By Nick Raffoul
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With a 1-6 record, the Jaguars have underwhelmed under head coach Urban Meyer, who finds himself on the hot seat in his first season on the sidelines in the NFL. Meanwhile, the Bills continue to cruise towards the postseason. Buffalo has won five of its first seven games while going 4-2-1 against the spread during that span. For reference, the Jaguars are 2-5-0 against the spread, including 0-3 at home.
Can Jacksonville cover the number as heavy underdogs at home against the Bills on Sunday?
Lawrence continues to underwhelm under Urban Meyer
Jacksonville was thumped 31-7 against the Geno Smith-led Seattle Seahawks last week. Trevor Lawrence reverted to his previous form, completing 32-of-54 passes for only 238 yards with one touchdown and one interception on the day. Jacksonville’s offense put together an embarrassing effort, failing to score until less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter.
The near shutout would have been the first of Lawrence’s career at any level. The No. 1 overall pick has endured a tough rookie season. He’s completed fewer than 60 percent of his passes (59.6) for 1,703 yards with more interceptions (nine) than touchdowns (eight). As the franchise continues to preach patience, it might be time to start putting the magnifying glass on the Jaguars’ starting quarterback. Lawrence has thrown for one touchdown or fewer in six consecutive games and his current QBR ranks 29th in the league.
On defense, Jacksonville has given up 29.0 points per game and 386 yards of total offense per contest. While the Jaguars rank in the middle of the pack against the run, they have been among the worst teams in the NFL against the pass, allowing 278.1 yards per game through the air, good for the fourth-worst mark in the league.
Allen gets rolling as Bills bounce back vs. Miami
Buffalo took down Miami 26-11 last week behind a strong game from quarterback Josh Allen. Allen completed 29-of-42 passes for 249 yards with two touchdowns and added a team-high 55 rushing yards and a score in the win. Slot receiver Cole Beasley added 10 catches for 110 yards for the Bills, who limited the Dolphins to just 261 yards of total offense and 4.1 yards per play in the win.
Allen has been quietly putting up excellent numbers during Buffalo’s strong start. He’s completed 65.4 percent of his passes for 1,972 yards with 17 touchdowns and only three interceptions. The 25-year-old has also added 269 yards and three rushing touchdowns, which is tied for first on the team.
Despite Allen’s contributions on the ground, Buffalo remains without a true home run hitter on the ground. While the Bills rank ninth in the NFL in rushing yards per game, no Bills player has rushed for 100 yards in a game this season. Devin Singletary leads the backfield with 339 rushing yards this year but he’s lost work in recent weeks after fumbling four times through the first four games.
On defense, Buffalo has surrendered only 15.6 points per game, the best mark in the NFL. The Bills’ defense also leads the league in total defense (269 yards per game) and pass defense (182.4 yards per game), while ranking fifth in the NFL against the run, allowing 86.6 yards per game.
The Bills have been among the best teams in the NFL on both sides of the ball. Buffalo leads the NFL in turnover margin. It also ranks first in the league in scoring defense and total defense as well. Yet, this could be a nice buy-low spot for the Jaguars, who are coming off of their worst loss of the season. Things can’t get much worse than a 24-point drubbing at the hands of Geno Smith and Lawrence seems due for a good game. Take the Jaguars to cover the number at home on Sunday.
Prediction: Jacksonville Jaguars +14.5
Written By Nick Raffoul , “Nick Raffoul”
Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. He has been a very successful sports bettor over the years and has now brought his talents to us here at Winners & Whiners. Nick uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits. Let Nick win for you.