Jacksonville @ New England
Sitting at 100/1 to win it outright in the preseason, Jacksonville now see themselves just one win away from a Super Bowl berth. It’s no secret either that anyone who is not a Patriots fan is rooting for Bortles and company to march into Foxborough and come away with a victory. It’s a very intriguing matchup and should be a far more entertaining contest than the Pats win over Tennessee last weekend.
After Warren Sharp’s fantastic analysis of spotting the Jag’s Achilles Heel in not being able to contain offences who line up with 2 or fewer wide receivers, punters have flipped from giving the Jags a fighting chance to expecting a blowout at the hands of Gronkowski from ’12, 21 & 22’ personnel.
However, the Jags defence is still a quality unit and can generate a legitimate pass rush by sending three to four players at Brady. Brady’s passer rating is below 75.0 when he is hurried or pressured when no blitz is called according to Pro Football Focus.
The mobility of Bortles has become a nice part of the Jags offence in recent weeks and can be successful again on the weekend against a slow linebacking unit. For me, as clichéd as it is, this game comes down to redzone efficiency, an area which both teams excelled in all season both on offence (both top 3) and on defence (both top 5).
Jaguars +7.5 @ 20/23
Over 46 Pts @ Evens
1st Quarter Draw @ 4/1
Ben Koyack Any Time TD @ 8/1 – All targets have come off play-action which the Jags use over 40% of the time. He is also starting to out-snap Marcedes Lewis with each passing week.
Minnesota @ Philadelphia
Before the start of the season, few pencilled in this matchup for a trip to the Super Bowl let alone having Keenum & Foles under centre for both sides. I doubt many had as much faith as the person responsible for the Super Bowl contract who ensured that if the Vikings are the first side to play for a Super Bowl in their own stadium, it will be in the friendly confines of their own locker room – despite the AFC side being the designated home team for the big clash. Bear in mind, this contract was agreed upon back when Minnesota went 5-10 in the regular season and finished last in their division!
Anyway, I digress – I’ll begin with some great news for the Vikings; Andrew Sendejo practiced in full this Friday and looks to be right on track to return from concussion protocol after leaving the Saints game in the second half. His presence is vital in shutting down Ertz.
As a team, Minnesota have surrendered only 650 yards and just 3 TD’s to Tight Ends all season. Couple that stat with the Vikings being the best 3rd down team in the country and it’s imperative that the Eagles offence has success on 1st and 2nd down. I don’t trust Foles and this team to convert medium to long 3rd downs consistently if Minnesota throw a blanket over Ertz. This unit is so much better than the Falcons defence and Nick only had 3 completions past 10 yards in a game where he went for 250+.
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