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Matchups Week 4: Jaguars at Eagles

Jaguars Eagles
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) pumps up the crowd after throwing a touchdown pass during the third quarter Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022 at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville. The Jacksonville Jaguars blanked the Indianapolis Colts 24-0. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union] Jacksonville Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence during Week 2 against Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-1) at Philadelphia Eagles (3-0)

Opening Spread: Eagles -6.5.

Opening Game Total: 48.

Opening Team Totals: Eagles (27.25), Jaguars (20.75)

Weather: Outdoors, rain expected.

The Line Report

  •         This line opened between Eagles -6.5 and Eagles -7.
  •         This line has settled at Eagles -6.5 as of Friday morning.
  •         DraftKings Pick’Em has the Eagles -6.5.
  •         Circa Sports Millions Pro Football Contest has the Eagles -6.5.
  •         This total opened between 47 and 48 points.
  •         This total has moved up to 48.5 points as of Friday morning.

Notable Injuries

Eagles: IR: Edge Derek Barnett. Questionable: LG Landon Dickerson, CB Avonte Maddox.

Jaguars: Questionable: WR Zay Jones, CB Shaquill Griffin.

The Eagles Offense vs. Jaguars Defense

The Eagles have a top-five offensive line that gives them some degree of a macro edge against virtually everyone. Jacksonville's defense has generated the league’s fourth-highest pressure rate and has blown expectations out of the water through the first three games. When you factor in Jalen Hurts mobility, the Eagles have a mild edge in pass protection with a more significant one on the ground against a better-than-expected Jaguars defense.

The Jaguars front and linebackers are fast, which is a big reason this defense is exceeding expectations. Washington's talented group of pass catchers lit up the Jaguars pass defense on opening day. I have the Eagles collective group of pass catchers ranked slightly higher than Washington’s. The Jaguars secondary will be tested this week, especially if Jalen Hurts continues to perform at an MVP level.

Notes and Observations

  •         The Eagles are 2-1 against the spread this season.
  •         The Eagles are 1-2 on overs this season.
  •       Per The Edge, Jalen Hurts is third in the league in yards passing and first in yards per attempt.
  •         Hurts is also second among quarterbacks in yards rushing with 167, which would be good for 21st overall through the first three weeks.
  •         We have gotten the Oklahoma version of Jalen Hurts as a passer in the last two games. If that continues, the Eagles are a genuine title contender.
  •       Matt Cassel and Marty Mornhinweg discuss Jalen Hurts.
  •         Among running backs, Miles Sanders is tenth in the league in yards rushing.
  •         Kenneth Gainwell leads Eagles running backs in yards receiving with 23.
  •         The Jaguars have allowed the second-fewest yards rushing and the most yards receiving to running backs this season.  
  •         A.J. Brown is fourth in the league in target share (33%) and 12th in air yards share (38.5%). Brown had a monster 10-155 line on opening day.
  •         Devonta Smith is 27th in the league in target share (24.5%) and 26th in air yards share (33.7%). Smith shredded the Commanders for an 8-169-1 line last week.
  •         While Brown has elite usage numbers, the Eagles passing attack isn’t overly reliant on any one player.
  •         The Jaguars have allowed the 13th most yards receiving on the ninth fewest receptions to wide receivers this season.
  •         Among tight ends, Dallas Goedert is fourth in yards receiving and ninth in receptions.
  •          The Jaguars have allowed the 19th most yards receiving on the fifth fewest receptions to tight ends this season. 

The Jaguars Offense vs. Eagles Defense

The Eagles have a top-ten defensive line and the Jaguars have a fringe top-ten caliber offensive line. Philadelphia has one of the best interior defenses in the league, which is why I’m giving the Eagles a minor trench edge.

