Sports

NFL Week 15 Preview: Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Atlanta Falcons

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At first glance your thoughts about this game is probably, “why the heck didn’t the NFL flex this Thursday night game? Why the hell do we have to watch the Jaguars?” Taking a closer look however, this might not be such a bad matchup after all.

Unlike the past two seasons when the Jaguars were in position to win their way into the playoffs going into Week 15, this year they are mathematically eliminated. The Indianapolis Colts spoiled their playoff chances in each of the past two seasons and this time it’s the Jacksonville looking to play the role of spoiler.

The Jaguars are 4-9, have a new owner, an interim head coach and a rookie quarterback. On paper there is no way the Jaguars can win this game on the road and one would think that they should consider just saving the airfare and hotel money and not bother showing up. Then again, try telling that to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who were steam rolled by the Jags 41-14 last week as Jacksonville scored 41 unanswered points including 28 points in the second quarter. And try telling that to the first place Baltimore Ravens too who could only muster seven points against the Jags on Monday night in Week 7 losing 12-7.

The Falcons are currently 8-5, two games behind the NFC South-leading New Orleans Saints at 10-3 and it’s highly improbable that they can catch Saints and win the division. As it stands the Falcons currently hold the number 5 seed and if the playoffs opened today would play the Giants in the first round. Atlanta controls their own destiny and can assure themselves of a playoff spot if they win out.

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The Falcons play the Saints next week and if they have any aspirations at all of winning the division they have to beat them head to head and then get some help. This is a classic trap game for them and they need to be conscious of looking past the Jags and ahead to next week. With New Orleans looming, a loss to Jacksonville could be disastrous and could place them on the outside looking it.

GameDay Notes

  • Jacksonville has placed a league-high 27 players on injured reserve
  • Falcons’ win clinches fourth straight winning season – franchise had never had back-to-back winning seasons before current run
  • Jaguars’ Maurice Jones-Drew leads league with 1,222 rushing yards
  • Falcons’ Roddy White needs 35 receiving yards to reach 1,000 for fifth straight season
  • Atlanta’s Matt Ryan has posted a passer rating above 110 in three of last four games
  • Jacksonville rookie Blaine Gabbert is the league’s lowest-rated passer (65.3)
  • Falcons DE John Abraham has 107.5 sacks, second most among active players (Jason Taylor 138.5).

Best Guess:  11 ½ points too much. Atlanta wins but Jags will cover.

Game Time: 8:20 p.m. (NFL Network)
Spread: Falcons by 11 1/2
Records: Jaguars 4-9 (4-8-1 vs. spread), Falcons 8-5 (6-6-1 vs. spread).

BTW – I wouldn’t think you were crazy if you took the Jags moneyline for a big payday. Every $10 bet would pay you $55.00 on the upset. Not too shabby from the risk reward stand point and it’s all about managing risk. Think I’m nuts? Did you pick the Jags monyline in Week 7 against the Ravens?

The founder and former owner of MC3 Sports Media, Mike Cardano is the Sr. Business Administrator for RotoExperts and the Executive Director here at TheXLog.com. You may email Mike @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @MikeCardano. Listen to Mike on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio with Scott Engel and the morning crew Tuesday mornings at 10am ET.