preseason contest but the defensive line wreaked havoc in the early going as Washington quarterback RG III was running for his life from the swarming Detroit defenders. Controversy swirled after Redskins coach Jay Gruden insisted on keeping Griffin on the field after the injury-prone QB was repeatedly pummeled which proved to be a costly decision. Griffin was concussed due to a menacing Lions defensive front and flawlessly executed blitz packages which made the Detroit rushing attack look nothing short of formidable against an overwhelmed Redskins’ offensive line.
Offensively Matthew Stafford looked sharp connecting on 6-of-8 passes for 78 yards. Dan Orlovsky, battling for the backup role, may have secured that position with a solid performance of his own where he tossed for 118 yards and two touchdown strikes. His rival, fourth year man Kellen Moore out of Boise State, was 3-of-7 for 31 yards. Rookie Zach Zenner proved he’s a multi-faceted threat out of the backfield averaging 5 ½ yards per carry and catching five passes for 59 yards including a touchdown.
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS)
The Jags scored a 23-21 preseason home opener over the Steelers but dropped a 21-12 decision to the Giants last week. Despite an offensive line that provided less than stellar pass protection second-year man Blake Bortles looked poised and confident connecting on 8-of-16 which included a dropped pass and a few throw-away balls as he eluded the Giants’ oncoming rush. Unfortunately for the Jags the game was not without casualties as backup offensive lineman Josh Wells dislocated a thumb while receivers Arrelious Benn (broken clavicle) and Damian Copeland (dislocated shoulder) both went down injuries.
Jacksonville’s big splash in the free agent pool, tight end Julius Thomas, has been sitting on the sidelines with a balky cast covering his right hand and will be out for the preseason but hopeful to return when the regular season commences. Therefore, 10-year veteran Marcedes Lewis will see his share of looks increase but it will be wideout Allen Robinson getting the bulk of the targets. On the offensive line it appears that Stefen Wisniewski has won the job at center over Luke Bowanko and Rashad Green has the inside track on returning punts this season for the Jags.
The NFL odds opened with Jacksonville as a -1 (-125) favorite but that has bumped up to -2 in some offshore sportsbooks as of this Tuesday morning writing. If Game 3 of the preseason is indeed a dress rehearsal for the regular season with the starters getting more reps than in any of the other four exhibition games then I look for that ferocious defensive line of the Lions to wreak havoc on a Jaguars offensive shell that has been plagued with missteps and penalties. Not only do I believe Jacksonville will find it hard to move the ball but turnovers could set Matthew Stafford in prime territory to strike early and often.
The blip on the radar indicating a lean on the Jags always perks up my ears and gives me cause for pause but sometimes that can be due to overanalyzing what should be a relatively one-sided mismatch between an impotent Jaguars offense and a Lions starting defensive line that looked in midseason form last week against the Redskins. If the NFL odds makers want to give me a few points I will be happy to take them even if I don’t think I will need’em.
NFL Pick: Detroit Lions +2 at YouWager.com