Week 8 of the season presents us with a few interesting games. The Bucs, Dolphins, and Jaguars each out of division games. The Bucs are coming off a bye. The Jags are coming off a win against a bad Bengals defense, while the Dolphins had a bad fourth quarter in a loss to Buffalo. This week, the Jags again have a great matchup, while the Bucs and Dolphins face good defenses.
The Jags faced a bottom defense in the Bengals that can’t stop the run or the pass. This week they face a Jets team that has struggled to stop the pass. That means you can expect the trio of D.J. Chark (above), Dede Westbrook, and Chris Conley to have good games again. Chark has been held out of the endzone for two games in row, which sounds unheard of. Expect him to find the endzone and end his mini-scoring skid.
Westbrook has missed a few practices, and if he were to sit, that would open up more targets for Conley, who had seven targets a week ago. Leonard Fournette has been a workhorse this season for Jacksonville with three one hundred yard games in the last four. The Jets, though, have a good run defense that ranks top 15 in the NFL and ranking 6th in run DVOA.
The Jaguars will give him the carries. So, he is by no means a sit, but be cautious of a under 100-yard performance. He could be owned less than he would normally be in DFS and could be a good pivot play.
The Bucs will travel to Nashville fresh off a BYE week. Last time out, the offense was a mess in London with Jameis Winston tossing five interceptions. The schedule isn’t any easier here facing a Titans defense that is 9th in the NFL in sacks, and a unit with at least one turnover in every game, except for one. At running back, we don’t even know who to play between Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones.
Jones has eaten into Barber’s workload more and more each week, which might have been a sign of things to come post BYE Week. Against the Titans defense, this may not be the time to play that guessing game, though. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, who has three straight 100 yard receiving games, are always in play. And, with this matchup, they should be less owned on DFS apps.
The Miami Dolphins will be playing on Monday night!
Yes, you read that right.
The winless Phins take on a Steelers team fresh off a bye. The offense was better with Ryan Fitzpatrick back at QB. Running back, Mark Walton has emerged as the starting running back for this team. Last week he had 66 yards on 14 carries. Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage combined for nine carries to give you perspective. The wide receivers are still the safer guys to target.
With the Phins expected to be losing a lot, that means more passing, and that only helps Devante Parker and Preston Williams. Parker scored for the third week in a row and had ten targets. Williams had eight targets and led the team in receiving with 82 yards.
The Dolphins have managed to play back to back competitive games after a few blowouts to start the season and may have guys we can begin playing in the flex spots with these bye weeks.
Jaguars injury woes continue- LB Myles Jack to IR
The bad news on the injury front for the Jaguars continued on Thursday, when they placed star linebacker Myles Jack on injured reserve.
Source: #Jaguars LB Myles Jack (knee) is going on Injured Reserve today. A hit to the Jacksonville defense.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 5, 2019
Jack missed Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers with a knee injury that was believed to be a sprain suffered in the loss to the Colts two weeks ago. However, the move to IR indicates it may be more serious.
The Jaguars season has unraveled over the course of the last month with injuries to their defense and the team trading away perennial Pro Bowl defensive back Jalen Ramsey to the Rams. Jacksonville had already put DT Marcel Dareus on IR, All-Pro defensive tackle Calais Campbell has been trying to battle through a bad back and DB Tony Harrison has still not been cleared with a concussion.
Coach Doug Marrone has expressed the last two weeks that it has been a struggle for his defense with all of the injuries mounting late in the year.
As for Jack, he had settled in the middle linebacker roll after Telvin Smith abruptly retired in May.
Jack has been solid, but not spectacular, in the middle of the defense registering 7 or more tackles in five games this season. However he hasn’t forced a fumble, has only one interception and half of a sack. Jack also has just three tackles-for-loss at a position that often dictates much more output than that.
The former second-round pick out of UCLA had question marks about his knee coming out of college, when the Jaguars took him in the 2016 draft. However, he has answered critics on his durability by being active for all 59 games of his career up until last week.
Jacksonville will use veteran Donald Payne at middle linebacker for now. Payne played significantly last week against the Buccaneers and has been on and off of Jacksonville roster this season.
Can Jaguars get necessary spark from Gardner Minshew?
The Jaguars were back on the practice field on Wednesday and have to rally around their rookie QB, Gardner Minshew, to re-ignite their season. And their opponent, may be the perfect for them, too.
Minshew took over in the second half for an ineffective Nick Foles, as Foles committed turnovers on each of Jacksonville’s first three possessions. Now, he’s back as their starter to see if the 4-8 Jags can salvage some games in December.
Now, the 4-win L.A. Chargers come stumbling to North Florida off a dramatic loss in Denver and yet, somehow, have been listed as 2.5-point underdogs by top sports betting sites.
Philip Rivers and the Chargers, new-look defense is coming to Jacksonville to try and move to 5-8 and make a run at a .500 season. In effect, both of these teams’ seasons are all but over, so they are just playing for pride. And while mathematically, the Jags are not completely out of the AFC South race, yet, let’s be honest … the Titans and Texans are not going to drop four straight games … and it definitely isn’t looking like the Jags are going to win four straight.
Coach Doug Marrone is clearly in trouble and everything they try is not working. There were plenty of games that the Jaguars could have or should have won, but didn’t. And, now they are sitting on the very bottom of the AFC South with few games remaining.
Onto to the matchup.
The Chargers have owned the Jaguars historically, as they have won in two of the last three and seven of the last ten meetings. But right now, this is a pretty good spot for the Jags.
When we look at standard offense on any given Sunday, the L.A. Chargers are about two points better than the Jacksonville Jaguars on average. The Chargers put up 20.33 points per game against the Jags 18.33. It would be nice for Jaguars fans, if the Chargers performed significantly worse on the road, but they don’t.
They are almost exactly the same level of bad whether at home in Los Angeles or out on the road. And unfortunately, for Jags fans who buy tickets to home games, they have let them down at TIAA Field by performing worse in Jacksonville, to the tune of nearly three points per game. They score just 15.83 on their home field.
The yardage stats are comparable in this one, as the Chargers pass for 255.33 per game, while the Jags pass for 242.50. The Chargers rush for 92 yards per game, while the Jags run game with Leonard Fournette has dropped off to 79.67 average, currently.
On defense, the Chargers are a respectable top ten unit (No. 7 in the league) that allows just 18.50 points per game. They hold teams to 212 yards passing and 97.83 yards rushing.
However, that’s where Minshew will put them to the test. He is far more mobile than Foles and got Jacksonville 11 points in the second half Sunday with them driving for more. That is until the rookie’s killer interception at the Tampa Bay goaline midway through the fourth quarter.
So, most of the numbers point the another Jacksonville loss. That said, the Chargers have lost three straight but have shown some flashes of brilliance. So too did Minshew, who won four games in eight tries earlier this year as the fill-in starter.
If you can avoid this game for your “Survivor Pools” do so … If you are a bettor … stay away.
This is a game where anything can happen, especially with “Minshew Mania” back.