You’ve got to be quite the talented quarterback when you’re coming off a season where you threw for 31 touchdowns and just eight picks and many said it was a down year for Aaron Rodgers. Certainly Rodgers and the Packers didn’t gain the team success they typically expect, but much of that had to do without the presence of Jordy Nelson. Nelson, the talented and speedy wideout, suffered a key early season injury and nobody stepped up in his absence. Now in 2016, Green Bay enters the season hungry and healthy and they’re once again big-time Super Bowl contenders.
They’ll be looking to get their season of on a good note against perennial cellar dwellers, the Jacksonville Jaguars – only this season could and should be quite different. The Jags possess an abundance of talented youth finally poised and ready to take that next step. They’ve got a solid offense with a bunch of weapons and a steady defense. Jacksonville actually outscored the Packers just a year ago! Head coach Gus Bradley knows the expectations have changed for his Jaguars squad, and they’ll be definitely looking to contend in the wide open AFC South.
This is certainly one of the more exciting Week 1 match-ups featuring a bunch of intriguing players and prolific offenses. Read on below for a detailed game breakdown and full betting prediction as the Packers visit the Jaguars in opening week action!
Packers vs. Jaguars Betting Odds:
Green Bay Packers -5 (-110)
@ Jacksonville Jaguars +5 (-110)
Over 48 (-110)
Under 48 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Packers vs. Jaguars Pick:
I think the Packers truly are on the verge of a special season in 2016. While I can’t say the Super Bowl for sure, because of the Seahawks and Patriots – they’re all in the same category of the elite teams in the NFL. Last year was an anomaly for the Packers as injuries and distractions marred their season. Their key talent is healthy again and Eddie Lacy seems to be in shape once again. Look for that dual threat in both the passing and running game to return and put real pressure on weak defenses – like Jacksonville’s.
While the Jags do have some nice young pieces within their defensive unit, as a whole it still is nowhere close to where it needs to be to contend in the NFL. In 2015, Jacksonville gave up the second most points on defense – a disturbing stat given how lethal the Packers’ offense is.
Simply put, Jacksonville does not possess a legitimate pass rush or secondary to try and limit one of the sport’s best quarterbacks and pocket passers. Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson both can’t be covered by anyone on the Jaguars, and that dynamic duo should be in for a big day come Sunday afternoon.
On the other side of the football, while the Packers’ defense isn’t all that great, one thing the unit does quite well is pressure the opposing QB. Blake Bortles did show signs of struggling under pressure last season and Green Bay does have the tendency to bring the heat, especially with the dangerous Clay Matthews from the linebacker position. The Packers registered 43 sacks last year and with major concerns along the Jags’ O-Line entering this game, Green Bay could be living in the backfield, forcing Bortles into some bad decisions and ill-advised throws.
While wagering on road favourites heavily liked by the general betting public isn’t really a long-term winning proposition, it seems to be the right call for Week 1. The Jags will be improved but they still possess a ton of flaws a team like Green Bay will definitely look to exploit. Green Bay’s offense will simply overwhelm Jacksonville’s youthful stop unit, while the Packers’ front seven will apply a ton of pressure on a flawed Jacksonville offensive line and Blake Bortles. Roll with the Packers as short faves on Sunday of Week 1.
PICK = Packers -5 (-110)