Jacksonville Jaguars (7-3) at Arizona Cardinals (4-6)
The Jaguars will be without cornerback All-Pro caliber cornerback Jalen Ramsey in this game, the first major injury they’ve dealt with on defense. That would be a huge blow to a lot of teams, but the Jaguars still have arguably the best defense in the league even without him and fellow cornerback AJ Bouye is more than capable of being a #1 cornerback. They don’t have a tough opponent either, as they head to Arizona to take on the Cardinals. The Cardinals once had one of the best rosters in the NFL, but they’ve lost so much talent, even just in the last year and now they have arguably the worst roster in the NFL.
Quarterback Carson Palmer, running back David Johnson, left guard Mike Iupati, offensive tackle DJ Humphries, safety Tyvon Branch, and outside linebacker Markus Golden are on injured reserve. Defensive tackle Corey Peters and wide receiver John Brown are out for this game as well. Defensive end Calais Campbell, safety Tony Jefferson, safety DJ Swearinger, middle linebacker Kevin Minter, wide receiver Michael Floyd, and cornerback Marcus Cooper left in free agency. Right guard Evan Mathis retired. Middle linebacker Deone Bucannon, offensive tackle Jared Veldheer, and defensive back Tyrann Mathieu are struggling and do not seem 100% back from their off-season injuries.
The Cardinals have made some nice additions like safety Antoine Bethea, cornerback Tramon Williams, defensive back Budda Baker, and running back Adrian Peterson, but that doesn’t come close to replacing what they’ve lost. They also have gotten next to nothing positive from their last 2 first round picks, defensive end Robert Nkemdiche and linebacker Haason Reddick. I wish Ramsey was playing, but I still have this line calculated at -6.5, so we’re still getting some line value with the Jaguars, as I don’t think this line truly takes into account how bad the Cardinals are without all of the players they’ve lost due to injury. Last week they lost by double digits to the Texans.
The Cardinals are also in a tough spot because they have to host the Rams next week, a game in which they are 6 point underdogs on the early line. Teams are just 36-67 ATS since 2014 before being home underdogs of 4.5 or more, as big upcoming home games tend to present a major distraction for teams. On top of that, if the Cardinals get down big early, a strong possibility, they could just quit with another tough game on deck. The Jaguars, meanwhile, have a nice, easy home game against the Colts on deck and should play well with no real upcoming distraction. They have a good chance to win by a touchdown or more, so Jacksonville is worth a bet as long as the line is less than 6.
Jacksonville Jaguars 20 Arizona Cardinals 12
Pick against the spread: Jacksonville -5