NFL Week Six Preview: Jacksonville Jaguars at Denver Broncos
Jacksonville Jaguars at Denver Broncos
Sports Authority Field – Denver, Colorado
Sunday, October 13, 2013, 4:05 pm Eastern, TV: CBS, NFL Sunday Ticket
Opening Line: Denver -27 1/2
Current Line: Denver -27
Opening Total: 48
Current Total: 52 1/2
Opening Money Line: Broncos -7000 / Jaguars +2500
Current Money Line: Broncos -6000 / Jaguars +2350
You often see 27 point spreads in college football especially in the non-conference games when powerhouses will schedule lesser teams as tune-up games. Sometimes there are even such mismatches in conference games. Alabama was a 27 point favorite at Kentucky yesterday and Arizona State moved from a 24 point favorite to -28 as they hosted Colorado, for example.
However, a four touchdown spread is almost unheard of in NFL betting. Well, that is exactly what we have when the 0-5 Jacksonville Jaguars travel to the 5-0 Denver Broncos Sunday. When this line came out it surpassed the largest opening line in NFL history which occurred when the 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers who were the defending Super Bowl Champion hosted the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers as 27 point favorites. The Steelers would win that game 42-0 and the Buccs would go on to finish 0-14 that season.
Jacksonville actually leads series 4-1 against Denver since 2001 and the Jaguars have won three straight in the series. Jacksonvlle won the last meeting 24-17 in Jacksonville in 2010.
The Jaguars are coached by Gus Bradley who left his job as the defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks to take over this train wreck. The Jaguars aren’t just bad but historically bad. Jacksonville has lost all five games by double digits. The Jaguars have home losses to the Kansas City Chiefs 28-2 and the Indianapolis Colts 37-3, along with road losses at the Oakland Raiders 19-9, the Seattle Seahawks 45-17, and last week at the St. Louis Rams 34-20. The Chiefs, Seahawks, and Colts have a combined 2 losses, but the Raiders and Rams are both 2-3. The Jaguars are 0-5 ATS and the total is 2-3 this season. Jacksonville was an 11 point underdog at the terrible Rams and the total was 40.5.
Jacksonville actually led 10-7 at the end of the first against the Rams, but St. Louis would score 17 second quarter points to take a 24-10 lead at halftime. The Rams would go on to win 34-20. Jacksonville had 363 total yards including 267 passing yards. St. Louis had 351 total yards including 208 passing yards. The Jaguars had 3 turnovers including a pick six.
The Jaguars are being outscored 33-10 this season. Jacksonville is last in scoring and second to last in points allowed. The Jaguars are averaging a league worst 251.8 yards per game including the #29 passing game at 193.4 yards and are #31 in rushing at 58.4 yards per game. The defense isn’t much better. Jacksonville is allowing 379.8 yards per game including 219.2 passing and 160.6 rushing yards. The Jaguars are last in rush defense and #10 is pass defense. Jacksonville is -7 in turnovers. The Jaguars are 23/79 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 27/71. Jacksonville has allowed 20 quarterback sacks this season and forced 10. The Jags ave allowed 3 defensive touchdowns this season. Jacksonville is averaging 51 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 37.
Jacksonville quarterback Blaine Gabbert will miss Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury. He also missed a couple of games earlier in the season with a laceration on his throwing hand. Back-up Chad Henne will start but most people (myself included) feel that Henne is slightly better than Gabbert anyway. Henne has completed 55.8% of his passes for 601 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. He has been sacked 8 times this season and has 16 rushing yards. Gabbert has completed 48.8% of his passes for 481 yards with a touchdown and 7 picks, along with 9 carries for 32 yards. He has been sacked 12 times.
Running back Maurice Jones-Drew has 74 carries, 208 yards and a touchdown, along with 6 catches for 41 yards. Jordan Todman has 13 carries for 34 yards with a touchdown along with 3 catches. Receiver Cecil Shorts has 31 catches, 411 yards and a touchdown. He is probable with a groin injury. Ace Sanders has 14 catches for 162 yards. Justin Blackmon returned from a 4 game suspension for violating the NFl’s substance abuse policy last week. He had 5 catches for 136 yards and a touchdown. He will likely supplant Shorts as the go-to receiver even if Shorts is healthy. Tight end Clay Harbor has 9 catches, 117 yards and a touchdown. Tight ends Marcedes Lewis and Allen Reisner are both out Sunday with leg injuries. Seven defensive players are listed on the injury report.
