Jacksonville Jaguars (1-7 SU, 2-6 ATS) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (4-2-1 SU, 4-3 ATS)
NFL Week 9
Date and Time: Sunday, November 2, 2014 at 1:00PM EST
Where: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio
by Scott, NFL Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: JAC +12/CIN -12
Over/Under Total: 43.5
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On Sunday, the Jacksonville Jaguars come to Paul Brown Stadium to face the Cincinnati Bengals. Jacksonville, 1-7 on the season, is a big 12-point road underdog against the 4-2-1 Bengals. Cincinnati is in first place in the AFC North, but with all of the teams in their division over .500, they need to keep winning, especially in games like this.
The Bengals are coming off a nice 27-24 win over the Ravens, completing the season sweep over their division rivals. It was a much-needed positive result, as Cincy had gone winless in their previous three games (0-2-1) and were coming off a 27-0 loss the previous week to the Colts. Despite a little slump after a 3-0 start, they looked pretty good beating the Ravens again on Sunday. After leading the whole game, the Ravens climbed back into it late and took the lead, before QB Andy Dalton and his offense stormed down the field for a last-minute go-ahead touchdown.
Jacksonville is 1-7. There is a lot behind that story, but in this bottom-line business, a teams record is its calling card. At the betting windows, theyve only produced slightly better, covering two spreads. Theyre dead-last in points scored at just over 14 points a game. Across all major categories, they are at or near the bottom of the league. Despite injuries, the Jacksonville Jaguars defense can play well at times. Sometimes, its just for a quarter or a half, but teams cant assume it will be a free-for-all offensively, especially a team like Cincinnati. The Bengals offense is hit-and-miss. It doesnt always fire.
With the Jaguars, a team that really didnt need any bad news, injuries have started piling up in the last few weeks. It has affected especially the defense, with DE Andre Branch questionable with corners Will Blackmon and Aaron Colvin out of action. Left tackle Juke Joeckel suffered a concussion and is questionable. Still, the 1-7 record can blind some from seeing the silver lining. There is talent on this team, on both sides of the line of scrimmage.
The Jaguars either have trouble moving the ball or when they do, they have trouble converting that production into actual points. In their last two losses, against Tennessee and Miami last week, they out-gained both of their opponents in terms of total yardage. QB Blake Bortles is going through growing pains that had to be expected, but he is developing. RB Denard Robinson is averaging 4.8 yards per carry and with Toby Gerhart struggling, has given the Jags a nice option in the ground game–critical for the rookie Bortles. And the young QB has a receiver crew that is young, but coming around. Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, a pair of rookies, have combined for 61 catches. Cecil Shorts, hampered by injuries this year, is back and ready to do damage.
Halfway through the season, Cincinnatis Dalton only has 6 TD throws. There have been some injuries, but Dalton needs to make a more meaningful connection with star receiver AJ Green and unleash that part of their arsenal. WR Mohamed Sanu is having his best season. The run game is doing well with Gio Bernard at 446 yards and Jeremy Hill chiming in with good production. In its simplest form, the Bengals offense is a mid-pack threat. They can jump up and get you from time to time, though, especially at home against the likes of Jacksonville.
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In recent seasons, as the Bengals have risen from the ashes of the NFL basement, they have been looked at as a team that stresses defense, with an offense built on eating clock and not messing up things. With the Cincinnati defense ranked 23rd against the pass and 29th against the run, were clearly not seeing the typical robust Bengals D that we had seen over the last several seasons.
The Bengals do a good job keeping the ball, with only 7 turnovers this season, while taking 12 from their opponents. Jacksonville is second-to-last in that category, creating only 8 turnovers while giving it away 21 times–three times more than the Bengals. Cincinnati is a team that can really take advantage of another teams mistakes. Jacksonville will at least need to play a sound game and not sabotage the few legitimate scoring chances they have.
For some, there may be an understandable trepidation about taking the Bengals as a 12-point favorite, even at home. Their offense can be so milquetoast and if they were to fall into a hole somehow, its going to be tough to cover this spread. But Jacksonville may just be that bad, with 5 of their 7 losses far exceeding the margin of this point spread. At the same time, the Jags are playing just a little bit better and I see them hanging in there just well enough to get the cover, perhaps by the backdoor variety.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Jacksonville Jaguars plus 12 points.