Seattle Seahawks at Jacksonville Jaguars: 2017 Week 14 NFL Pick

Seattle Seahawks (8-4) at Jacksonville Jaguars (8-4)

The Seahawks won on Sunday Night Football last week at home against the Philadelphia Eagles, who previously had the best record in the NFL. That shouldn’t have been a huge surprise though, considering how much of an advantage west coast teams have against east coast teams in night games. The Seahawks have done especially well in night games, as they are now 18-5 ATS in the Russell Wilson era in regular season primetime games, including 6-2 ATS against east coast teams.

This week, they don’t have that advantage, as they go to Jacksonville for this afternoon matchup. Teams also tend not to cover off of a home upset win, covering the spread at about a 45% rate the following week, as teams tend to be a little overrated and a little overconfident after home upsets. The Seahawks’ win last week shifted this line from -3 on the early line to -2.5 now this week and the public is still all over the Seahawks. That might not seem like a huge shift, but about 1 in 6 games are decided by exactly a field goal, so it’s pretty significant.

The Seahawks also are in a tough spot because they have to turn around and play the Rams next week, a game that could decide the division. The Jaguars, meanwhile, only host the lowly Texans. I’m not saying the Seahawks are going to look past the Jaguars, but they might be a little flat this week after a huge home win with another tough home game on deck. The Jaguars, meanwhile, have no upcoming distractions and will likely be viewing this as a statement game. With their defense, they are good enough to be considered one of the top-10 teams in the league. I have this line calculated at -3 even before any situational trends are taken into account, as I have these two teams close to even with Seattle banged up defensively. As long as you can get this line lower than 3, the Jaguars are worth a small bet because of the line value and the good spot.

Jacksonville Jaguars 17 Seattle Seahawks 13

Pick against the spread: Jacksonville -2.5

Confidence: Medium

Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars: 2017 Week 13 NFL Pick

Indianapolis Colts (3-8) at Jacksonville Jaguars (7-4)

The Jaguars lost last week in Arizona as 5 point road favorites, but it was a very close game that could have gone either way and the Jaguars still had a positive first down rate differential in the game, +4.78%. On the season, they rank 4th in first down rate differential at +4.76%. Part of that is because of their easy schedule, but they are a top-10 team because of their defense and running game. In a lot of ways, they remind me of the 2015 Denver Broncos. I’m not saying I’d pick them to win the Super Bowl, but I wouldn’t have picked the Broncos to win the Super Bowl in 2015 either. At the very least, the Jaguars will be a tough out in the first round of the playoffs.

The Jaguars return home this week and get another easy game with the Colts coming to town. While the Jaguars are a likely playoff team, the Colts are one of the worst teams in the league, as they rank in the bottom-5 in both my roster rankings and in first down rate differential. This line is pretty high at 9.5, but I have this line calculated at -13.5, so we’re still getting some line value with the Jaguars. I wish the Jaguars weren’t missing talented outside linebacker Telvin Smith, but they are deep enough at linebacker with Myles Jack and Paul Posluszny to get by. Even without Smith, this is still arguably the best defense in the NFL. The Colts, meanwhile, will be without starting center Ryan Kelly and top cornerback Rashaan Melvin. Jacksonville is worth a small bet as long as this line is below 10.

Jacksonville Jaguars 23 Indianapolis Colts 10

Pick against the spread: Jacksonville -9.5

Confidence: Medium

Jacksonville Jaguars at Arizona Cardinals: 2017 Week 12 NFL Pick

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

Confidence: Medium

Jacksonville Jaguars at Cleveland Browns: 2017 Week 11 NFL Pick

Jacksonville Jaguars (6-3) at Cleveland Browns (0-9)

The Browns led the Lions 24-17 in the 3rd quarter last week, despite allowing a return touchdown earlier in the game and getting no points out of a goal line opportunity at the end of the half, but they ended up losing 38-24 when the Lions scored three straight touchdowns. Despite numerous screw ups, the game was one of their best of their winless season. One of the reasons for that is that their defense was fully healthy coming out of the bye, after defensive end Myles Garrett, outside linebacker Jamie Collins, and cornerback Jason McCourty all missed time in the first half of the season.

Collins unfortunately got hurt again last week and now is out for the season, but he wasn’t playing that well, so the Browns still have a decent defense out there. They’re obviously not fully healthy on offense without perennial All-Pro left tackle Joe Thomas, but they do get #1 receiver Corey Coleman back from a 7 game absence this week. The Jaguars, on the other hand, are without a pair of starters on the offensive line, left guard Patrick Omameh and right tackle Jermey Parnell, and stud running back Leonard Fournette is at less than 100% with his ankle injury. Given that, we’re getting some line value with the Browns at +7.5, but not enough to pick them confidently as they still figure to have a major problem scoring on the Jaguars’ tough defense.

