coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
On 09/16/2013 06:47 PM in NFL

Jacksonville Jaguars at Seattle Seahawks: Preview and Pick

Jacksonville Jaguars at Seattle Seahawks: Preview and Pick

The NFL week three schedule has plenty of great games for football fans to watch and wager on, but the game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Seattle Seahawks is not one of them. The Seahawks are proving to be one of the best teams in the league and a legitimate Super bowl contender, while the Jaguars are anything but. The Jaguars are on pace to get the first overall pick in the league and will most like sign Tim Tebow by the end of the season.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Seattle Seahawks Odds

The NFL betting line for this game opened up with the Seahawks listed as (-17.5) and that number skyrocketed when the Seahawks lambasted the San Francisco 49ers. This line has already adjusted and eclipsed 20 points at several of the top ranked online sportsbooks. This is the first time that an NFL team has been labeled as a 20 point (or more) favorite since 2011 when the Patriots were a huge favorite against the Indianapolis Colts. That number could go even higher as the public is all over the Seattle bandwagon with 65 percent of the betting public on the Seahawks.

The Jaguars are one of the worst teams in the NFL and they don’t have much good to say about them. The Jaguars managed just a safety in their first game against the Chiefs and one field goal and one touchdown Sunday vs. the Raiders. They are the fourth team in NFL history to have exactly one safety, field goal and touchdown as all their scoring in the first two games of the season. If the Steelers manage just a field goal Monday, they could also join this list.

The Seahawks Russell Wilson was 4-5 for 80 yards and drew a 40 yard pass interference penalty against four or fewer pass rushers in the second half Sunday night. He will feel like he has no pressure on him against a weak Jacksonville pass rush. The Seahawks should have no problem against this Jacksonville team.

As expected the NFL betting trends heavily favor the Seahawks in this game. The Jaguars are 1-6 against the spread (ATS) in the last seven games, 2-4 ATS in the last six games against Seattle and 0-5 straight up in the last five games. The Seahawks are 8-1 straight up in the last nine games, but they do have one bad trend against them which I sent out earlier on Twitter.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Seattle Seahawks 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.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/17/2013 03:24 PM

After an impressive 29-3 beat down of the San Francisco 49ers, the undefeated 2-0 Hawks will play host to the 0-2 Jacksonville Jaguars. This contest has all the makings of a trap game. Statistically speaking, Seattle should walk all over, around and through the Jaguars, as the majority of their stats are in the bottom five in the NFL.

This is one of those games that seems tailor made for an upset, just because of the rankings of both teams. Almost every Jacksonville offensive statistic is in the bottom five of the league while Seattle’s defensive stats are either the best or second best.

Scoring or Lack Thereof
On offense, Jacksonville has had trouble doing everything from scoring points to gaining yards. Jacksonville has scored just 11 points in two games, the worst in the entire NFL. Seattle has allowed just 10 points this season, the best in the league.

The yards the offense has gained isn’t much better. Jacksonville’s averages of 213 total yards, with 160.5 through the air and 25.5 yards on the ground, ranks the Jaguars 31st, 28th and 30th in the league, respectively. Seattle allows an average of only 230 yards of total offense with 113 in the air, which is the second least and least given up each game, respectively.

The Inability to Step Up
Neither quarterback for Jacksonville has performed particularly well. Chad Henne is 28-44 for 277 passing yards and Jacksonville’s only touchdown of the season. His 88.9 quarterback rating is much higher than Blaine Gabbert’s 30.8. Gabbert is only 16-35 for 121 yards and two interceptions with one of them being returned for a touchdown.

Only one Jaguar has caught more than 10 passes. Cecil Shorts leads his team with 11 receptions for 133 yards, but has not scored a touchdown yet. Maurice Jones-Drew has been completely ineffectual as a running back, gaining just 72 yards in 25 attempts for an anemic 2.9 yards per carry.

The defensive numbers for the Jaguars are better than the numbers on offense, but that’s not really saying anything. Allowing 32.5 points a game, Jacksonville is right in the middle of the league ranking 16th.

The yardage allowed by Jacksonville is a little confusing. While they only allow 316 yards a game, the ninth lowest in the league, it’s not clear if the Jaguars have a really good passing defense or just a really poor running defense. The 142.5 passing yards given up ranks them in the top three, but allowing 173.5 rushing yards a game is second to worst.

