Jacksonville Jaguars (2-5 SU, 2-5 ATS) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (5-2 SU, 3-4 ATS)
Week 9 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, November 6, 2016 at 1PM EST
Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Betting Odds: JAC +8.5/KC -8.5
Over/Under Total: 45.5
The Jacksonville Jaguars face the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium. The Jaguars are looking for something in the way of a positive development after a rough Thursday Night Football loss to the Titans, 36-22, in a game that wasn't even that close. The Jags fell into a 27-0 halftime hole and it was another disturbing development for a team that hasn't made much progress despite high hopes. Kansas City, meanwhile, is quietly working themselves into shape after three straight wins. On Sunday, they scored a nifty 30-14 road win over Indy. At 5-2, they are positioned to make a nice run and we'll see where they take it from here. From all outward appearances, it looks as if they might be poised to make a run at the stacked AFC West division.
The Jags had shown a little surge last season and another one was forecasted this season. It just hasn't manifested. All things considered, coach Gus Bradley should have probably been canned following a Thursday night performance where the Jags looked like they didn't want to be there. Not all teams can be winning ones, but to not show a professional effort is a bad sign for a team that has nothing to be content about after a long line of failure. The stink follows them around yet again this season.
Jacksonville might not have the best tools on offense. Their running back situation with TJ Yeldon at the head is pretty bleak. And the line is filled with guys who have underachieved despite their big contracts. But with the strong-armed Blake Bortles and a stacked aerial package, you'd think they could manage putting up some points here and there. And that happens a lot less often than you'd think, despite huge talent at their avail in Allen Robinson, Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns at receiver, good tight ends in Marcedes Lewis and Julius Thomas, along with other role guys. There is really no reason they should be the 25th ranked offense in the league. Bortles has been lukewarm with a 12/9 TD to INT ratio. Yeldon is averaging 3.5 yards a carry. And a nice receiver crew is being squandered.
It'd be rash to label the Jacksonville defense as being "bad." They tend to be gritty against the pass and they are a respectable 11th overall in yards allowed. But they are pretty flimsy up-front, both in terms of stuffing the run and in rushing the passer. In fact, the whole defense isn't particularly adept at creating something positive. Opposing quarterbacks often have time to survey the land before acting. And they've only gotten 5 turnovers on the season. They're just not terribly impactful, sort of like the other side of the ball. But they're not awful, though they looked it at times on Thursday against the Titans.
You have to wonder how bad of a spot this could be for the Jags. Arrowhead is never an easy place to play and the resourceful and surging Chiefs have a way of exploiting teams that aren't totally committed to the task. Their offensive coordinator was canned after the loss to the Titans, with other heads ready to fall unless something good happens soon. But why would it now? If this team has in fact given up in any shape or form, winning games is going to be really hard, as will be covering spreads. It just has to be disconcerting to see things unravel like this for the Jags, who look to be right back where they started.
The win over Indy came at a cost for the Chiefs. Alex Smith took some shots and was replaced by Nick Foles. Smith had a concussion and you can have worse backups than Foles, who has shown he can lead a team to victory. He did so on Sunday on 16-for-22 passing and two TD passes. Spencer Ware, who may be the Chiefs most valuable offensive weapon, was also removed from the game following a concussion. So while the Chiefs have made a surge and won three straight, we'll see if they can recover from injuries. Jamaal Charles' return was delayed and now swelling on his repaired knee has sidelined him again. With an offense that can't afford to lose a lot, Sunday may prove to be a costly win. There has been word that perhaps Smith didn't suffer a concussion after all and his progress in practice will be something to keep an eye on heading into Sunday. For a short-term period, however, Foles could keep things at the same level.
It was promising to see the Chiefs offense chug along with injuries pelting their personnel. Foles was on-point, connecting well with both Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill, a rookie who is beginning to give the moribund KC aerial attack a boost. With Ware and Charles out of action, that left Charcandrick Ware to take care of the running duties. Jeremy Maclin caught a TD pass. Chris Conley had some nice grabs. This is a group that often gets a lot out of what they have and that should continue to materialize.
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Kansas City's defense was able to contain the dangerous but inconsistent Indy offense. They got after it in a big way, with Dee Ford registering 3.5 sacks, as the Chiefs got 6 sacks on the day. The secondary delivered and kept Luck from getting into stride. The front seven made plays. This is not a defense that shuts teams down. But they really know how to tighten up at the right time. And the bottom line is what speaks loudest—less than 20 points a game allowed on average. With guys like Ford and Marcus Peters (5 INT), the Chiefs can also make plays and turn games around with their play.
The Jaguars could benefit from the iffy personnel issues that the Chiefs are dealing with this week. Granted, coming into Arrowhead is a tough spot for what looks to be a lost-at-sea Jaguars bunch. But against a Chiefs offense that is sometimes so-so under ideal circumstances, it's not impossible that Jacksonville's defense could maybe limit the Chiefs production on that side of the ball and manufacture a cover with the number being pretty big. One almost bristles when saying this, but I'm taking the Jags and the points.
Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Jacksonville Jaguars plus 8.5 points. Did you know... that you could be wagering on the Jaguars vs. Chiefs game at discounted odds? There's a better than good chance that you're laying -110 odds (or more) with your book. Stop overpaying TODAY by making the switch to 5Dimes Sportsbook! You will be so glad that you did!