Buffalo Bills (4-9 SU, 6-7 ATS) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-9 SU, 5-8 ATS)
NFL Football Week 15
Date and Time: Sunday December 15th, 2013. 1:00PM Eastern
Where: EverBank Field Jacksonville, F.L.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Buf -2/Jax +2
Over/Under Total: 42.5
Believe it or not, the Jacksonville Jaguars are currently
tied for the AFC’s longest winning streak with 3 straight wins. That’s right
you read that line correctly, the Jacksonville Jaguars have a winning streak
going. Earlier this year, there was discussion that the Jaguars could be
one of the worst teams in NFL history. However Coach Gus Bradley has turned
things around as Jacksonville has now won 4 of their last 5 games and the
team appears to be on the upswing. The Jaguars will try to polish off the
2013 season and keep their momentum going this Sunday when they host the
Buffalo Bills at EverBank Field.
The visiting Buffalo Bills have the same 4-9 SU record as the Jaguars. However the Bills have been on the downswing in recent weeks losing 5 of their last 6 games. Primarily offensive woes are to blame. Buffalo averages 23rd in total offense and has posted just 19 points on average in their last 6 outings. Last week the offense really crumbled on a road trip to Tampa Bay. Quarterback E.J Manuel had his worst performance of his young career going 18 for 33 passing with 184 yards, 0 scores, and 4 picks. Not only did Manuel perform poorly, but neither Fred Jackson nor C.J Spiller could do anything positive in the run game. The two tailbacks combined for 16 carries for just 34 yards
Those numbers have been far too common for the Bills offense. C.J Spiller is nowhere near the breakout season that Buffalo expected. Spiller has had a few sparkling moments capped off by big runs but has been extremely inconsistent as an every down back. Fred Jackson has not been much better and as a result that has put a lot of pressure on the rookie quarterback E.J Manuel. Manuel has a lot of upside but he is far from being ready to put an NFL team on his back. So far this season, Manuel has completed 57.8% passing with 9 scores and 8 interceptions. Unless something changes in the running game with the experienced tandem of Spiller and Jackson, I would not expect much to change from the play at quarterback in the final weeks of the season.
Despite the offensive troubles, the Bills do have an underrated defense. On paper the Bills’ defense appears fairly average, but they lead the league in sacks with 44 total on the season. Defensive end Mario Williams is having a huge season with 12 total sacks (3rd in NFL) and the entire defense does a good job of creating pressure on opposing quarterbacks which should be a good challenge for Jacksonville starter Chad Henne.
Despite solid performances in his last few outings, Henne has been turnover prone this season tossing 10 picks compared to just 8 picks. The Jaguars offense relies heavily on the play of their quarterback based on the fact Maurice Jones-Drew is having a subpar year with 719 yards and just 5 scores. If the Bills keep Henne rattled, it could really work to their benefit in stopping Jacksonville’s current 3 game winning streak. The Jaguars have some undersized but elusive receiver threats in Cecil Shorts and the emerging presence of Ace Sanders. Both guys can make plays once the ball gets in their hands so it will be critical that Henne gives both guys plenty of opportunities this Sunday.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Jacksonville appears to be playing with more confidence and enthusiasm as of late which I believe continues this week. Furthermore, the Bills are a disappointing 1-5 ATS in their last 6 road games. I like the Jaguars in a close game to pull out the victory. Also, consider a lean on the ‘over’ as well. I believe this total is a bit low based on the offensive statistics and does not necessarily to how both teams match-up from an offense vs. defense perspective. Therefore consider the over 42.5 a solid bet as well. Good luck!