Jaguars vs. Bengals Betting Odds & Pick: Back Jacksonville As A Week 4 Underdog
James Gilbert/Getty Images. Pictured: James Robinson (30)
Jaguars vs. Bengals Odds
The Bengals were able to escape with a tie in Week 3 despite the Eagles swarming Joe Burrow for eight sacks. Now the Bengals will look to take the next step forward and get Burrow his first win against the Jaguars.
Cincinnati should have the weapons to attack a struggling Jacksonville secondary that allows the league’s highest quarterback rating. However, to do so, the Bengals will have to hold off a Jaguars’ pass rush that has produced a respectable pressure rate of 24.2%.
The Jaguars enter Week 4 after playing their worst game of the season on Thursday Night Football.
Allowing three touchdowns on the Dolphins’ first three drives was an instance of the Jaguars’ defensive struggles in the first half. Fortunately for them, the Bengals have struggled to move the ball through the air early in games, as Burrow has a quarterback rating of 76.5 in the first quarter. If the Jaguars are able to avoid an early deficit, they will have a chance to lean on their run game against a Bengals defense that’s allowing 5.0 yards per carry.
Coming off extra rest, the Jaguars should be ready to show they’re the team from Weeks 1 and 2 — not the pushover that showed up Week 3 — and take down the Bengals.
Undrafted rookie running back James Robinson has been everything the Jaguars could have wanted when they released Leonard Fournette and backup Ryquell Armstead was placed on the COVID/IR list. Averaging 3.1 yards after contact per carry, Robinson should cause lots of problems for the struggling Bengals run defense.
Attacking the Bengals’ sixth-ranked pass defense will be more difficult, as no receiver had more than 43 yards for the Jaguars in Week 3. The return of D.J. Chark should provide a nice boost to Jacksonville’s passing attack. While he has only 109 yards in his two games played, he draws coverage from the defense’s top corner, making life easier for the rest of the receivers.
The Jaguars’ run defense has been their strength. Myles Jack has been the main source of production with a league-leading 33 tackles. Jacksonville should be well-positioned to control Cincinnati’s rushing offense, which averages a measly 3.4 yards per carry and ranks 31st in the NFL.
Defending the pass will be a much more difficult challenge.
The Jaguars have allowed an 80% completion rate and quarterback rating of 118.6, ranking last in both categories. With the struggles of their defensive backfield, they’ll need to rely on the pass rush to slow the passing attack. This unit, led by Pro-Bowler Josh Allen, has produced the 12th overall pressure rate. And while this may not be the cream of the crop, it should be enough to cause problems for Burrow.
Burrow has shown he was deserving of the first overall pick, producing a respectable Pro Football Focus grade of 76.1. However, despite his play, the Bengals offense ranks 25th in points scored, 27th in yards gained and last in yards per play.
The struggle to move the ball lies on the shoulders of the offensive line and wide receivers.
The line has allowed a league-high 14 sacks and has blocked for the sixth-fewest yards before contact on rush attempts. And while the receivers were hyped coming into the year, the big names have struggled: A.J. Green looks like the injuries have caught up to him, catching 13-of-28 targets; rookie second-rounder Tee Higgins averages only 5.0 yards per target; and former first-rounder John Ross was a healthy scratch in Week 3. Tyler Boyd has been the only receiver to perform with a career-high 76.7 yards per game.
Even if the line is able to keep Burrow upright, his receivers will need to step up and do their part.
While former All-Pro Geno Atkins was able to return to practice in a limited fashion, the Bengals will be without him for at least one more game. Without Atkins providing reinforcements, linebackers Josh Bynes and Germaine Pratt will need to improve their play to slow down the run. Otherwise, Robinson will have a field day against the 31st-ranked rushing defense
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The pass defense has played well, allowing the second-fewest yards per pass attempt at a mark of 5.8. Cornerback William Jackson III has been the leader of the group, guarding the opposing offense’s No. 1 target and still holding quarterbacks to a rating of 72.0 when targeted.
The Bengals should have an advantage against the Jaguars’ 21st-ranked passing attack.
Due to the struggles on the offensive line, the talented Bengals offense has produced a league-worst 4.2 yards per play. So if the Jaguars can keep the Bengals from getting ahead early, Robinson should be in a position to take advantage of the Bengals’ 31st-ranked run defense.
Pick: Jaguars +3