How great it feels to be back handicapping football. Many of you already know who I am from past years at The Sports Geek, but for new readers welcome aboard, the name is Kyle. I hit at a 67% clip last year, including a winner with the Seahawks in the Super Bowl. Feel free to click on my name below the article if you want to do the math yourself, all of my picks were documented. It is important to know that my regular season picks will not be here. You will need to go to nflbettingpicks.org. Hopefully we can start off with some winners before the real action heats up in a couple of weeks.
The third week of the preseason is always the most pivotal as the starters almost play a full three quarters. I see it as an opportunity to get the feet wet. After betting baseball exclusively for the last several months it is nice to get a nice change of pace. Please note it is important not to go crazy betting preseason games. Pick out two or three games and go from there. Maintain bankroll management, no one wants to have a busted bankroll going into the regular season. Feel free to contact me on twitter @NFLSportsGeek if you want to get a hold of me.
Jaguars vs. Lions Spread and Betting Odds:
Jacksonville Jaguars +3 (+100)
@ Detroit Lions -3 (-120)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Jaguars vs. Lions Pick:
The main storyline of this Jaguars/Lions game is the battle at quarterback between Chad Henne and Blake Bortles. Bortles is the future of the franchise with it only being a matter of time before he takes control under center. I believe a strong showing by Bortles will make it difficult for the Jags to keep him sitting on the bench. Henne is a very average option, a quarterback that won’t be a franchise quarterback. In my opinion he is a very good backup. Bortles, however, has the chance to make the Jaguars relevant again. What we will in this game are two quarterbacks that will be competing for the starting job. So this simply isn’t going to be a tune-up, I expect Henne and Bortles airing it out often so the coaching staff has ample game tape to study. Toby Gerhart, after years behind Adrian Peterson, will assume the starting role at running back. He is a bruising back that loves to play between the tackles and pick up tough yardage. Gerhart could certainly be in for a big year in Jacksonville if the passing game shapes up in 2014. If there is no passing offense, I think defenses will just key in on Gerhart and the offense will go nowhere.
I feel this is a good matchup for Henne and Bortles. They’ll be able to showcase their abilities against a rather sub-par secondary in my eyes. The big question mark of this unit is second year corner Darius Slay. This will be his first season in a true starting role after the departure of Chris Houston. He showed flashes of what he is capable of last season, which is a solid contributor, but far too many times inconsistencies crept into his game. Opposite Slay will be Rashean Mathis. This will be his 11th season in the NFL after coming into the league with the Jaguars in 2003. Mathis was a bright spot for the Lions’ defense a season ago, but at 33 years old, is he going to be able to keep it up? So what I see is question marks for the Lions in this regard. The Lions’ defense was 23rd against the pass in 2013 and many anticipated them getting better in the offseason, but I don’t know if the addition of safety James Ihedigbo is enough to do that.
What many people thought the Lions were going to do is draft defense with their first pick, instead they went offense, drafting tight end Erin Ebron out of North Carolina. While I am sceptical of how the defense is going to perform, the offense WILL put on a bunch of points. Not only is Calvin Johnson there, but the Lions added Golden Tate from the Seahawks in the offseason. They also added a new offensive coordinator, Joe Lombardi, former Saints’ quarterbacks coach. Defenses are going to have their hands full and I expect the Jaguars to get a dose of that tonight. Johnson did not play in the first two preseason games, but will get some game action here. If Matthew Stafford fails to impress with the abundance of options around him, including Reggie Bush as his primary back, then I really never see him being an elite quarterback in the NFL. Nevertheless, expect the Lions to move the ball with ease in this game against a decent Jaguars’ defense.
As I alluded to already, this game is all about the quarterback competition in Jacksonville. There will be many opportunities for both quarterbacks to show what they offer. The Jaguars will be looking at both quarterbacks closely. I am quite confident the Lions are going to get their points in this game. The Lions always seem to get up for the third game of the preseason, beating the Patriots rather easily the last two years. I also see Bortles taking care of the second stringers in the 4th quarter, making this an interesting game to pick a winner on. However, points should be scored in this matchup regardless. I was expecting a total of 46, so 44.5 looks good to me to go OVER the total.
PICK = OVER 44.5