coleryan Posts:13459 Followers:19
On 09/09/2013 05:07 PM in NFL

Jacksonville Jaguars at Oakland Raiders: Preview and Pick

Jacksonville Jaguars at Oakland Raiders: Preview and Pick

Before the season started it was very clear that the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Oakland Raiders would be two of the worst teams in all of football. Now just after one week it is clear that the Oakland Raiders do not want to fall into that stereotype and instead want to prove that they can compete with any team in the NFL.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Oakland Raiders Odds

The NFL betting line opened up with the Raiders as (-3.5) point favorites. This is interesting because both teams seem to struggle, but the Raiders showed they deserve the label of favorite after playing close to the Indianapolis Colts. With a cross country trip and an awful showing in week one, the Jaguars are not getting any love by the betting public. The Raiders are getting 72 percent of the betting action and because of this, the line can now be found at (-5.5) at most top rated online sportsbooks.

Terrelle Pryor played very well in the opener and he gave the Raiders hope for the future. Better yet the young quarterback took the blame for the loss in the post-game press conference showing that he is ready to respond as a leader.

Pryor amassed 300 yards of total offense all by himself and opened up the running game for Darren McFadden. Pryor's day included 217 yards through the air, one throwing touchdown and two interceptions that he lamented after the game. It also included 112 yards on the ground -- more than any other player in the entire NFL. The NFL is currently owned by quarterbacks who can throw and run and the Raiders seem to have a keeper in Pryor. Meanwhile the Jaguars seem to have nothing but problems.

The Jaguars were beaten badly in the home opener against the Chiefs and the news just got worse. Starting quarterback Blaine Gabbert is ruled out for Sunday with a cut on his hand. Chad Henne will replace him in the lineup, but it won’t be too long before the name Tim Tebow is heard all throughout Florida.

The football betting trends show just how bad both of these teams are. Jacksonville is 1-5 against the spread (ATS) in its last 6 games and 0-5 straight up in the last five games. Oakland is 1-4 straight up in its last 5 games when playing Jacksonville and the Raiders are just 1-5 ATS in the last six games at home.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Oakland Raiders Pick

With plenty of time to go before the start of the regular season, I will wait to release my pick on this game until we get closer to game day.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 10-5-0
coleryan Posts:13459 Followers:19
09/10/2013 04:38 PM

Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who suffered a cut on his right hand Sunday that required 15 stitches to close, will miss at least one game, coach Gus Bradley said Monday.

Chad Henne, who finished the game after Gabbert was injured with less than a minute remaining in a 28-2 loss to Kansas City, will start against the Raiders in Week 2 in Oakland.

Bradley said there's concern about further damage to Gabbert's hand. "It's got to heal and we need to keep it clean," Bradley said. "The big concern would be with all the stitches that it could reopen and then the chance of infection occurs. Some of the skin isn't there. It ripped off part of the skin, so some of those [stitches] are even open. The sweat from practice, anything that can get in there [raises] the threat of infection."

Bradley said Gabbert is taking antibiotics and will be evaluated after the Raiders game to see if the injury has healed enough for him to play against Seattle on Sept. 22.

Gabbert suffered a fractured right thumb in the Jaguars' second preseason game, yet Bradley named him the starter over Henne two days later. Gabbert didn't throw a football until the beginning of last week but improved enough to get the call against the Chiefs.

Gabbert, who missed the final six games of the 2012 season because of a forearm injury, suffered the cut during the Jaguars' final possession when he hit his hand on a facemask. He finished 16-of-35 passing for 121 yards and two interceptions, including one that was returned for a touchdown.

Henne threw for 2,084 yards, 11 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in place of Gabbert last season. Ricky Stanzi, acquired by the Jaguars on Aug. 27 off waivers from the Chiefs, will be the backup against Oakland. Bradley said he'll talk with general manager Dave Caldwell about possibly adding a veteran quarterback this week.

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Running superbly, throwing better than he ever has and giving the Raiders a fourth-quarter lead, Terrelle Pryor exasperated a strong opponent, quieted a raucous dome and gained national respect. Yet Pryor's most significant accomplishment Sunday was delivering hope. Even in defeat, his performance brought a sliver of hope to a demoralized fan base, to a head coach whose job is at stake and to a franchise that has spent the past decade mocking itself.

Oakland's 21-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium was unremarkable aside from the visual evidence of Pryor's growth as a quarterback. He was a desperate option last season, and uncertainty about his future prompted general manager Reggie McKenzie to draft one quarterback and sign another through free agency.

Now, suddenly, Pryor, in his third season, looks like the only quarterback on the roster with a chance to lift the Raiders from the Era of Embarrassment. It's one game, so there is plenty of time for opponents to study Pryor, look for tendencies and seek ways to disrupt his game. The league is, always will be, about consistency, and few struggle with that more than young passers.

But in the pressurized predicament of making his second career start, in the season opener, on the road, in a dome, against a 2012 playoff team, Pryor exceeded reasonable expectations. His Raiders actually outgained Andrew Luck's Colts 372-274.