Denver si coached by John Fox. The Broncos have home wins over the Baltimore Ravens 49-27, the Oakland Raiders 37-21 and the Philadelphia Eagles 52-20 , along with road wins at the New York Giants 41-23 and last week at the Dallas Cowboys 51-48. The Broncos are 3-1-1 ATS and all five games have gone over the total. Denver was a 7.5 point favorite at the Cowboys last week and the game obviously went over the 56 point total.
The Broncos-Cowboys game was a wild shootout that featured 99 points and over 1,000 combined total yards. Each team had double digit leads and the fourth quarter was back and forth. The Broncos tied it up at 48 with 2:39 left. Dallas Quarterback Tony Romo threw a costly interception at his own 24 after tripping over one of his own offensive linemen. It was the only mistake Romo made all day as he threw for 506 yards with 5 touchdowns and an interception. The Broncos would kick the game winning field goal as time expired to escape with the 51-48 win. Denver quarterback Peyton manning threw for 414 yards with 4 touchdowns and an interception and also added a rushing touchdown. Each team had 2 turnovers, and Dallas had 9 penalties for 81 yards.
Denver is outscoring teams 46-28 this season. The Broncos are #1 in scoring and #25 in points allowed. The 51 points Denver scored last week is equal to how many the Jags have scored all season. Denver is averaging 489.8 yards per game including 373.8 passing yards and 116 rushing yards. The Broncos lead the league in total and passing offense. Denver is allowing 416.6 total yards (#29) on defense including 347 passing yards and 69.6 rushing yards. The Broncos are last in the league in pass defense but first in rush defense. Denver is +1 in turnovers. The Broncos are 35/60 on third down conversions and have yet to attempt a fourth down conversion. Opponents are 26/70 on third and fourth down conversions. The Broncos have forced 15 sacks and allowed 5 this season. The Broncos have 3 special teams touchdowns this season. Denver is averaging 63 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 58.
Manning has completed 75.8% of his passes for 1,884 yards with 20 touchdowns and an interception, along with a rushing touchdown. He is the clear early favorite for the MVP and set an NFL record for most touchdown passes in the first five games. Manning is on pace for 64 touchdown passes, but that will probably not happen. Brock Osweiler is his back-up.
Running back Knowshon Moreno has 65 carries for 331 yards with 4 touchdowns, along with 13 catches for 127 yards. Ronnie Hillman has 32 carries for 137 yards with a touchdown, along with 9 catches for 102 yards. Hillman is probable with an ankle injury. Montee Ball has 40 carries for 124 yards, along with 2 catches for 27 yards.
Receiver Demaryius Thomas has 34 catches, 450 yards and 4 touchdowns. Eric Decker has 29 catches, 427 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is probable with an ankle injury. Julius Thomas has 27 catches for 359 yards and 6 touchdowns. Wes Welker has 31 catches, 315 yards and 7 touchdowns. Kicker Matt Prater is probable with a calf injury. Six offensive linemen and seven defensive players are listed on the injury report. Cornerback Champ Bailey is expected to make his season debut after missing the first five games with a foot injury.
Jacksonville is 4-1 ATS against teams with winning home records, 5-2 in Week Six, 6-15 after passing for more than 250 yards, 7-18-1 against teams with winning records, 6-20-1 after allowing more than 350 total yards, 0-6 in road games and overall, 0-5 after a straight up loss, 0-4 after failing to cover, after allowing 30 points or more, after gaining more than 350 total yards, against AFC teams and on grass. The underdog is 5-1 ATS in the last six in this series, and the Jaguars have covered four of the last five against the Broncos.
Denver is 5-0 ATS against teams with losing records, 5-0-1 after allowing less than 90 rushing yards, 4-0 after allowing more than 30 points, 7-1-1 after allowing 250 passing yards or more, 5-1 after allowing 350 yards or more, 5-1-1 against AFC teams and on grass, 4-1-1 at home and against teams with losing road records, 7-2-1 overall, 9-3-1 after scoring 30 points or more, 6-2-1 after a straight up win, 3-1-1 after passing for more than 250 yards, and 3-9 in October. The over is 7-3 in this series recently including 5-1 in Denver.
Let’s not kid ourselves here. Denver could win this game by 50 points if they wanted. I have seen props up asking the earliest in the game that the Broncos will be up by 28 points (covering the spread). I see the Broncos jumping out to a huge lead, and then letting their foot off the gas in the second half. This just screams back door cover as the Jaguars score some late touchdowns against the Broncos’ terrible defense in garbage time.