This line favors the Commanders at home by 2.5, suggesting the odds makers view these teams as roughly even. In my season preview, I have the Commanders winning nine games and the Jaguars winning five, so I think this line undervalues Washington. Jacksonville is the healthier team, with Washington starting the season without a pair of key starters on defense, edge defender Chase Young and safety Kamren Curl, but their offense should be better than a year ago, with an upgrade at quarterback, a significantly improved receiving corps, and a healthier offensive line, while their defense is still a solid unit even not at full strength, which they weren’t for most of last season.
Jacksonville is better this year than a year ago as well, but they’re starting from a much lower base point, finishing 31st in overall efficiency and winning three games a year ago, while Washington won seven games and finished 22nd in overall efficiency. Trevor Lawrence has a good chance to take a big step forward in year two with a better coaching staff and supporting cast, but, despite a massive off-season spending spree, they aren’t as improved as they could be and still have a roster that lacks high end talent and that ranks about four points behind Washington in my roster rankings, even with Washington’s defensive injuries. My calculated line has Washington favored by about 5.5 points, so we’re getting good line value with them, crossing the key number of three. This isn’t a big play on Washington, but I like the value here.
Washington Commanders 23 Jacksonville Jaguars 17
Pick against the spread: Washington -2.5