It was largely because of Pryor's arm and feet and, yes, decision-making, that the outcome was in doubt until the final seconds, to the shock of 65,412 in attendance. Pryor's 5-yard dart to Denarius Moore with 11:09 left gave Oakland a 17-14 lead that crumbled when Indy responded by marching 80 yards for the winning touchdown.

Though Pryor's passing stats were decent -- 19 of 29, 217 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions -- his rushing stats (13 carries, a Raiders quarterback record 112 yards) were impressive and, above all, his surprisingly proficient presence was encouraging.

"He provides a spark and has some things he can do and create with his feet,'' coach Dennis Allen said. "That was outstanding. Overall, I was pleased with his performance. There's still a lot of things that we got to get cleaned up with him and ... anytime you have a young guy, you're going to have to make some corrections.''

Pryor's glaring mistakes were one late sack and two interceptions, one in the first quarter when he threw late to Rod Streater in the end zone and the other when he heaved a third-and-24 pass inside the final minute that ended Oakland's final comeback attempt.

Pryor's self-evaluation was harsh, dismissing the way he twisted the Indy defense into knots with his scrambling, ignoring his 66 percent completion rate and -- as highly competitive folks tend to do -- zeroing in on his contributions to defeat. "I did awful,'' he said. "Two interceptions ... could have won the game ... had them on the ropes down there. That's all that matters. That number on the win column is all that matters to me.''

What has to matter to the Raiders, though, is the sight of progress from young players. They haven't had a winning season since 2002, and they're trying to follow a long-term progression after years of shortsighted "plans.'' The Raiders have to be delighted with Pryor's improvement. The offseason work, including a tuneup of his throwing mechanics, has created the possibility of the kind of double-threat quarterback that brings defenders to tears.

"We knew we had a heck of a football player coming here, a talented guy, a great athlete, a guy who could do that,'' Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. "But ... he did a great job.''

On a Raiders team with such a thin layer of offensive playmakers, a quarterback with Pryor's attributes represents the best possibility of success.

"Terrelle Pryor is a stud,'' Luck said. "He made some unbelievable plays.''

The cliché is that no team welcomes a moral victory, most of all because the concept is associated with losing the game. The Raiders indeed lost but won something the franchise needs, something Allen needs, something the fan base needs.

In a season when they've been casually dismissed as short on talent and without an NFL-caliber quarterback, Pryor's showing gained them a measure of respect.

Respect in the NFL equals hope, and that was hardly visible before Sunday.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 10-5-0
coleryan Posts:13459 Followers:19
09/11/2013 04:09 PM

One of the biggest reasons for the Jaguars' lack of offense in their 28-2 loss to Kansas City last Sunday was a lack of playmakers in the passing game.

But maybe we should have seen that coming since the team was without receiver Justin Blackmon (four-game suspension) and tight end Marcedes Lewis (calf). That meant receiver Cecil Shorts had to carry the load, supplemented by a rookie (Ace Sanders), a former quarterback turned receiver in his first year (Mike Brown), and a player (Stephen Burton) claimed off waivers on Sept. 1 who went down with heat issues during last Wednesday's practice. That group had a combined seven career catches.

Oh, and the guy subbing for Lewis was Allen Reisner, a second-year tight end who entered the game with just two career catches. That makes the passing offense's struggles a little more understandable.

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The Raiders opened practice Wednesday without left tackle Menelik Watson, an indication they will open with the same offensive line protecting Terrelle Pryor as they used in a season-opening win over the Indianapolis Colts.

Tight end David Ausberry (shoulder) is continuing to work with athletic trainers in during the media window, which means he could be closer to returning than Watson. It is likely the starting tackles against the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday in the regular-season opener at O.co Coliseum will be Khalif Barnes on the left side and Tony Pashos on the right.

When Watson does return, assuming his injury is not long-term, it will be interesting to see whether Barnes moves back to right tackle or instead surfaces as at one of the guard spots in place of left guard Lucas Nix or right guard Mike Brisiel. Nix in particular struggled against Indianapolis, and Pashos played very well at right tackle despite having just one week to perform.

Jacksonville coach Gus Bradley, the defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks last season, talked about the dilemma of defending Raiders quarterback Pryor. "There are different philosophies with a running style of quarterback,'' Bradley told Bay Area media by conference call. Some teams will blitz, some will challenge their rush to take care of him, others will spy. We have to come up with a plan that best fits our personality and then execute it. He's a threat, though. With him back there, there's a new dimension to their style of offense, which if not contained, you have an opportunity to give up big plays.''

  • Last 7 Days Record: 10-5-0
coleryan Posts:13459 Followers:19
09/12/2013 02:28 PM

Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew has been a road warrior in the first seven years of his career. Except on the West Coast.

Jones-DrewJones-Drew has posted 15 of his 26 100-yard rushing games away from EverBank Field, including the top three performances of his career: 186 yards at Tennessee in 2010, 177 yards at Tennessee in 2009 and 177 yards at Indianapolis in 2012. However, he has never eclipsed the 100-yard mark in his four trips to the West Coast.

