Jacksonville is already in a do-or-die situation in the early stages of the 2016 season. Faced with a 0-3 record, I don’t believe the Jaguars are a team that can afford to be down by three games, only three weeks into the season. This was supposed to be the culmination of years of progress for the Jags. 2016 was going to be the coming out party. It can still be a coming out party, but they better not fall to 0-3 and expect anyone to feel too confident regarding their chances. Looking at the schedule before the year began, this was looking like a matchup of teams heading in opposite direction. The Baltimore Ravens, the guys who are out of their prime and years of success behind them. And then conversely, the Jags who are on the upswing looking to slide into the postseason. Not so fast. Three weeks later the Jaguars haven’t won a game yet and the Ravens haven’t lost.
Do I think the Ravens are going to be a postseason team because a 2-0 start? No, there are plenty of better teams out there that I believe will ultimately push them out of contention. Further, do I think the Jaguars are as bad as their 0-2 record indicates? Again no, but I never thought they were going to be the breakout team of 2016, such as what a lot of experts thought. They could still certainly do it, it’s still really early in the season. However, I foresee a 7-9 or 6-10 regular season for the Jaguars. The Jags went 5-11 in 2015, so I suppose you could count it as an improvement. One of those wins came against the Ravens in Baltimore. With regards to the Ravens, even if they earned a spot in the playoffs, they aren’t getting past the Steelers or Patriots.
The Ravens don’t have the stingiest of schedules to open the year. They opened against the Bills, played the Browns last week, and now the Jaguars. The Bills and Browns were both within striking distance. In typical Bills’ fashion, they didn’t have a really solid game plan written up to play the Ravens. The play-calling was suspect, and too many mistakes were made to overcome a 13-7 loss. And the Browns are the Browns. In conclusion, a bounce here or there and the Ravens could be 0-2 right now, with their only challengers being the Bills and Browns. In any event, the Ravens will look to keep up in the AFC and advance to 3-0 this afternoon.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Jacksonville Jaguars NFL Betting Odds:
vs. Jaguars +1(-110)
Over 47 (-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Ravens vs. Jaguars Pick:
It hasn’t been perfect for the Ravens, but they did what they needed to do to start 3-0. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is the wins. Nevertheless, the Ravens look like a team that will run into problems this season. The performances like they had against the Bills and Browns aren’t always going to work. Baltimore has the Raiders and Redskins on deck next, so still, they are not going to be playing elite competition at all for the first two months.
The first serious contender they have will be in November against the Steelers. They need to make the most of the first-half of the schedule. Take a look at their last three games of the year: Patriots, Eagles, and Steelers. The Eagles may be a better team than people anticipated, and I have the Steelers and Patriots 1-2 in the NFL. It is quite likely they go 1-2 there and possibly 0-3.
There are going to be some slip-ups before they enter the difficult part of their schedule. The Jags hope it’s them today in Florida. Blake Bortles and Allen Robinson are expected to do big things in the Jaguars’ offense in 2016. Bortles could be doing better, starting the first two weeks with 3 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, and a fumble. He has a career QB rating of 81.2 and is posting a 51.8 this season. The offense, however, ranks 5th in the NFL in passing with 309.5 yards per game. Bortles and Robinson have yet to hook up in the end zone. Supporting Robinson in the passing game is former Bronco, Julius Thomas. Thomas has 135 yards with a touchdown to his credit.
The Ravens’ have looked good against the pass thus far. They are 1st in the NFL, allowing only 168.5 yards per game. But do we have an adequate sample size to inform us that they are the best defense in the NFL? The sample size here consists of the Bills and Browns, two teams who could possibly finish last and second last in passing offense. I don’t know if I want to call this a trap game, but I expect plenty of Ravens’ money to come in. From an effort standpoint, I think we’re going to see the Jaguars at their best in this game. Bortles and Allen hook up for a big day, and the Ravens will not be 1st against the pass come the end of the afternoon.
PICK: JAGUARS +1 (-110)