Jacksonville Jaguars (10-4 SU, 9-5 ATS) vs. San Francisco 49ers (4-10 SU, 7-7 ATS)
NFL Week 16
Date/Time: Sunday, December 24, 2017 at 4:05PM EST
Where: Levis Stadium, Santa Clara, California
by Scott, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: JAC -4/SF +4
Over/Under Total: 42
On Sunday, the Jacksonville Jaguars come out west to face the San Francisco 49ers in week 16 action. Both teams are coming off a good week. Sure, theyre out of it, but the 49ers are looking to make some big things happen and after an 0-9 start, theyve won 3 in a row and 4 of 5 games. Last week, they beat another AFC South team in the playoff mix with a 25-23 win over Tennessee. They look to play the spoiler role this week over the 10-win Jaguars. Last Sunday, Jacksonville clinched a playoff spot with a 45-7 rout over the Houston Texans. They can win the division with a win this week. Can the Niners stay on the winning track or will the Jaguars be too much for them?
For the 49ers to overcome an 0-9 start and go on this latest run is a great step forward for the coaching staff and all the youngsters who have been asked to rise up. The injuries on this team have been non-ceasing and theyve gotten great results recently nonetheless. The offense has gotten a boost from QB Jimmy Garoppolo since he joined the team, as he has already managed to establish himself as the QB of their future. A defense that has been forced to dig deep for answers has been respectablea far cry from where theyve been over the past few seasons. And suddenly, a team that was rolled over on their backs at 0-9 has something for which to be hopeful.
Garoppolo was big on Sunday for the 49ers. After Tennessee took the 23-22 lead late, he completed a few late passes to put them in position, with K Robbie Gould hitting the game-winner as time ran out. Its not easy to pull one out like that against a team fighting for the playoffs. And its made all the more-impressive that Garoppolo is doing it with a pretty thin cast of playmakers. RB Carlos Hyde is a weapon, but sometimes his production is small and it was on Sunday. Garoppolo had to carry the team and did so with 381 yards through the air and the clutch-play late. He has shown the capacity for the big play and has connected well with WR Marquise Goodwin, who had 10 catches and 114 yards against the Titans. He likes Garrett Celek up-close and he caught another touchdown on Sunday. They have young talent on this side of the ball and Garoppolo is helping some of them shine. They look for more of the same this week.
The 49ers defense has been hit by an inordinate amount of injuries this season. Combine that with their form over the last couple of seasons and it added up to big trouble. While far from a good defense, the fact that theyve been as good as they are says a lot. Its important to know how deep they had to dig just to field this defense. There are two promising rookies who offer promise in DE Solomon Thomas and LB Rueben Foster. Guys like Eric Reid and DE DeForest Buckner and nice pieces to build around and next season, some better health and a few personnel moves could resonate very well.
Jacksonville is on a nice run of success, putting up 7 wins in their last 8 games. They have a certain look that certainly resembles a legit contender, as hard as it might be for our brains to catch up to that potential reality. The defense has been stout and adept at changing the game with big plays all season. Rarely has that defense not manifested in a game this season. The offense has overcome injuries to almost all their top playmakers. They look to get Leonard Fournette back this week and he will play, with the rookie back having added a lot on that side of the ball. But Blake Bortles has started working better with their aerial-game and it all adds up to problems for their opposition.
Fournette had given this Jacksonville offense a much-needed dose of big-play ability. He will return Sunday and is a big asset. It was still impressive to see QB Blake Bortles operate without him. Theyve gotten a big boost from rookie receiver Keelan Cole, who was magnificent on Sunday with 186 yards and a score. Hes been big lately, with much of the Jaguars receiving talent shelved. Its almost like it hasnt mattered. Youngsters like Jaydon Mickens are stepping up and getting the job done. In Fournettes absence, they can usually string together something between guys like TJ Yeldon, Chris Ivory, and Corey Grant. This offense looks to be hitting its stride at just the right time.
A stance on San Francisco can certainly be justified on any number of levels. They have risen to the spoiler role. They are at home in a foreign venue for the Jaguars, playing hungry and getting points. Earlier this season, it looked like it would take a few years for them to start delivering the kinds of performances they have produced over the last month or so. The feeling here is that while San Frans spurt is nice, they may hit a wall this week against a higher-level Jags team that brings it every week. I see Jacksonville putting it on thick this week to sew up the division. Ill take the Jaguars.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Jacksonville Jaguars minus 4 points. - Bet this game for FREE by taking advantage of a 100% bonus (Deposit $100, get $100 FREE!)at the web’s oldest sportsbook: Intertops!