San Diego Chargers (2-8 SU, 3-7 ATS) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-6 SU, 6-4 ATS)
NFL Week 12
Date/Time: Sunday, November 29, 2015 at 1:00PM EST
Where: EverBank Stadium, Jacksonville, Florida
by Scott, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: SD +4/JAC -4
Over/Under Total: 46.5
The San Diego Chargers come into Ever Bank Stadium on Sunday to face the Jacksonville Jaguars. The season gets worse and worse for the Chargers after losing at home to the Chiefs on Sunday, 33-3. They are now overturned on their back and well see if they can rise up for this game. They will be facing a Jacksonville squad that has steadily been making gains, winning 3 of their last 4 games, including a 19-13 win last Thursday over the Titans. They are just 4-6, but only one game behind Houston and Indy in the AFC South.
The Chargers have been destroyed by injuries. Theyve had trouble fielding an offensive line, with injuries constantly plaguing that part of the team. Philip Rivers main weapons are gone. Rookie Melvin Gordon hasnt been able to get untracked with the O-line in such disarray. And while the defense has gotten healthier, they too have been decimated at times by the injury bug this season, while not playing terribly well.
Its hard to not feel for Philip Rivers. Hes probably played as good as any quarterback in the NFL this season, but is just hasnt manifested into much. He just doesnt have the right stuff around him to win. He has over 3200 yards on nearly 70% completions. He has been doggedly trying to lead this offense all season, betrayed time and again by a shoddy line and skill players going down to injury, including Keenan Allen and Malcom Floyd. In terms of total yards, the Chargers are fifth overall and 3rd in passing offense. Yet, they are averaging just over 21 points per game.
There is not a team in the NFL that does less with the offensive production that they are able to create than San Diego. Despite being able to move the ball, drives inexplicably stall and red zone opportunities are squandered time and again. On offense, they underachieve constantly. You get the feeling they should be able to get more out of what they have. On both sides of the ball, the Chargers are plagued by a total and complete lack of clutch play.
The San Diego defense is second-last in the league in points allowed, giving up over 28 per game. They arent that good against the pass and downright leaky against the run. But so are a lot of teams. And those defenses are able to sometimes come up with a big timely play. With the San Diego D this season, anything that can go wrong does. If a team needs a late drive to win the game, theyll get it. If they get a stop, a penalty will come up. Its been upsetting to watch. Its the main reason the Chargers have lost six straight games.
While the Jaguars are benefitting from playing in a dilapidated AFC North, they are making gains as a team. With three wins in four games, they are in a rare position to still be in division contention this late in the season. It didnt start off well for the Jaguars this season, as they began the season at 1-5, squarely in the discussion of the worst teams in the NFL. Theyve since won 3 of 4, starting with a big comeback win over the Bills in London over a month ago.
The Jaguars offense has made tremendous progress this year, with second-year quarterback Blake Bortles having a good season. Granted, hes thrown 8 picks in the last five games, but hes doing a lot of good things, as well. He has thrown 20 touchdowns, while making full use of a pair of really good receivers in Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson. Running back TJ Yeldon has had his ups and downs this season, but gives the Jags a viable option coming out of the backfield. Other ball-catchers could give this Jacksonville aerial game even more bite, with Bryan Walters getting more involved, as well as Marqise Lee coming back from an injury. TE Julius Thomas has been quiet, but scored a big TD against Tennessee in their last game.
The progress of the Jacksonville defense lags behind the offense. They still have a ways to go. They are porous against the pass, something that could manifest badly this week against the aerially-inclined Chargers offense. They are 28th in points allowed and simply not very robust. But unlike the Chargers lately, they can at least come up with a positive development every now and then, something to put toward the team cause. They can rush the passer some, though theyve picked off opposing passers just five times this season.
Its still hard to wrap ones head around the utter failure of the Chargers season this year. At least before they were competitive in their losses. But to get hammered 33-3 at home by their division rival Chiefs was a true eye-opener. Not even the retirement of Ladainian Tomlinsons number at half time could resonate with this team. Not too many weeks ago, they were a 4-point favorite to beat the Steelers and are now 4-point dogs to the Jaguarsa precipitous fall for a team a lot of respected minds in football suspected could unseat the Broncos as AFC West champions this season.
There is some good value for the Chargers here at +4. For all their issues, they can still move the ball with Philip Rivers, who should have moments of success in this game against a Jags defense that is still developing. Jacksonville has more to play for and is in better overall form, but I see a competitive game that could go either way. Im taking the points.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the San Diego Chargers plus 4 points.
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