Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5) at Green Bay Packers (4-3)
So apparently Chad Henne is worse than Blaine Gabbert? I didn’t even know that was possible. Before he got hurt, Gabbert looked serviceable against Oakland’s terrible secondary last week, completing 8 of 12 for 110 yards and a touchdown. However, then Henne came in and went 9 of 20 for 71 yards as the Jaguars blew a lead in Oakland. Gabbert is back this week, so the Jaguars will probably only lose by 25 in Green Bay instead of 30.
The bad news for the Jaguars injury wise is that Maurice Jones-Drew is out at least this week and possibly many more as he’s being described as out indefinitely. He is their best player by far. Last year, he accounted for 47.7% of their yards from scrimmage, most of any non-quarterback since OJ Simpson in 1974. This year, he was at 39.9% heading into last week’s game. As good as Rashad Jennings looked in the preseason, he managed just 44 yards on 21 carries last week against an Oakland run defense that was allowing 4.4 YPC coming in, which would have been 23rd in the league this week. They now rank 8th because of Jennings’ terrible game.
This line is huge (biggest one all year), but we might actually be getting line value with the Packers. The yards per play method of calculating line value suggests this line should be Green Bay -15.5, while rate of sustaining drives differential suggests it should be -17. And Green Bay doesn’t even rank among the elite in the league in those stats, ranking 11th in yards per play differential and 9th in rate of sustaining drives differential. The Jaguars are just so horrible.
The Jaguars’ yards per play differential is -1.6. No one else is worse than -1.1. Their rate of sustaining drives differential is -16.8%. No one else is worse than -11.2%. Even against Oakland in their near win, they had half as many first downs as Oakland and managed a measly 3.4 yards per play to Oakland’s 4.7. With Maurice Jones-Drew out, they don’t stand much chance of keeping this one close unless Green Bay comes out asleep.
I hate laying more than a touchdown with a team and I certainly hate laying more than two touchdowns with a team, but Green Bay is the right side this week. This line is completely legitimate and Aaron Rodgers is playing out of his mind right now, completing 54 of 67 for 680 yards, 9 touchdowns, and no interceptions in his last 2 games. The Packers aren’t as good as they were last year because their offensive line and running game isn’t as good and their defense isn’t forcing as many turnovers. They’re also dealing with injuries as Greg Jennings is still out and Jordy Nelson may join him. Meanwhile, defensively, starters Nick Perry, Sam Shields, and Charles Woodson are out this week, though BJ Raji is expected to return.
In spite of that, it’s once again become reckless to bet against Aaron Rodgers. As a starter, Rodgers is 44-29 ATS, including 36-22 ATS since the start of the 2009 season. As home favorites of 10 or more, he’s 8-3 ATS. He’s playing angry right now and I don’t expect this team to be asleep. I instead expect them to come out firing on all cylinders and get a blowout win here at home over by far the league’s worst team missing its best player. Remember, at 4-3 in the loaded NFC, every game counts so they don’t have time to take a game off. Plus, the loaded NFC is 17-11 ATS against the AFC this year.
Plus, the favorite/dog disparity is eventually going to close. Dogs are 63-39 ATS this year and neither dogs nor favorites have finished more than 10 games above .500 over the course of a whole season in at least a decade. It’s not a big play on the Packers because I hate laying this many points, but I like them. On top of that, they’re also my survivor pick of the week because I’ve somehow managed to not use them at all this year. I’d be stunned if they lost. Only 4 teams have ever lost as 15 point favorites and none since 1995.
Public lean: Green Bay (new thing I’m adding, siding with the odds makers on bets is not a bad thing to do since they make so much money, so I’m listing this here to allow readers to “fade” the public, if they so choose, in this example, the odds makers win if Jacksonville covers)
Sharps lean: GB 10 JAX 5
Final update: No change.
Green Bay Packers 38 Jacksonville Jaguars 16 Survivor Pick (HOU, NE, NO, BAL, SF, ATL, CHI)
Pick against spread: Green Bay -15 (-110) 1 unit