Jacksonville Jaguars (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
NFL Football Week 1
Date and Time: Sunday, September 7, 1:00pm
Where: Lincoln Financial Field – Philadelphia, PA
by Bob, Pro Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: JAX +11/PHI -11
Over/Under Total: 52
During the NFL season, most point spreads range between 3-7 points on average. Being professional football, there are not many times a team is just simply out manned. The Jacksonville and Philadelphia game this Sunday is an example of one of those games where the public appears a team is over matched. The Philadelphia Eagles open their season as 11 point home favorites over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Many experts are picking the Eagles to win the NFC East, while most of these same experts believe the Jaguars will again be bad enough to draft in the top five come next year’s draft. Games with these big point spreads can be tricky, so lets take an extra careful look at this game.
The Jacksonville Jaguars were not a good team last season. To be honest, they were down right awful. Finishing with a record of 4-12, the Jags were just never very competitive. The started the 2013 season with an 8-0 record, and not one of those games were really that close. Out of the four wins they collected, none of them were a “big win.” They beat the Texans twice (big deal), the Browns (yawn), and the Titans (ho-hum). Jacksonville was bad. Not only did their record stink, they were statistically one of the worst teams as well. They finished 31st in rushing, 22nd in passing, and their passing and rushing defenses were also in the bottom 5% of the league as well. With all the negativity around this time, there was one glowing and convenient positivity…they draft quarterback Blake Bortles. After watching the NFL preseason, it is evident that Bortles is the most NFL ready of all the drafted QB’s in this draft. The only problem is, the Jacksonville coaching staff, mainly head coach Gus Bradley, are too stubborn to let this kid play. They are going into this game with Chad Henne listed as the starter, and they plan to keep it that way all season. Now, of course, that could change, but I say let this kid play NOW. He is ready. The key to this game is for Jacksonville to just play unlike Jacksonville. They need long, time consuming drives in order to keep the Eagles offense off the field. If the Jaguars begin to go 3 and out, this game could get real ugly real fast. Again, as bad as Jacksonville is and/or was last season, 11 points is a lot.
The Philadelphia Eagles are coming into the 2014 season with very high hopes. They believe they can not only win the NFC East, but they feel with the up tempo offense they run, they can compete for the NFC title and Super Bowl. The Eagles last season on offense were good….really good. They were the best rushing offense in the entire NFL gaining over 160 yards per contest. The passing offense was not too bad either finishing 9th in the NFL at over 255 yards per contest. The offense was legit. On the defensive side of the ball, Philly wasn’t too terrible either. They had a top 10 rushing defense, but the pass defense was the weakness. Opponents were able to throw for an average of almost 290 yards per game on the Eagles. This number must improve if the Eagles plan on any type of post season, or regular season success. Last season, the Eagles came out with Mike Vick as their starting QB but as time went on, they made the switch to Nick Foles. Foles came out blazing, finishing the season with 27 scoring tosses and just 2 interceptions. That’s right, a 27/2 TD to INT ratio. That is nuts. Of course no one expects Foles to repeat those types of numbers, no one can expect ANYONE to do that, but that just shows the potential this kid has. With Foles tossing the ball around, and with LeSean McCoy heading the rushing attack, this Eagles offense can be one of the best ever. The key to this game, and this season for Philly, is like I said earlier, a better pass defense. If they can continue to stop the run, and also make it a little harder on the opponents passing game, the Eagles can and will win the NFC East.
Bob’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Like I said in my intro, these 11 point spreads are tough to pick. Of course the Eagles should come out and blow the brakes off the Jags, but you never know. I did a little research and I did see this: 79% of the cash is being laid on Philadelphia to cover the spread. When I see an unusually large spread in an NFL game, and then I see almost 80% of people laying money on it, go the other way. Do not get me wrong, I believe the Eagles win this game, no doubt, but lets all calm down a little. Jacksonville wants to get out to a good start and have a better season than 2013. I like Jacksonville to come out and play focused and smart and keep this game a little lower scoring than one would think. I like the Eagles to win by 10. Yes it is double figures, but I do not see them covering anything more than 10. Eagles win this game 24-14. PICK JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS +11