Broncos vs Jaguars NFL Week 8 Picks, Predictions

Broncos vs Jaguars NFL Week 8 Picks, Predictions article feature image

Pictured: Russell Wilson (left) and Trevor Lawrence.

  • The Jaguars are favorites in London this morning against the Broncos.
  • After missing Week 7, Russell Wilson is set to start for Denver.
  • Phillip Kall previews the game and makes his betting pick below.

Broncos vs Jaguars Odds

Sunday, Oct. 30
9:30 a.m. ET
Broncos Odds+2.5
Jaguars Odds-2.5
Moneyline+110 / -130
Odds via FanDuel.

After starting 2-1, the Jaguars have fallen from being one of the NFL’s surprise teams. They have lost four straight and have been reminiscent of the teams that placed last in the division for four consecutive years.

A trip to London could be what Jacksonville needs to get back on the right track, though. The Jaguars are 4-4 in London games. That may seem underwhelming, but it's much more impressive when you compare it to their 40-105 record since 2013 (the year of their first London game).

The Broncos have followed a similar path this season. After a 2-1 start, they have dropped their previous four games. Unlike Jacksonville, though, Denver was expected to be a contender and has fallen far short under first-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett, who needs this Broncos team to start showing signs of life.

Let’s take a deep dive and see who plays with the urgency needed to win.

Broncos vs Jaguars Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how the Broncos and Jaguars match up statistically:

Broncos vs Jaguars DVOA Breakdown
Overall DVOA2918
Pass DVOA2618
Rush DVOA2615
Overall DVOA113
Pass DVOA73
Rush DVOA1818
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For all their ups and downs, the Jaguars have managed to put together a respectable offense. They rank sixth in yards per drive and 15th in points per drive. Even better, in their last three games, they have averaged 418 yards of offense per game. 

The driving force for this recent offensive success has been the run game. In those last three games, the Jaguars have averaged 174 yards rushing. This has been helped by the development of second-year running back Travis Etienne. Last week, Etienne played 80% of snaps and averaged 8.14 yards per carry. This gave Jacksonville's leadership the confidence to ship running back James Robinson off to the Jets. We will see if Etienne can continue to lead this successful ground attack without his backfield co-star.

The problem recently has been turnovers. In the Jaguars' first three games, they committed one turnover and forced eight. In their last four, they have committed nine and forced one. Protecting the ball needs to be a much higher priority for this young offense.

Bet Broncos vs Jaguars
Broncos +2.5 | Jaguars -2.5

Defensively, Jacksonville has mainly struggled in one area: third down. The Jaguars have allowed teams to convert on 44.3% of their third downs, the sixth-worst in the league. Teams have just absolutely carved the Jags up through the air on third down. They allow 8.7 yards per pass attempt and a passer rating of 100.2 on third down. They need to improve this aspect of situational football to help create opportunities for their offense.

There is little more to say about the Broncos' offense than the obvious. They have been terrible. They rank 25th in yards per drive and 32nd in points per drive. This does create a discrepancy with their per-play efficiencies, though, as they are 21st and 22nd in net pass yards per attempt and rush yards per attempt. Yes, both sets of rankings are bad regardless, but at least on a per-play basis, they are below average instead of terrible.

The problem for them, like the Jags' defense, has been situational football. Denver ranks 31st in third-down efficiency and dead last in Red Zone efficiency. This is where the complaints about Hackett come in. Even if Russell Wilson’s play has dramatically fallen off, this offense can not do anything when it needs to. That falls on the coach.

Thanks to the offense's immense struggles, one of the league’s best defenses is going to waste. Denver is the number one team in both yards and points per drive allowed. They have allowed only one team to score over 20 and are a dastardly 2-5. Even when they allow teams to move the ball into the Red Zone, they turn it up and shut them down. They have allowed a mere four touchdowns on 16 opponents' trips to the Red Zone. First-year defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero is certainly making a name for himself and may be a candidate to replace Hackett.

Betting Picks

Like most of the Broncos' games this year, this game will come down to which team can make the one or two plays needed to win. Until proven otherwise, I will continue fading Denver in those situations. 

The Broncos have shown they can not be trusted on offense in those high-leverage situations. This pretty much gives the Jaguars a get-out-of-free card for their defense's biggest deficiency.

On the other side of the ball, Jacksonville’s ability to run should pay dividends against Denver’s defense. The Broncos rank 22nd in yards per attempt allowed. We saw last week Breece Hall make the one game-changing run against Denver. Now, Travis Etienne will have the same opportunity to show off his dynamism. 

Add in the London factor for Jacksonville, and this looks like a great spot to reignite some playoffs for Duval county.

Quickslip: Jaguars -2.5 | Bet to -3

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