In what should be a hard fought AFC battle, the Cincinnati Bengals head down to Florida to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars. This game could have Wild Card implications at the end of the season, as the winner would have a crucial tie breaker. The Bengals are trying to get to .500, while the Jaguars are trying to take control of the AFC South division. Kickoff inside EverBank Field is at 1 PM ET.
Since 2000, the Bengals and the Jaguars have faced off against each other 10 times. During that span, each team has won 5 games. However, the Bengals have won 4 straight against the Jags. The last time these two teams played each other was in 2014. The Bengals have won their last two trips to Jacksonville.
Cincinnati (3-4) needs to wake up and start turning things around. This team was picked to contend for the division, but have fallen short of expectations up to this point. They barely beat Indianapolis last weekend and look to get back into the hunt within their division. The Bengals are 3-3 in the AFC Conference, while the Jags are 4-2. This game has Wild Card potential written all over it.
The Jaguars (4-3) are at the top of the AFC South, but lost to Tennessee this season, which means the Titans have the tiebreaker. Oddly, the Titans are also playing an AFC North division opponent this week. These two divisions are battling it out for potential playoff spots. For the Jags, they show flashes of brilliance one week, only to come back down to earth the next week. Can they put together a winning streak with a victory over the Bengals this weekend?
The spread opened with the Jaguars favored by 2 points. It has since climbed up to 5.5 points. The Over/Under opened at 39.5 points and has gone down to 39 total points.
Not only have the Bengals won 4 straight against the Jaguars, but they are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games and 6-2 ATS over their last 8 games when the line is between 38.5 and 42 points. The Jaguars are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games as a favorite and 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games. Jacksonville is 0-3-2 ATS in their last 5 games against the Bengals and 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 home games against Cincinnati.
With all of that being said, I just don’t see the Jaguars winning by 6 points or more. In fact, these are the kind of games that Andy Dalton and the Bengals win. It’s the kind of game where most people have written off the Bengals, but they somehow find a way to grind out a victory.
The Jaguars have an exciting, young football team with athleticism all over the field. Their defense gives up a lot of yards at 329 ypg, but they don’t give up a lot of points as they’re tied for first with 15.7 ppg. Additionally, they either lead or are near the top of the rankings in sacks and forced turnovers. On the season, Dalton has 8 picks already. So, there is potential for more. And, with a terrible running game at just 78.4 ypg, the Bengals are a one dimensional team that plays into the hands of the Jags defense.
However, the Jaguars offense is also one dimensional in that they’re one of the best running teams in the league, but one of the worst passing teams in the league. And QB Bortles has 5 picks on the season and barely throws the ball during these games. So, if the Bengals can stop rookie phenom RB Leonard Fournette then they have a great chance at making it 5 wins in a row versus Jacksonville. And, I think they will.
I like this Jags defense and Fournette, but Blake Bortles can’t outplay Dalton and I expect Bortles to throw some costly picks in this one. The Bengals only allow 19.3 ppg, so they’re not too far behind the Jags. Also, the Bengals have a stout defense when healthy and I think this is the week they will make their mark on the season.
It’s nice to see teams like the Jags doing well and playing for a potential playoff spot. But, you can’t get caught up in that excitement and forget about that Dalton and the Bengals have been making the playoffs almost every year since Andy has been in the league. I think the Bengals will nip the Jags in this all-feline AFC battle 23-21.