The rushing yards given up is a huge key to the game. If Marshawn Lynch can activate Beast Mode, he could have a career day. The Seahawks are averaging 121 rushing yards each game, the seventh most in the league. The rest of Seattle’s offensive averages of points scored, total yards and passing yards all rank in the bottom half of the league.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/18/2013 03:24 PM

Pete Carroll wanted to bring defensive tackle Michael Bennett because the Seattle Seahawks needed an interior pass rusher who could cave in the middle of the pocket in obvious passing situations.

And so far, Bennett has exceeded expectations in filling that role. “He’s a very creative rusher, he’s very active,” the Seahawks coach said. “He’s big enough to match up yet still quick enough to get away from guys and make them miss him. I think he’s just what we’ve been looking for.”

According to Pro Football Focus, Bennett recorded a sack, a quarterback hit, four hurries and three tackles in his 42 snaps against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night.

“It says a lot about our team,” Bennett said about Seattle’s 29-3 trouncing of San Francisco. “We are a young, hungry team. You know, we got a great quarterback, great players in every position, and it’s just good to be out here and play at a higher level every week.”

Along with defensive end Cliff Avril, Bennett was brought in to help Seattle’s pass rush, which ranked 18th in the NFL last year in sacks (36). The Seahawks used a combination of Jason Jones and Alan Branch at defensive tackle last season, but got inconsistent pressure from the interior of the defense. The duo finished with a combined four sacks in 2012.

Bennett had a career-high nine sacks with Tampa Bay last season. And he’s off to a good start in Seattle. At 6-foot-4 and 274 pounds, Bennett provides versatility to the Seahawks. He can play for Red Bryant at defensive end in early downs and at defensive tackle in passing and running situations.

“He’s an active run player,” Carroll said. “He’s not going to load up and play the heavy duty stuff like we get from Red or from (Brandon) Mebane, but we can take advantage of his style by doing the things that he does well. We’ll move him around and make sure that he’s not a sitting target for them. He’s going to make plays, just because he’s so active and his motor’s so good.”

More good news for Seattle’s pass rush is help is on the way. Leading sack man Chris Clemons is expected to return in the next two weeks from anterior cruciate ligament surgery he underwent in January. Speedy pass rusher Bruce Irvin will be eligible to return to the team for the Week 5 game against Indianapolis after serving his four-game suspension for a PED (performance enhancing drugs) violation. And rookie defensive tackle Jordan Hill is expected to return to practice this week from a strained biceps injury suffered during training camp.

“We got a couple of guys out right now,” Bryant said. “We are holding it down until they get back. I mean, the sky is the limit, and every man in here knows the opportunity that we got in front of us and we just want to take full advantage and give it our all, every chance we get. So we just stay humble, stay focused, keep working. We will see where that’ll take us and see how far that takes us.”

Added Carroll: “We’re still a ways away from getting it all just right, and we’ve got some guys coming back to us. Clem (Clemons) is getting close. When Bruce gets back, it’s going to be a pretty exciting group. You talk about competition; those guys will be battling to get those rush opportunities.”

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/19/2013 01:52 PM

If the NFL could adjust its television contracts and flex schedule this one all the way to the Cartoon Network, you can bet it would want to do so.

The Jacksonville Jaguars, who've managed all of 11 points in the first two weeks against teams that combined for all of six wins last season, get thrown to the league's point-stingiest lions in Week 3 when they head to CenturyLink Field to meet the red-hot Seattle Seahawks.

Mid-week point spreads for the game hovered at 20, making the Jaguars the 10th biggest underdog in league history.

Seattle, for those unaware, walloped the NFC's reigning champion last week -- holding the prolific San Francisco 49ers to just three points in front of a boisterous crowd that earned a spot among Guinness World Records by reaching 131.9 decibels, roughly akin to a jet take-off from 100 meters away.

The Jaguars' winless streak on the road will be 364 days on Sunday, and their last win in any surroundings came just shy of 10 months ago, in Week 12 of last season.

"Every game," Seahawks safety Earl Thomas said, "we feel like we should dominate."

Facing down that defensive gauntlet while making his second straight fill-in start will be quarterback Chad Henne, who's likely to go again in place of injured starter Blaine Gabbert.

