Jaguars vs. Vikings: Spread Info, Line and Predictions

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Jaguars vs. Vikings: Spread Info, Line and Predictions
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

The Jacksonville Jaguars will visit the Minnesota Vikings for their 2012 season opener. The game could feature two of the best running backs in the NFL but the status of Maurice Jones-Drew and Adrian Peterson is still unknown.

Those two players have a huge impact on fantasy teams and betting odds, two items quite popular among NFL fans.

Neither team sports a prolific offense and both can play quality run defense. This should lead to a close game and a risky bet against the spread. There is a better betting option and several more players with fantasy impact to be considered.

We cover those angles and more after the general game information.

 

Where: Mall of America Field, Minneapolis, MN

When: September 9, 1 p.m. ET

TV: CBS

Live Stream: NFL Sunday TicketAudio Pass (Pay Services)

Radio:  KFAN 100.3 - Minnesota, WOKV 690 AM - Jacksonville, FL

Spread: Vikings -4, Over/Under at 39.5 (via Bovada)

Which team will cover the spread?

Submit Vote vote to see results

While I'm not condoning or condemning gambling, I would steer-clear of the spread on this game. We'll talk about the rushing attacks in more detail below, but both offenses are big question marks headed into this game. 

Pressed for a pick, I would take the Vikings to win but not cover the spread. Jacksonville could find their passing game in Minnesota and secure a big road-win.

This will likely be a low-scoring game, making the under a tempting bet.

 

Injury Report (via nfl.com and cbssports.com)

Jacksonville

Brad Meester

C

 

Full Participation in Practice

 

Mike Harris

CB

 

Limited Participation in Practice

 

Daryl Smith

LB

 

Did Not Participate In Practice

 

Austen Lane

DE

 

Did Not Participate In Practice

 

Justin Blackmon

WR

 

Full Participation in Practice

 

Aaron Morgan

DE

 

Full Participation in Practice

 

Derek Cox

CB

 

Limited Participation in Practice

 

George Selvie

DE

 

Did Not Participate In Practice

 

Uche Nwaneri

G

 

Full Participation in Practice

 


Minnesota

Robert Blanton

CB

 

Full Participation in Practice

 

Marcus Sherels

CB

 

Limited Participation in Practice

 

Geoff Schwartz

T

 

Full Participation in Practice

 

Jarius Wright

WR

 

Did Not Participate In Practice

 

Adrian Peterson

RB

 

Limited Participation in Practice

 

Antoine Winfield

CB

 

Did Not Participate In Practice

 

Marvin Mitchell

LB

 

Did Not Participate In Practice

 

Letroy Guion

DT

 

Full Participation in Practice

 

Andrew Sendejo

S

 

Did Not Participate In Practice

 

John Carlson

TE

 

Full Participation in Practice

 

 

Fantasy Impact

Quite simply, starting any individual player (unless your league uses defensive players) in this contest could be an early sign of desperation.

Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
Peterson warmed up prior to the Vikings playing the Chargers.

Unless a fantasy owner has no other option or just wants to take a big gamble, Jones-Drew and Peterson aren't start-worthy this weekend. Neither player will be 100 percent and aren't likely to see many touches.

Both players will also be facing a quality run defense.

Jaguars head coach Mike Mularkey confirmed that Jones-Drew will play on Sunday, but tried to be coy about the role he will play. He stated via nfl.com: "Whoever starts, the other one will handle third downs and then get series on their own to give the other guy a blow so they can come back fresh."

But when he was later asked if Rashad Jennings will start, he stated he would.

"I don't know the number of reps that he will play, but I would imagine that he will play, yes," Mularkey said earlier in the week per a cbssports.com report.

The division of reps on both sides of the ball is unclear. That makes playing any running back a risky move.

Life isn't much better on the passing side. Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder start their second seasons with a lot of room for improvement and it is too early to be optimistic that they are ready to post even modest fantasy numbers.

Justin Blackmon was a tempting draft option, as he and Gabbert could build chemistry over the course of the year. The Vikings have issues in the secondary which could make him a tempting play in deeper leagues or on fantasy teams with issues at wide receiver.

Percy Harvin will be in line for a solid fantasy season, but don't expect too much from him in September. He'll rely on Jerome Simpson creating some room in the middle of the field but Simpson will be serving a three-game suspension to start the season.

Kyle Rudolph looks to be a promising player but the presence of John Carlson could limit his targets. 

 

Keys to the win

This game will be won in the trenches.

The Jaguars have a formidable defense. They were sixth in total yards allowed in 2011 (eighth in passing and ninth in rushing) and their front-seven could make life very difficult on the Vikings.

Paul Posluszny leads the defense at middle linebacker, registering four-straight 100-tackle seasons. 

Jeremy Mincey and Andre Branch will start at the two ends. Mincey is solid against the run and pass, but Branch isn't NFL-tested and is known more as a pass-rusher. The Vikings may look to run over his position to move the chains and control the clock.

Rookie Matt Kalil will be a key in this game. If he can elevate his game and control the left end, the Vikings could generate some valuable yards on the ground and give Ponder time to find Harvin and his tight ends.

Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

The Vikings have lingering questions at linebacker. While Chad Greenway and Erin Henderson are exceptional, Jasper Brinkley will be making his first meaningful start in the middle. He missed all of the 2011 season with a hip injury and started just four games as a rookie in 2009.

Minnesota liked him enough to not re-sign E.J. Henderson. He had an unspectacular camp but came up big in the team's third preseason game. He notched four tackles, including two sacks.

Jared Allen will look to follow up one of the best defensive seasons the NFL has ever seen. He had 22.0 sacks and 66 tackles last season.

 

Prediction

This should be a tough battle from two teams that were unspectacular in 2011. Both teams should be much better this season, but without their top players, this game loses some luster.

It is also telling that their best players are running backs in a pass-happy NFL.

If one of the quarterbacks can step up they could very well manage their team to the victory, but I don't expect either of the second-year players to control the game.

I'm taking Minnesota in a close game, 13-10. 

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