The Jacksonville Jaguars are going to be playing in their third NFL betting affair over the course of just 11 days on Thursday, as they head to the Georgia Dome to tango with the Atlanta Falcons.
The Jaguars hadn’t scored more than 20 points in a game all season long in their first 12 games of the year. That all changed last week when the team put up 28 in the second quarter alone en route to a 41-14 romp over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It was the first win in the coaching career of interim coach Mel Tucker, who is going to try to keep winning games down the stretch to prove that he can indeed be the full-time head coach of this team. The man of the hour last week was RB Maurice Jones-Drew, who had the day of his season and one of the best days of his career. MJD 85 yards as a rusher and 51 as a receiver, and he found the end zone a total of four times on the day. Jones-Drew now has 1,222 rushing yards and 348 yards as a receiver to go with 10 total scores. He is on a pace for just over 1,500 rushing yards, and he needs to pick it up just a bit if he is going to reach the 2,000 all-purpose yardage mark this season.
The Falcons are closing in on a playoff berth, but this is a game that they can’t let slip away. They are currently at 8-5 and a game up on the rest of the field for the Wild Card slots in the conference, and they are two back with three to play of the New Orleans Saints in the NFC South. Losing this game would probably end any chances of winning the division, though we must admit that Atlanta does have a relatively easy schedule left, save for a road game at those Saints next week. The Falcons had a huge second half against the Carolina Panthers last week, including two TD receptions by WR Julio Jones and four total touchdown passes by QB Matt Ryan. The defense has shown some weakness at times, but the truth of the matter is that the team really hasn’t had a bad game since going up to CenturyLink Field against the Seattle Seahawks. The team has only averaged allowing 17.1 points per game against since then, and that includes games against the Panthers twice, the Saints, Packers, and Lions, teams that are simply awesome on offense.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Atlanta Falcons Trends: The Falcons improved to a sturdy 7-2 ATS in their last nine December games with last week’s victory. Meanwhile, Jacksonville is just 2-5-1 ATS in its last eight home games. The last time that Atlanta was beaten in a game SU at home by a team that wasn’t a playoff team was against the 2008 Denver Broncos, a team that finished 8-8 and only just barely missed out on winning the AFC West. Ryan hasn’t lost a home game against a team that is going to finish out a year below-.500 in his career. BTB’s Pick: Jags
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.