The former Miami starter completed 25-of-38 passes for 241 yards in a Week 2 loss at Oakland, a 10-point defeat that followed a debacle against Kansas City in which the Jaguars failed to reached 200 total yards, saw Gabbert and Henne combine for 19 completions in 41 attempts and managed just a first-quarter safety before the Chiefs erupted for 28 unanswered points.

Adding to the chore this week is the dinged-up status of running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who strained a tendon in his left foot last week after carrying 10 times for 27 yards. In two games, the former All-Pro has compiled 72 yards on 25 carries.

Adversity is no crutch, though, at least not to Jacksonville lineman Eugene Monroe.

"We can't make excuses regardless of who's out there," he said. "We just need to execute and not make mistakes, not get panicked and turn this thing around."

Panic might be well-placed against the surging Seahawks, who've won nine straight at home and have allowed just 5.0 points per game -- the NFL's best through two games -- while limiting Carolina and San Francisco to a combined 460 total yards.

A week before meeting the Seahawks, Niners QB Colin Kaepernick had thrown for 412 yards and three TDs. Against Seattle, he had three interceptions, 127 yards and never saw the end zone. His top target, Anquan Boldin, went from 13 catches and 208 yards against Green Bay to one catch for seven.

Ominously, that unit could benefit with the returns of defensive end Chris Clemons and cornerback Brandon Browner, each of whom is questionable after missing last week.

"We have a chance to do something great," Thomas said. "That's all it says. The craziest thing about it, we stay humble and keep preparing like we do, not listening to what's going on TV, we'll be fine."

It falls to coach Pete Carroll to keep the troops focused upon meeting the lowly Jaguars a week after the Super Bowl runner-up. In addition to the scoreboard and yardage futility, Jacksonville has committed 15 penalties and sustained 11 QB sacks in two weeks, and it allowed an unsightly 226 rushing yards against Oakland.

"Every game is a championship opportunity for us," Carroll said. "The way you ensure that is by the way you prepare. If you practice properly, with the same intentions and standards every week, and we maintain that for the players and we don't accept anything less, then you guarantee your best chance to perform well regardless of what's going on."

Seattle's Marshawn Lynch started with just 43 yards in Week 1 against Carolina, but rumbled for 98 on 28 carries against the Niners while also catching three balls for 37 yards and finding the end zone three times overall.

QB Russell Wilson threw just 19 times and completed eight for a touchdown, an INT and 142 yards.

"We're just not as sharp as we need to be," Carroll said. "There is a lot of potential there that we know is still ready to be shown. It's not just the passing game. In general I think we can be cleaner."

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/20/2013 06:49 PM

The Seahawks are going to win on Sunday. I say this not with absolute certainty, but in the same way that I’d say “I’m going to go to work on Monday.” Obviously I could get the flu, or have to deal with some unexpected plumbing issue, but more than likely my cubicle is where I’ll be. Likewise, the Seahawks could lose Sunday to winless Jacksonville, but…they are 20-point favorites, the most the Seahawks have ever been favored by; and only three teams—the 2011 Patriots, the 2007 Patriots, and the 1993 49ers—have ever been favored by more in a game.

So, while not discounting the possibility of a Seahawks loss, I’m not going to dwell on it by suggesting that there are “keys to the game” for the Seahawks. (If there is a “Key to the Game,” it’s “don’t completely fuck up.”) Instead, let’s assume the most likely scenario, a comfortable Seahawks win. Because even if the Hawks win by 20, as Vegas expects, there are three pressing questions that we could have answered by game’s end.

1) How badly will the Seahawks miss Russell Okung?

Arguably the most irreplaceable member of the Seahawks (yes, perhaps even more than Russell Wilson), stellar left tackle Okung injured a toe ligament against the 49ers and spent the week getting prodded on both coasts. Okung’s out for the Jacksonville game and possibly much longer. Sunday will be the Hawks’ first full game without Okung, and his replacements will have their hands full with one of the Jags’ best players, defensive end Jason Babin. Former Seahawk Babin isn’t an elite pass-rusher, but he’s definitely above average. If Babin dominates Okung’s replacements (veteran Paul McQuistan, usually the left guard, and rookies Alvin Bailey and Michael Bowie), the win won’t be in danger — the Hawks could bring extra protection, roll Wilson out to the right, or any number of other mitigating strategies. But they could be in big trouble when they face better competition later in the year.

