Week 14 is filled with some exciting matchups that will shape the NFL playoff landscape. One of those games that can impact both conferences is a rare battle between the Seahawks and the Jaguars. Seattle heads out on the road to take on the league’s top defense in a game that both teams need for playoff purposes. The Jaguars look to take advantage of playing at home and hope to slow down Russell Wilson. With two great defenses, and plenty of skilled players, this game is generating quite the buzz. Kickoff inside EverBank Field is at 4:25 PM ET.
Since 2000, these two teams have played 5 times and the Seahawks hold a 4-1 record against the Jaguars. The last time they faced off was in 2013 and Seattle won that game 45-17. However, the last time these teams played in Jacksonville, the Jaguars beat Seattle 26-14 during the 2005 season.
Seattle (8-4) is 4-2 on the road and probably just played their best game of the season last weekend when they upset the top ranked team – Philadelphia Eagles. This week, Seattle must travel to Florida to take on another 8-4 team looking to remain in the playoff hunt. Can Seattle duplicate their effort from last weekend?
The Jaguars (8-4) are 4-2 at home and blew out the Colts last weekend 30-10. They feature the league’s top defense and top rushing team. However, they will be put to the test this weekend as they play a battle tested and star filled Seahawks team. This is the type of game that can cement Jacksonville as a legit contender in the AFC.
The spread opened with Jacksonville favored by 3.5 points. It has since come down to 2.5 points. The Over/Under opened at 39.5 points and has gone up slightly to 40 total points.
This is the time of the year that contenders separate themselves from the pretenders. We’ve seen Seattle do this time and time again over the last several years and we’re currently witnessing it again this season. Seattle just knocked off Philadelphia last weekend and appear to be heading on a collision course with the Rams for the NFC West division.
This weekend, the Seahawks have their work cut out for them as they take on the league’s top defense. The Jaguars only allow 14.8 ppg, are at the top in sacks and turnovers, and hold teams to just 191 ypg through the air. But, the Jags haven’t faced a player like Russell Wilson and they will get a taste of what greatness can do on the field.
Wilson’s stats are eye popping this season. And, he’s being overlooked for the league MVP, but he’s doing things that Wentz, Brees or Brady can’t even do. On the season, Wilson accounts for 29 of the offense’s 30 touchdowns. He’s thrown for 26 and rushed for 3. Additionally, he has produced 82.1% of the offensive output with 3,688 total yards (3,256 passing and 432 rushing).
The Jaguars have been able to hold opposing quarterbacks to a 65.6 passer rating on the season. Wilson comes into this matchup 30 points higher. So, it’s going to be a masterful battle between this defense and Russell.
Offensively, the Jaguars average 149.4 rushing yards per game and are led by rookie Leonard Fournette who has 822 yards and 7 TDs on the season. Fournette has been hampered with an ankle injury over the last month, but looks to be almost healed. He will be counted on to do the dirty work this weekend as the Jags try to move the chains. Seattle has been good against the run, allowing only 98 ypg. If Seattle can limit Jacksonville’s success on the ground then they have a legit chance at winning the game because I don’t like Blake Bortles’ chances against Seattle’s defense.
Bortles has been making more plays over the last few weeks, but he’s not a QB that can go out there and beat an elite level defense like Wilson can. I see Bortles having problems this week as he regresses back into his shell. Seattle will bring the pressure with their front 4 and from blitzing. They will get after Bortles. This will be the difference in the game and why I believe Seattle wins this game 23-17.
Seattle is 6-3 ATS in their last 9 games during the month of December, 6-3 ATS in their last 9 games against the AFC, and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games against Jacksonville. The Jaguars are 1-9 ATS in their last 10 NFC games, 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games as a home favorite of 3 points or less, and 6-12 ATS in their last 18 home games.
Look for Russell Wilson to outplay Bortles and lead his team to victory. Wilson will shine once again and Bortles will fall flat once again. Both defenses will make some plays and shut down the rushing attacks, but you have to like Wilson over Bortles this week. I expect Russell to make just as many plays with his legs as he does with his arm. Bortles will make some plays with his legs too, as he has over the last few games, but his arm and decision making will fall short this weekend.