NFL Week 1 Odds: Green Bay Packers at Jacksonville Jaguars

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Aaron Rodgers is looking to extend the Packers’ playoff appearances to eight consecutive seasons in 2017.

Green Bay Packers at Jacksonville Jaguars
Time: NOON (CT) – FOX
Spread: GB -4.5
M/L: GB -225, JAX +185
Total: 47.5

Betting odds c/o 5dimes

2015 was a bit of a down year for Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. An ACL tear suffered by lead receiver Jordy Nelson had plenty to do with it, but when the smoke cleared the Packers had tallied a 10-6 record.

Green Bay made the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season, but it is a tough proposition as to whether this is really a contending team. The OL returns five healthy starters, which should be an immense help, and Eddie Lacy is ready to prove himself in what is a contract season.

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Rodgers is now 32 years old, but even last year, his worst as a starter, was still not that bad. He threw 32 TDs and eight INTs, but the two-time MVP had his issues with pocket protection, falling victim to being sacked 46 times last season. Not having Nelson to launch it to played its fair role in that, as well.

Lacy, too, needs to stay on top of his conditioning. He had ballooned to 250 pounds and it led to him being benched in January. His offseason conditioning seemed to attack the problem head on, and James Starks will be in the mix after outplaying Lacy last season. Starks is a good RB with speed, strength, and improving receiving skills. His four fumbles in Dec. last season were troubling, but between he and Lacy the Packers should be good on the ground.

Rodgers may have to do even more this season after throwing a career high 572 passes last year. The OL being better will play a role in this, but the Packers also need Lacy performing at his typical level (and he probably will because getting paid is a pretty good motivator).

The Jacksonville Jaguars have not made the playoffs since 2007, nor has the team posted a winning record since that point. The Jags have dropped 11 games or more in each of the past five seasons, and drawing Green Bay in Week 1 is a tough going to get this franchise on track early in 2016.

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Last year Jacksonville finished 5-11, but there were some improvements in their play. Jacksonville improved its pass game from 31st in the NFL to No. 10, and a host of improving young talent on the roster should up the Jags wins’ this season a bit further still. But do not expect too much: Blake Bortles is a very good QB but still earning his wings. Last season, Bortles threw for 4,428 yards and both Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns topped 1,000 receiving yards. All three are back under OC Greg Olson’s system, and the Jaguars should be a dangerous team in the air this season.

Chris Ivory was signed to help fix the running game, and it ranked just 27th last season. T.J. Yeldon’s health is imperative too, after playing banged up as a rookie when he still managed 740 yards on the season. Bortles, though, is the main attraction. He threw for franchise records for yardage, completions (355) and pass attempts (606), and the former UCF Knight seems to have all the tools to be a very good NFL quarterback. Bortles needs to clean up his picks and cut down on those mistakes, but the maturation of Bortles should take care of that on its own. Veteran Chad Henne backs him up.

Jacksonville went 2-4 in the division last year, and it is reasonable that they flip that to 4-2 this season. If The team can split the other 10 games 5-5, then that puts the Jags at nine wins which would be a heady improvement over last season’s 5-11. It would be the first winning season in a decade. Bortles should give the Jags the QB necessary to really build some sustained success, but the Jaguars have a tough draw in facing four of the NFL’s toughest QBs in the first four weeks.

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