Atlanta Falcons vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Date and Time: Saturday, August 25, 2018, 7 p.m. ET
Location: EverBank Field, Jacksonville, FL
Opening NFL Odds: Jaguars -3, 41.5
Falcons vs. Jaguars TV Coverage: Local TV
As was the case last preseason when the Falcons went 0-4 SU and ATS the year following a debilitating loss to New England in the Super Bowl, Atlanta hasn’t shown much of a desire to compete in this exhibition season either. After going through the motions in a 17-0 blanking at the hands of the Jets in Week 1, they followed that poor performance up with a 28-14 home defeat to the Chiefs.
Matt Ryan did see some burn in that one competing 5 of 7 passes for 90 yards and a touchdown to rookie Calvin Ridley. Matt Schaub was solid in his backup role as well completing 70 percent of his passes for 75 yards and a touchdown. While we’d like to see Matty Ice having a full allotment of receiving help to shut the Jags’ Jalen Ramsey up, Julio Jones won’t be participating the rest of the preseason. Neither will Devonta Freeman.
After suffering a tough 24-20 loss to the Saints the opening week in a game the Jaguars surrendered 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, Jacksonville’s defense buckled down in a big way last week in Minnesota where it dominated en route to the 14-10 outright win and cover as 4 point dogs per the closing NFL odds. It limited the Vikings to 238 yards of combined offense and forced two turnovers. The unit made Kirk Cousins look like a fool limiting him to a 3 of 8 showing and just 12 passing yards!
While the starters were in, Leonard Fournette and TJ Yeldon proved to be a dynamic duo with the former rushing for 12 yards and a score on 12 carries and the latter reeling in five passes for 73 yards. Those two will be leaned on heavily over the course of the regular season to set the offense up in favorable spots, and allow for the loaded defense to recover on the sideline when need be.
Player To Watch
Taven Bryan – Any time you got a stud like Calais Campbell on your defensive line, you’re in good shape. Add to the mix Pro Bowler Yannick Ngakoue, and you’re in excellent shape. This past offseason, Tom Coughlin added the defensive linemen out of Florida to an already formidable bunch. Unfortunately, the rookie hasn’t been able to get onto the field due to an abdominal injury. He returned to practice at the tail end of last week but sat out the game against the Vikings. He is however slated to play against the Falcons.
Campbell went as far as saying this, “He is the best rookie I have had in my career, which is a big statement.” That’s high praise from one of the best in the business. It’s time Bryan showed just that, and if he does, Jacksonville’s defense is likely to become even more formidable than it already is.
Falcons vs. Jaguars Free Picks
Early betting on the NFL betting lines finds the betting markets siding with the Falcons ever so slightly. Though the opener of -3 is yet to move, nominal -115 vig is now attached to visiting Atlanta. Pretty surprising when you take into account Quinn’s 5-9 SU and 4-10 ATS tallies in the preseason. Maybe it has more to do with Ramsey’s trash talking.
However, Jacksonville is yet to win or cover a preseason home game under Marrone’s watch, so that balances the scales out a bit. That said, I’m expecting the Jaguars to defend their home turf in this tilt. Atlanta’s backups, save for Schaub, have been pretty brutal while the Jags have done a good job not turning the ball over. That should be enough for Jacksonville to pull away late and secure the home win and cover.
NFL ATS Pick: Jacksonville - at BookMaker.eu
NFL Score Prediction: Jaguars 24 – Falcons 17