My biggest concern regarding the Jaguars this week is that Trevor Lawrence has played so well that Christian Kirk and Zay Jones are being spoken of as a fine wide receiver duo. I have a ton of Kirk and Jones in best ball because Trevor Lawrence was my highest exposure quarterback this season (I’ve also always liked Kirk). I’d feel much better about all three of those players in this matchup if the Jaguars had a true headliner at wide receiver. I could see Jacksonville’s pass catchers struggling against a suddenly strong Eagles secondary headlined by premium cornerback Darius Slay.

Notes and Observations

  •         The Jaguars are 2-1 against the spread this season.
  •         The Jaguars are 2-1 on overs this season.
  •       Per The Edge, Trevor Lawrence is 13th in yards passing and 17th in yards per attempt.
  •         Among running backs, James Robinson is eighth in yards rushing while teammate Travis Etienne is 34th. Etienne is 11th in receiving yards among running backs while Robinson is 39th.
  •         The Eagles have allowed the 20th most yards rushing and the 20th most yards receiving to running backs this season.
  •         Christian Kirk is currently seventh in the league in PPR points with 62.7.
  •         Kirk leads the Jaguars in target share (25.5%) and he’s second in air yards share (31%) behind Marvin Jones (35.9%).
  •         Zay Jones is second on the team in target share (22.6%).
  •         Philadelphia has allowed the 18th most yards receiving on the 11th most receptions to wide receivers this year.
  •         Among tight ends, Evan Engram is 16th in target share (14.2%) and air yards share (11%).
  •         The Eagles have yielded the tenth fewest yards receiving on the 17th most receptions to tight ends this year.

This is What You’re Betting On in Eagles vs. Jaguars  

A bet on the Eagles is a bet on a 3-0 team that’s getting MVP-caliber quarterback play out of Jalen Hurts. The Eagles have a top-ten collection of pass catchers, secondary, defensive line, and offensive line. You could argue that the Eagles have the best, most well-rounded roster in football. Head coach Nick Sirianni and his staff are adaptable and capable of deploying opponent-specific gameplans. The Eagles are a team that can win football games in multiple styles. That’s a common trait among title contenders. Your biggest concern on an Eagles bet is Jalen Hurts was an inconsistent passer last season, which means there is a path to some negative regression after two great performances in a row.

A bet on the Jaguars is a bet on a young, upstart football team that just blew the doors off the Chargers in Los Angeles after shutting out the Colts the week before. Bad teams rarely blow out multiple NFL teams. A bet on the Jaguars is a bet on Trevor Lawrence continuing to take a big step forward in his second season. This is also Doug Pederson’s return to Philadelphia, and Pederson coached Jalen Hurts during his rookie season. If you’re betting on the Jaguars here, you’re likely doing so with the expectation that Hurts regresses some after two great weeks. I have three core concerns on a Jaguars bet in this contest. The first is that I don’t think the Jaguars are a fluke, but they have put together two tremendous efforts in a row. Asking the Jaguars to win their second road game in a row, when it comes against a high-end roster like the Eagles is a big ask. The other reason is the Jaguars group of pass catchers are collectively quite average, and they are facing a difficult Eagles secondary this week.

Awards Market Ramifications: Jalen Hurts is an MVP contender. Nick Sirianni and Doug Pederson are among the primary contenders in the Coach of the Year race. Travon Walker is a Defensive Rookie of the Year contender.

Winner/ Confidence Pool: I’ll be taking the Eagles in winner pools and I expect to rank them towards the top in confidence pools.

Spread Pool: Sportsbooks have already adjusted on Philadelphia, making them a significant favorite in back-to-back weeks. I’ve been higher than consensus on the Eagles since I bet their over win total in late March. I’ve been bullish on the Jaguars as well. Since those stances have both been backed up through the first three games, I’m going to stay away from this one against the spread. In fact, I’m on the verge of taking the stance where I either bet on the Eagles or pass given their soft schedule. 

Survivor: Before the season I expected the Eagles to be logical chalk in survivor pools in this contest. That is no longer the case. The Eagles shouldn’t be outright crossed off in survivor pools, but I will now be passing on them against a dangerous Jaguars team.

WATCH MORE: Wannstedt: Jaguars Are a Top-10 Team