2) Is Russell Wilson really having a sophomore slump?

Wilson has been inconsistent through two games; he put up good stats against Carolina, but never looked comfortable, and was downright average against San Francisco. He ought to put up a much better showing against Jacksonville, whose top six defensive backs include two rookies, a second-year player, and a guy the Seahawks cut. If Wilson can’t throw against these guys, who will he be able to throw against? The Seahawks may not need much of a passing game – Jacksonville has allowed an NFL-worst 5.7 yards per rush – but in the opportunities he does get, Wilson should be accurate and efficient. If Wilson doesn’t put up at least a 60% completion percentage, that’s a red flag.

3) How will the Seahawk D handle a traditional pocket passer?

The two quarterbacks the Seahawks have faced so far, speedsters Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick, are NFL outliers; both have world-class speed that allows them to turn a broken pass play into a big gain. Most NFL QBs are more like Jacksonville starter Chad Henne—traditional pocket passers who thrive on accuracy, and run, but only do so as a last resort. With their improved interior pass rush and continued stellar defensive back play, the Hawks should be able to get consistent pocket pressure on Henne and sack him repeatedly. But who knows? A veteran like Henne may be able to find holes in the Seahawk defense that Newton and Kaepernick couldn’t.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/21/2013 11:50 AM

The Jacksonville Jaguars definitely won’t have starting quarterback Blaine Gabbert and tight end Marcedes Lewis for Sunday’s game at Seattle, but whether running back Maurice Jones-Drew will play is still uncertain.

Jones-Drew was listed as questionable on the Friday injury report because of the tendon strain in his left ankle, but he did have limited participation in practice. If his ankle responds favorably on Saturday and Sunday morning, then he should be on the field against the Seahawks.

"It’s a little swollen -- first time cutting [was today] -- but nothing you can’t play through," Jones-Drew said. "Obviously coach wants me to be as close to 100 percent as possible, so that’s what I’m working towards right now and we’ll see how things go."

Jones-Drew suffered the injury late in the first half of the Jaguars’ 19-9 loss to Oakland. He was tackled up high by Raiders safety Charles Woodson and his left foot got caught in the turf and twisted. He did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday because he still had swelling.

"They [teammates] were uplifted by the way he worked out today," Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said.

Lewis has yet to play this season after aggravating a previous injury to his left calf during practice on Sept. 5. He first suffered the injury during pregame warm-ups for the Jaguars’ preseason game against the New York Jets on Aug. 17. Lewis did some running on Tuesday, but Bradley said Lewis’ calf still doesn’t feel right.

"He worked out and it’s much better than it has been, but he still felt it a little bit," Bradley said. "For us, to have him come back after what happened last time, we decided we’re just going to hold him out."

Lewis had missed only three games in his first seven years.

Gabbert (lacerated hand) was officially ruled out on Friday, but Bradley said on Monday that it was highly unlikely that he would be able to play against Seattle. Gabbert had some of the 15 stitches in the back of his hand removed this week and has gradually increased his throwing.

In addition, receiver Mike Brown (back) is also out while guard Uche Nwaneri (knee) and cornerback Alan Ball (groin) are questionable. Bradley said Ball’s playing status depends on how he fares in pregame warm-ups.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/21/2013 11:50 AM

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner and defensive end Chris Clemons will play Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Seattle coach Pete Carroll said Friday.

"Brandon practiced all week and did a good job," Carroll said. "And I'm really excited to tell you Chris is going to play this week. It means the world to Chris."

Clemons and Browner will be playing for the first time this season. Browner has been out with a hamstring injury. Clemons had ACL surgery in the offseason.

"He's had a fantastic recovery process," Carroll said of Clemons, the team's leading pass rusher last season with 11½ sacks. "I'm really proud of him and glad he gets to join us. He's improved steadily at practice, but he's in great shape. His conditioning is not a factor at all. He's in as good a shape as anybody on the football team."

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/22/2013 07:17 AM

The Seahawks are the better team but this line is over inflated after the Seahawks crushed the 49ers. Pete Carroll has friends on the Jags coaching staff and does not want to blow anyone out. This becomes more of a preseason game for the Birds as the starters will be out early.

Pick: Jaguars +19