Broncos vs. Jaguars Week 8 Pick & Analysis

by | Oct 26, 2022 | nfl

Denver Broncos (2-5 SU, 2-5 ATS) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-5 SU, 2-5 ATS)

Week 8 NFL

Date/Time: Sunday, October 30, 2022 at 9:30PM EDT

Where: Wembley Stadium, London, England

TV: ESPN+

Point Spread: DEN +3/JAC -3 (Bovada)

Over/Under Total: 39

On Sunday, the Denver Broncos take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in an AFC battle at Wembley Stadium in London. Both teams face a tough week with a lot of travel coming after defeats on Sunday. For Denver, they dropped their fourth game in a row and face a real midseason crisis at 2-5 and some personnel issues in their midst. Jacksonville faces some similar issues, also dropping their fourth game in a row on Sunday in a 23-17 loss to the Giants. Things were looking promising before this slide. Can the Jags reclaim their upside? Can the Broncos belatedly jump-start their season? Let’s break this one down!

Jacksonville: What Happened?

Those who felt the Jags were on their way up can’t really be blamed, even if they don’t look too accurate with their predictions now. After a 24-0 win over Indy and a 38-10 road-smashing of the Chargers, the voices were easy to hear concerning the Jags being a team to watch in the AFC. Four straight losses, and the luster is most definitely off. There has been pronounced regression in different areas. Trevor Lawrence has seen his play fall off, which goes ditto for the offensive line. They’ve been able to spring the run-game here and there but have offered less and less protection in recent weeks. They added some nice pieces, with Travis Etienne shaking off missing last season and ascending to the top of the Jags’ backfield to the extent that they saw fit to deal RB James Robinson to the Jets this week.

The addition of Christian Kirk was nice, also adding Zay Jones and Evan Engram, as three first-year players in this offense, are now Lawrence’s top targets. After a fast start, we’ve seen diminishing returns. It could be related to the offense having to come out of character due to the failings on the other side of the ball. A defense that was stout and making plays has seen a reduction of both over the last month. They shut out Indy and then a few weeks later, give up 34 to the same team. And when their defense does play well, it also often coincides with the offense going into the toilet. Not a lot has gone right.

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Denver: What to Expect Moving Forward

Things just haven’t worked with Russell Wilson, and now he’s banged up with a bad hamstring, having missed the last game. There was no relief with Brett Rypien, who manufactured only 9 points with this offense. There have been injuries and things that could make an offense go awry, but the returns they’ve gotten from this side of the ball have been stunningly-low through 7 games. People have been patient in deferring to the optimism that they can get it together at some point, considering their talent and partially the thoughts we had swimming in our heads in the preseason when we heard Wilson was joining the Broncos. But it’s week eight, and we need to see the writing on the wall too. The hints or suggestions that this offense can orchestrate anything resembling an about-face have been minimal and possibly even non-existent.

We also need to make sure to get a hold of the total picture when evaluating the Broncos. We see a team whose offense is sputtering. But despite not offering much support to the other side of the ball, the Denver “D” has been pretty resilient. After seeing opposing aerial attacks fall flat week after week against the Broncos, what is Trevor Lawrence going to look like on Sunday? Teams can run against Denver on occasion, but there’s a chance that a struggling Jacksonville offense will be given an even narrower scope to success than what they’ve been seeing the last several weeks. And considering the diminishing returns from the Jags on offense, that doesn’t really bode well for this spot.

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Best Hopes for Jacksonville

The Jacksonville franchise has been to London many times, as opposed to a Denver team that hasn’t seen much action across the pond. That could resonate. What the Jags would like to see is either more of Rypien or a compromised Wilson. And a Denver team in the kind of form they’ve been showcasing would offer the Jacksonville “D” a real chance to reclaim at least some of the big-play ability they showed in the first month of the season. There might be a realistic chance that Lawrence and the balance of the Jaguars’ offense won’t find the going that easy on Sunday, with the faraway road trip and a tough defense in their way. They might need their “D” to win the day. Based on current form, that seems dicey until focusing on the struggling offense they will be playing on Sunday.

Take the Points

Taking a stance against a struggling Denver offense that might actually be getting worse while hoping Lawrence and Etienne can maybe scratch and claw their way to offensive success isn’t such a bad plan, I suppose. With the Broncos, nothing is certain as we approach the midway point of the season. But if one thing comes close, it’s a defense that has acquitted itself well against some good offensive teams, despite having an offense that has gone sideways. It might be the most-compelling unit on the field on Wembley on Sunday, and that has to count for something. In a game that looks to be low on points where finding a clear stance isn’t easy, deferring to the Broncos’ defense might be the move. I’ll take the Broncos and the points.

Loot’s Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Denver Broncos plus 3 points.

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