NFL Atlanta vs. Jacksonville- Best Pick and Preview Sunday
NFL Atlanta vs. Jacksonville (Sunday, London)
It’s the beginning of the NFL’s annual backpacking through Europe, with the 2-1 Atlanta Falcons and the 1-2 Jacksonville Jaguars meeting on the pitch Wembley Stadium in London Sunday morning (ET).
Overall, five European games are scheduled this season.
Atlanta suffered a 20-6 loss to the Detroit Lions on the road last week, that after beginning the season with home wins over the Carolina Panthers and Green Bay Packers.
The disappointing Jaguars have lost their last couple, a brutal 37-17 home defeat against the Houston Texans last Sunday. Jacksonville couldn’t get its act together until the matter was settled, a 17-0 hole at halftime, 24-10 after three.
Jacksonville was expected to roll in the AFC South, but instead has been a flawed team.
Jacksonville is a field-goal favorite (total at 43½), according to NFL odds.
Moneyline has the Jaguars -160, Falcons at +140.
Jacksonville is the +130 favorite to win the AFC South, while the Falcons are priced at +155 (that’s second choice) in the NFC South, per NFL division odds.
It’s the ninth-ever meeting between these “southern rivals” to date, Atlanta with a 5-3 series.
“D” in Dixie
Atlanta won’t scare anyone with its offense, but the defense has carried the mail. Atlanta is the eighth-stingiest unit, having surrendered just 287.7 yards per game. Granted, last week’s opponent (Detroit, 358 yards) is more potent than either of the Falcons’ victims (Carolina and Green Bay) to date. but that side of the ball has definitely propelled Atlanta early this season.
Quarterback Desmond Ridder (553 passing yards, two touchdowns, one interceptions) has not been tasked with winning the games, just not losing them. Bijan Tobinson (39 carries 213 yards, 5.5 yards/carry) and Tyler Allgeier (38 carries, 135 yards) form a backfield that’s solid.
Until Ridder proves he has the ability to whip teams through the air, expect the opposition to stuff and line of scrimmage.
While not glitzy, 2-1 is 2-1. Atlanta will gladly take that record across the pond..
Jags Aren’t Chic
Jacksonville, after its surprising run to the AFC South title (and a stirring rally against the Los Angeles Chargers in the playoffs) last season, became a wise-guy choice this season.
With just 26 points in their last two games, the no-longer-vaunted offense has not thrived.
Quarterback Trevor Lawrence, among the MVP contenders entering the season, has struggled (736 yards, three touchdowns, two interceptions) thus far. With a completion percentage above 64 percent, it’s not the accuracy, it’s the production when it counts. As was mentioned, Jacksonville was down, 17-0, at the half (at home) last week to previously winless Houston.
In a true fluke statistically, Jacksonville has a trio of receivers (Evan Engram, Christian kirk, Calvin Ridley) with exactly 173 yards each.
Running back Travis Etienne Jr. (49 carries, 205 yards, 4.2 yards/carry) has 11 catches as well, but he, too, has not enjoyed a breakout performance to date.
With a 19th-ranked defense (348.3 yards/game), Jacksonville hasn’t done its offense any favors to this point in the season.
Jags at “Home”
Sunday is the 10th London game the Jacksonville Jaguars have played to date, with a record of a 4-5 (Atlanta is 1-1).
If nothing else, it’s the Jags’ larger fan base in Europe which may (or not) mean something in this game. A desperate Jacksonville team is taken to make a sufficient amount of plays. Perhaps not pretty, but a win’s a win.
Taking the Jags -3 in a game which should go over as well.
Andy has been writing and posting about offshore sportsbooks for over 15 years. He's also an active sportsbook bonus seeker and seasoned online gambler on US sports.
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