How about them Jaguars? Who thought this would be a battle of potential division winners? There is no other league in the world that an average at best team like the Jacksonville Jaguars could be in first place in their division half way through a season. The Jags have played well however on both sides of the ball, and they have a little thing called Lady Luck on their side as well. The Giants suddenly seem more vulnerable after a pair of loses to divisional rivals. The Jags could get Mike Sims-Walker back and Maurice Jones-Drew is on a four-week tear. The (6-4) Jacksonville Jaguars will look to extend their streak to 4 games when they travel up the eastern coastline to clash with the (6-4) New York Giants, kickoff slated for 1 PM EST.
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Who would have forecasted 4 weeks ago when the Jags were manhandled in K.C. that they would be atop the AFC South division with a little over a month left of play left. The Jags won their third straight last week when Maurice Jones-Drew busted through weak Cleveland coverage and got the Jags down to the Browns 1 yard line with less then a minute to go. Jacksonville has won three in a row while averaging 416 yards (153 on the ground) to move into sixth in the league in rushing. Jones-Drew, who had 220 yards from scrimmage last week, is 122 yards shy of his second straight 1,000-yard season on the ground. He gained at least 100 in those three straight victories. Garrard, who has a fine 98.5 passer rating, is just four touchdowns shy of Mark Brunell’s season franchise record of 20. Thomas (46 catches, 572 yards) is Garrard’s favorite target, but look for tight end Marcedes Lewis (eight touchdowns) in the red zone. Garrard’s play has had a lot to do with Jacksonville’s winning streak, as the nine-year veteran is averaging 285.3 passing yards over his last three games compared to 139.6 in his first six. The Jaguars aren’t as strong defensively, ranking 27th overall and last in yards allowed per completion (13.1). Jacksonville has also forced just 13 turnovers. This will be the second game against Jacksonville for New York’s Tom Coughlin, the first coach in Jaguars history (1995-2002).
The Giants are in danger of slipping further away from the NFC East leading Philadelphia Eagles and need to get their turnover and penalty woes fixed urgently in order to stop the bleeding. The New York Giants are going through their typical mid-season slump. They have suffered injuries and they have been guilty of far too many turnovers. The Giants get to right the ship on Sunday at home against one of the worst defenses in the game. Eli Manning who ranks 8th among quarterbacks with 2595 yards and is 3rd in the NFL with 21 touchdowns had also been guilty of 16 interceptions and five fumbles. He will have his work cut out for him this week – Hakeem Nicks and Steve Smith are on the shelf, and newly signed Michael Clayton, Mario Manningham and Derek Hagan will be his primary weapons. There’s also a change at running back where Ahmad Bradshaw’s NFL-high fifth lost fumble last Sunday cost him the starting job despite his 867 rushing yards. Predecessor Brandon Jacobs, who has only fumbled once, regains his old spot. Jacobs ran for five touchdowns during the past seven games. And Eli Manning, just the seventh quarterback with six consecutive seasons with at least 20 touchdowns, continues to make big plays for both team (21 touchdowns, 16 interceptions). The Giants lead the league with 30 turnovers. New York’s pass rush, after not recording a sack the previous two games, got three against the Eagles, all from Justin Tuck, who trails fellow end Osi Umenyiora (eight) for the team lead. Former Jaguars safety Deon Grant has a team-high three interceptions for the league’s top-ranked defense.
Jaguars vs Giants Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Jacksonville Jaguars +7
@ New York Giants -7
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Jaguars vs Giants Predictions for Week 12:
Game Total Prediction (TOP PLAY) – All weather forecasts have this game kicking off at a temperature of 33 degrees Fahrenheit with light showers, two ingredients that make for a game played UNDER the posted total. Both of these teams are built to run the ball with power rushing attacks, game plans that chew up the game clock and limit big-play opportunities. With so much riding on this game I believe we see a highly scripted approach on the part of both clubs, which will make for quick, low-scoring affair. The Jaguars, when playing a NFC East opponent, have played UNDER football in 7-12 games since 2000. The Giants have come to be known for collapsing offensively in the month of November and with the current streak their on I do not see Eli Manning have a career day this Sunday. Take a look at the UNDER in this wet, cold affair in the Meadowlands.
Spread Prediction – The Jaguars are rolling right now, while the Giants are tanking. It is also important to note that the Giants are perennial busts in the month of November, the Giants are 27-47 ATS in November games since 1992. Maurice Jones-Drew is on a mission this year to get his team back into the playoffs and deep and production is backing up this drive. Eli Manning has had his fair share of trouble with AFC South opponents, in fact he is 3-12 ATS against AFC South opponents since 2006. The New York Giants are 7-14 ATS in their last 21 games and 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games at home. The Jaguars big, oversized defense matches up well against the power offense the Giants run. RB Brandon Jacobs will have a tough time running over this defense and the Giants will have to rely on their suspect passing attack. We will consider the Jaguars keeping this game close, if not winning straight up, and preserving their top spot in the AFC South ranks.