In fact, Jones-Drew has totaled just 146 yards in the four games; his best performance was 75 yards on 15 carries in a loss at San Francisco in 2009. One of those games was at Oakland last season, and that’s when Jones-Drew suffered the foot injury that would eventually end his season. He carried just twice for 6 yards.

"It’s been a rough West Coast for me, so we’ll see how those things go, but like I said I’m not worried about that," said Jones-Drew, who starred at UCLA and grew up in Antioch, Calif. "I want to focus on correcting what I have to correct within myself and obviously helping our offense get better [and having] better production that we did on Sunday."

Here’s a breakdown of Jones-Drew’s four West Coast performances:

- Oct. 11, 2009: Jones-Drew gained 34 yards on 12 carries in the Jaguars’ 41-0 loss to Seattle, the second-worst defeat in franchise history. Jones-Drew had an 18-yard run, which means he gained 16 yards on the 11 other carries.

- Nov. 29, 2009: He gained 75 yards on 15 carries in the Jaguars’ 20-3 loss to San Francisco. The 49ers gave up the fourth-fewest points in the NFL that season and were sixth in the NFL in rushing defense (98.3 yards per game allowed).

- Sept. 19, 2010: He ran for 31 yards on 12 carries in a 38-13 loss at San Diego. The 31 yards, 12 carries, and per-carry average (2.6) all were season lows.

- Oct. 21, 2012: Jones-Drew hurt his left foot on the first play from scrimmage and left the game after getting one more carry. The Jaguars lost 26-23 in overtime.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 10-5-0
coleryan Posts:13459 Followers:19
09/13/2013 05:09 PM

Terrelle Pryor has already made his case as the most exciting new player in the NFL, and the Oakland Raiders may have finally found the quarterback they've been looking for. After a roller coaster preseason where he shined against the Chicago Bears and skidded the very next week against the Seattle Seahawks, it was very unclear how Pryor would fare once the regular season started.

All we knew was that Matt Flynn was not going to be the starter after watching Oakland's offensive line.

But after an electrifying performance against the Indianapolis Colts where he set the franchise record for most rushing yards in a game by a quarterback, Pryor now has teams studying him harder than ever. After all, he leads the AFC in rushing.

Despite Pryor's surprising performance, Oakland still lost the game 21-17 and started the season 0-1 once again. But in dissecting the loss comes several smaller victories the Raiders have to build on.

And with arguably the worst team in the NFL coming to town for their home opener, the Raiders are sure to put on another surprising performance. Here's why:


1) Jacksonville Has No Experience Stopping the Read-Option
Ah, the read option. It's one of the greatest offensive strategies in the NFL today, and has transformed the quarterback position in a way that never seemed possible.

Pryor did a stellar job keeping plays alive with both his arm and his legs as he ran the Colts' defense ragged last week. Just ask linebacker Robert Mathis. "Use all your bullets, throw the gun, throw the belt holder, too," Mathis said about trying to defend Pryor. (via ESPN.com)

Matt Schaub, Andrew Luck and Jake Locker are not read-option quarterbacks. When playing against their divisional opponents, the Jaguars don't have to worry about defending a quarterback who's going to burn them with his legs.
Pryor threw for over 200 yards and ran for over 100 yards against Indianapolis. Just imagine the possibilities he'll have against Jacksonville.


2) The Jaguars are completely one-dimensional
I still don't know what the Jaguars see in quarterback Blaine Gabbert. The guy is just terrible, and he ha any hasn't gotten any better. It speaks volume as to how bad Chad Henne must be since Gabbert was given the starting job before the season even started.

Even with Gabbert out, Jacksonville's offense is still pretty bad. Even its workhorse Maurice Jones-Drew only averaged three yards per carry against the Chiefs, but you're not going to run the ball when you're losing the entire game either.

The Jaguars averaged an embarrassing 2.5 yards per play against Kansas City and only crossed midfield twice. I couldn't make those numbers up even if I wanted to. With Andrew Luck being the quarterback he is, the Raiders were reluctant to give him any sort of opening downfield, which is why the Colts did a solid job running the ball against them. But Chad Henne is no Andrew Luck.

Oakland will be able to focus more on Jones-Drew and make Henne work for every single yard. Jacksonville also gave up six sacks against the Chiefs, which means Henne could be running a lot against the Raiders.


3) The fans are excited in Oakland
Nobody expected the Raiders to keep it close against the Colts, let alone have the lead in the fourth quarter. But that's exactly what happened.

Pryor single-handedly gave Raider Nation something to be excited about after his performance, and now he'll make his first career start at home in front of a sold out O.co Coliseum.

The Jaguars gave the Raiders everything they could handle last year after Oakland escaped with a 26-23 overtime victory, but that was last year. This is a completely new Raiders team that played with tremendous heart against the Colts. Though it's only Week 2, Oakland can make some noise with a big win, albeit against the lowly Jaguars.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 10-5-0
coleryan Posts:13459 Followers:19
09/15/2013 08:52 AM

PICK

The Raiders are getting some serious love after a week one loss. The Jags lost to what I consider one of the best defenses in the league this year (Watch and see) and they are getting the value in this game. Pryor looks good, but this is still the Raiders.

Jags +5

  • Last 7 Days Record: 10-5-0