Jacksonville Jaguars (2-5) at Kansas City Chiefs (5-2)
The Jaguars have had a disappointing 2016 season. A perennial cellar dweller in recent years, the Jaguars entered the off-season with a lot of young talent and cap space to spend to add to their young talent, which they did with free agent additions like Malik Jackson, Chris Ivory, Kelvin Beachum, Prince Amukamara, and Tashaun Gipson. After a strong draft, many had them as a sleeper playoff team, but they’ve started the season 2-5 and look well on their way to another lost season in their 4th season under head coach Gus Bradley. Their offense has definitely been their most disappointing unit, as they’ve failed to move the ball outside of garbage time for most of the season, but this line is 7.5 so the Jaguars’ garbage time “prowess” could really help here. If the Jaguars are down by two scores late, I still like my chances of getting a cover with a late backdoor Jacksonville touchdown.
I don’t think it’ll even get to that point though. I’m not convinced the Jaguars are completely done; they’re not one of the worst rosters in the league and they’re relatively healthy right now compared to the rest of the league. They’ve had a long week off after Thursday Night Football and are installing a new offensive coordinator following the dismissal of Greg Olson, which could provide a spark for an offense that has underperformed it’s talent in competitive game situations this season.
The Chiefs, meanwhile, are without starting quarterback Alex Smith and their top two running backs Spencer Ware and Jamaal Charles, leaving them with a backfield of Nick Foles and Charcandrick West. Both of those players have some starting experience, but this isn’t a great offense to begin with so it’s tough to ask them to cover a 7.5 point line, especially considering 51.3% of games have been decided by a touchdown or less this season (compared to 45.8% from 2006-2015). That’s because the NFL is a lot of teams that aren’t far from average this season. This line is way too high.
The Jaguars are also in a great spot here in their 2nd of two road games. Teams are 133-102 ATS as road underdogs off a road loss since 2008, including 105-70 ATS when it’s their 2nd of 2 road games. This is because teams tend to do better in their 2nd straight road game than their first one, but lines don’t really adjust for this. Teams are 226-241 straight up in their 2nd of two road games since 2008, getting outscored by an average of 0.85 points per game, as opposed to 323-453 straight up in their 1st of one road game since 2008, getting outscored by an average of 3.03 points per game. I like Jacksonville a lot at 7.5 or higher.
Kansas City Chiefs 20 Jacksonville Jaguars 17
Pick against the spread: Jacksonville +7.5