The Jacksonville Jaguars haven’t had to plow through the toughest schedule. What’s impressive about the 2017 Jags is not that they have 6 wins, but how they are getting them.
Jacksonville is 6-3 and atop the AFC North division. The defense is holding opponents to less than 15 points on average, and just over 300 total yards of offense per game. The new-vibe Jaguars announced their presence to the world with blow-out wins over Pittsburgh and Baltimore earlier in the season…unfortunately, those games were sandwiched around a nasty loss to the Jets, reminding everyone that it’s still a work in progress.
Speaking of work, how about a work in “not-progress?” That would be the state of the Cleveland Browns in ’17, 0-9 and absolutely hapless after a promising off-season. Cleveland’s loss to Detroit last weekend epitomizes the mental as well as athletic issues that plague the franchise – the Browns actually out-gained the Lions but could not capitalize and folded in the 4th quarter.
But somebody in Vegas felt that this should still be a single-digit spread. Home-field advantage lends a small handful of points, but is the Dawg Pound really that noisy these days?
Who: Jacksonville Jaguars at Cleveland Browns
When: Sunday, November 19th, 1 PM EST
Where: FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, OH
Lines: Jacksonville (-7.5) at Cleveland (+7.5)
What do the Browns have to challenge a dominant defensive team with a revitalized Blake Bortles and Leonard Fournette in the offensive backfield?
All told, Cleveland has DeShone Kizer, and a defense that can play OK on its home field. The Browns held the Titans to 80 yards rushing at FirstEnergy earlier this year. It’s definitely a 2nd major asset.
But the 1st asset may be missing. Kizer is banged up and was limited in practice this week. Cleveland’s other options at QB are bad and pitiful, in that order. That’s bad news with the Jags coming to town.
This will be a competitive ballgame in the 1st half. But Cleveland is winless for a reason, and whether it’s Kizer trying to run around at 80% or one 3-and-out after another by Cody Kessler, they’ll find a way to slip behind by 7 or 10 points in the 3rd quarter. At that point, it’ll be all Jacksonville.
Take the Jaguars to cover (-7.5).