Jacksonville Jaguars 16 Cleveland Browns 10

Pick against the spread: Cleveland +7.5

Confidence: Low

Los Angeles Chargers at Jacksonville Jaguars: 2017 Week 10 NFL Pick

Los Angeles Chargers (3-5) at Jacksonville Jaguars (5-3)

The Chargers are 3-5, but I think they are very underrated and borderline a top-10 team in terms of talent. They rank 7th in first down rate differential at +3.12% and are only 3-5 because they’ve lost 3 games by 3 points or less, including two games in which they missed makeable field goals. That’s pretty impressive considering they basically don’t have a homefield, as the recently relocated Chargers do not draw any home fans in Los Angeles.

With better luck in close games and a real home stadium, this team could easily be 5-3 or 6-2. They are 3-1 ATS on the road, as they are this week in Jacksonville, with their one loss coming by 8 points in New England as 7.5 point underdogs. That’s been the story for years with them, even dating back to their San Diego days. They are 13-7 ATS on the road since 2015 and 12 of their last 26 losses have come by 4 points or less.

The Jaguars are a borderline top-10 team too, as they have arguably the best defense in the league, which allows them to run the ball and hide Blake Bortles. However, I think this line is too high at 4.5, especially with the Chargers getting middle linebacker Denzel Perryman back from injury out of the bye. These two teams are more or less even, so I have this line at 3. The Chargers have a good chance to win outright and, if they lose, it could easily be another close loss. About 30% of games are decided by 4 points or less, even more so when the Chargers are involved, so getting 4.5 points gives us a decent sized cushion. The Chargers are worth a small bet.

Jacksonville Jaguars 20 Los Angeles Chargers 17

Pick against the spread: LA Chargers +4.5

Confidence: Medium

Cincinnati Bengals at Jacksonville Jaguars: 2017 Week 9 NFL Pick

Cincinnati Bengals (3-4) at Jacksonville Jaguars (4-3)

The Jaguars entered the season near the top of my underrated list and I’ve taken them in 6 of 7 games so far this season, covering the spread in 4 of those 6 games. However, the general public is starting to catch on that this is a legitimate team, led by arguably the best defense in the NFL. They open as 5.5 point favorites this week against the Bengals, after being -3 on the early line last week. As a result of that line movement, we’ve lost all line value with the Jaguars, as the Bengals are an underrated team.

The Bengals have played better offensively since firing their offensive coordinator after the first 2 games of the season and they should have a better turnover margin going forward after going -10 through the first 7 games of the season, as turnover margins tend to be inconsistent on a week-to-week basis. I only have them about 1.5 points worse than the Jaguars, so we’re actually getting a little bit of line value with the visitors at 5.5. The Jaguars’ defense is strong, but their offense is not and they have to face a tough Cincinnati defense this week. With that in mind, I’m taking the Bengals here for pick ‘em purposes, but this is a no confidence pick.

Jacksonville Jaguars 19 Cincinnati Bengals 14

Pick against the spread: Cincinnati +5.5

Confidence: None

Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts: 2017 Week 7 NFL Pick

Jacksonville Jaguars (3-3) at Indianapolis Colts (2-4)

The Jaguars are just 3-3, but they’re still tied for the league lead in point differential at +46. They’ve had an easy schedule and they have the league’s best turnover margin at +10, which they won’t always be able to rely on, but they still rank 4th in first down rate differential and their schedule doesn’t get any harder this week when they go to Indianapolis to face the Colts, who are one of the worst teams in the league. The Colts rank 31st in first down rate differential, dead last in point differential (-76), and are a bottom-5 team in my roster rankings.

That being said, it’s tough to be confident in the Jaguars as field goal road favorites, considering their injury situation. Already without top wide receiver Allen Robinson and starting center Brandon Linder, two of their best offensive players, the Jaguars could be without breakout rookie running back Leonard Fournette, who didn’t practice all week because of an ankle injury. At the very least, he won’t be at 100% and could split carries with backup Chris Ivory. Without him at full strength, this offense should have some trouble moving the ball, even against the Colts’ weak defense. The Jaguars obviously have the advantage on defense, but this is just a no confidence pick at -3.

Jacksonville Jaguars 17 Indianapolis Colts 13

Pick against the spread: Jacksonville -3

Confidence: None