Bengals vs. Jaguars: Spread Info, Line and Predictions
The Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) travel to Florida to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2) in a late afternoon Week 4 matchup. Cincinnati has a good opportunity to continue to erase the opening week Monday Night clobbering by the Baltimore Ravens with another big win this week.
On the other side of things, the Jaguars have an excellent matchup due to the efficiency of their 10th ranked rushing attack. Why’s that important?
The Bengals have been absolutely awful in defending the run so far in 2012. They’re second-worst in the league, allowing 155 yards per game on the ground.
They haven’t needed to be good on defense, though, as Andy Dalton and the offense have led the team to a fast start to 2012. The Bengals have averaged 28.3 points per game through three weeks, that’s eighth best in the NFL thus far.
Jacksonville hasn’t needed to throw and Blaine Gabbert hasn’t taken the initiative to make some plays. However, he’s one of a couple quarterbacks in the league who have yet to throw an interception. He also opened the season against the Minnesota Vikings with a very solid performance.
The Bengals don’t stop the pass very well, either. Brandon Weeden, Robert Griffin III and Joe Flacco have all put up good games against the depleted Bengals secondary.
Where: EverBank Stadium, Jacksonville, Fla.
When: Sunday, September 30, 4:05 p.m. ET
Listen: ESPN 1530 AM, Sirius 94 (Cincinnati), Sirius 128 (Jacksonville)
Odds: Cincinnati Bengals -2.5 (via BetOnline)
Will the Bengals cover the 2.5 points?
The Bengals haven’t needed help from their defense with the way that their offense is scoring points. Jacksonville’s defense hasn’t performed well at all in any aspect of the game to this point. They’re right behind the Bengals ranked 30th in the NFL in rush defense (154.3 yards per game) and have surrendered over 250 yards per game through the air.
If this game is a shootout, and it has every bit the making of one from the looks of things, it’s smart to take the better quarterback in this one. Andy Dalton and the Bengals will win by a field goal or more, take that to the bank.
As mentioned previously, this is a bit of a no-brainer. Both teams are capable of scoring points and neither team is able to stop their opposition.
Over or Under 43.5?
Big plays have led to the Bengals jumpstart on offense over the past two weeks and it may not happen as expected in Week 4 against the Jags. If both teams run the football effectively they may eat up clock and could ruin what seems likely to be a high scoring affair in Jacksonville.
However, the way Cincinnati is playing on offense and the explosiveness of Maurice Jones-Drew is enough to sell me and should you as well. Go with the over with confidence.
|CB||Jason Allen||Thigh||DNP - Doubtful|
|CB||Nate Clements||Calf||DNP - Doubtful|
|DE||Carlos Dunlap||Knee||Limited - Probable|
|CB||Leon Hall||Hamstring||DNP - Questionable|
|DE||Michael Johnson||Foot||Limited - Probable|
|CB||Dre Kirkpatrick||Knee||DNP - Out|
|S||Reggie Nelson||Shoulder||Full Practice - Probable|
|RB||Bernard Scott||Ankle||Limited - Questionable|
|LB||Dontay Moch||Suspension||OUT, Returns Week 5|
|T||Andrew Whitworth||Knee||Limited - Probable|
|C||Jeff Faine||Hamstring||DNP - Questionable|
|DT||Tyson Alualu||No injury||Limited - Questionable|
|RB||Rashad Jennings||Knee||Full practice - Probable|
|DE||Austen Lane||Foot||Full practice - Probable|
|RB||Montell Owens||Concussion||Full practice - Probable|
|WR||Laurent Robinson||Concussion||DNP - Questionable|
|CB||Kevin Rutland||Concussion||Full practice - Probable|
|DE||George Selvie||Knee||DNP - Questionable|
|LB||Daryl Smith||Groin||DNP - Questionable|
|C||Brad Meester||Unk.||Full practice - Probable|
|T||Cameron Bradfield||Unk.||Full practice - Probable|
|G||Eben Britton||Unk.||Full practice - Probable|
Key to Bengals Win: Big plays
Whether it's Andy Dalton finding A.J. Green deep down the field or if it's Andrew Hawkins taking a short pass and turning it into a big play, the Cincinnati Bengals need to continue to create these big play opportunities.
So far, Dalton has been great and is gaining confidence due to the excellent play of his teammates. He’s been no slouch, either. He’s completed nearly 70 percent of his passes and has a 105 QB rating through three weeks.
Key to Jaguars Win: Maurice Jones-Drew
Without a big game from Maurice Jones-Drew, the Jacksonville Jaguars are likely to fall flat on their face. Blaine Gabbert has struggled in his sophomore season and will struggle against a pretty decent Bengals front-seven if he doesn’t have the luxury of a play-action off MJD’s success.
The Bengals are awful against the run and the MJD should have a very stat-friendly day. That won’t be enough, though, for the Jags who will need him to be just as explosive as he was during his 177-yard outburst against the Indianapolis Colts one week ago.
Prediction: Bengals 28, Jaguars 24
Both teams will be able to score, but I think that the defense will keep this game more reasonable in the scoring department than people think. It’s going to be a hot and humid day in Jacksonville, Florida, and that may temper the pace of the game.
Look for both teams to be successful on the offensive side of the ball but the Bengals to hold a late lead and ward off a Jaguars comeback in the fourth quarter.
Mike Hoag is a Breaking News Team writer with Bleacher Report and also covers the Cleveland Browns and the NFL for the site.
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