Jacksonville Jaguars at Cincinnati Bengals NFL 9/30

The NFL’s Week 4 slate gets underway with the 0-3 Jaguars meeting 2-1 Cincinnati at Paul Brown Stadium on Thursday night. It’s been a tough transition to the NFL for Jacksonville coach Urban Meyer and #1 pick Trevor Lawrence, whose team has dropped each of their games by double-digit points. That looks like it gives the Bengals some value as -7.5 favorites

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Jaguars Showing Any Improvement? 

Jacksonville’s best chance for a win so far this season was their season opener against Houston, but the Texans haven’t looked as bad as expected when they’ve had Tyrod Taylor in at QB. The Jaguars have then matchup up with two tough teams in the Broncos in Week 2 and the Cardinals last Sunday, both of who are undefeated heading into Week 4. 

So maybe Jacksonville isn’t as bad as they look. The Jaguars were up 19-10 in the 3rd vs. Arizona but gave up 14 points within the final 1:21 of the quarter, thanks largely in part to Lawrence throwing a 29-yard pick-six on a botched flea-flicker. The Jags did get one of their earlier TDs on a 109-yard missed field goal return and also whiffed on two extra points, so it was definitely a weird game. 

Lawrence threw two more INTs on Sunday and now is tied for the NFL lead with 7. Meyer showed a real dedication to the run vs. Arizona when James Robinson carried the ball on 6 of 8 plays and finished with 66 yards and a TD. Jacksonville, of course, abandoned that, and Robinson ended up with just 15 carries in the game for 88 yards. Getting the ground game going is key vs. the Bengals, but they have a top 10 run defense through three weeks. 

Big Night Coming for Burrow

Neither the Bengals nor Jaguars get a ton of primetime games, so this will be a nice showcase for Joe Burrow, last year’s #1 pick going up against Lawrence, the 2021 top drafted player. Cincinnati is coming off a huge 24-10 win over Pittsburgh in Week 3 as +2.5 underdogs on BetUS and Bovada, but the Steelers were also very beat up. 

Regardless of how healthy the Steelers were, it is impressive that Burrow threw 3 TD passes and had just four incompletions (14/18). He should be able to have another very accurate night against a Jaguars defense that has allowed opposing QBs to complete 74.3% of their passes this year – third-worst in the league. Burrow has a legitimate go-to man as Ja’Marr Chase has 4 TDs through three games, and Joe Mixon is also averaging nearly 100 yards/game on the ground. 

The Bengals defense is ready to feast on the young Jaguars QB Lawrence after battering Ben Roethlisberger last week to the tune of four sacks. Roethlisberger ended up throwing the ball 58 times last Sunday, and you could tell he was done with the whole thing while continuing to check down to Najee Harris, who had 14 catches out of the backfield. 

Jaguars at Bengals Pick 

Jacksonville is a weird team – they miss extra points, they return field goals 109 yards, and they throw a lot of interceptions. Turnovers will be the downfall of the Jaguars yet again on Thursday Night as Lawrence tries to do too much with the national stage. Giving the incredibly accurate Burrow a short field is a recipe for a double-digit loss. 

Jaguars 16 – Bengals 27

The Pick: Bengals -7.5

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