The Jacksonville Jaguars thought they were a Super Bowl-caliber team this season after reaching last year’s AFC title game. However, they have a major quarterback problem in Blake Bortles. He’ll get the start Sunday in London vs. the defending champions Philadelphia Eagles, but Bortles figures to have a very short leash if he struggles again. His Jags are short NFL Betting underdogs.
Eagles vs Jaguars NFL Week 8 Spread & Pick
- When: Thursday, 9:30 AM ET
- Where: Wembley Stadium, London
- TV: NFL Network
- Radio: Siriusxm/NFL
- Live Stream: NFL League Pass
- NFL Week 8 Spread: Philadelphia Eagles -3.5 (Total 41.5)
- Partly Cloudy: 9°C/49°F
- Humidity: 62%
- Precipitation: 6%
- Cloud Cover: 54%
- Wind: 17 mph N
- Stadium Type: Retractable
Last MeetingJacksonville opened the 2014 season in Philadelphia and lost 34-17. Nick Foles threw two touchdown passes in the second half and the Philadelphia Eagles rallied from a 17-0 deficit. Foles overcame three turnovers in the first half and threw a 68-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Maclin early in the fourth quarter to give the Eagles their first lead. Fletcher Cox returned a fumble 17 yards for a TD to seal the win.
Philadelphia became the first team in league history to win by 17 points after being blanked and trailing by 17 points at halftime. Chad Henne threw two touchdown passes to Allen Hurns in the first quarter for the Jags. Henne and Hurns are long gone now.
Why Bet on Philadelphia?The Eagles looked to have Sunday’s home game vs. Carolina in the bag, leading 17-0 in the fourth quarter. However, Cats WR Curtis Samuel rushed for a touchdown and quarterback Cam Newton threw two touchdowns passes, including a one-yard pass to tight end Greg Olsen with 1:22 remaining in the fourth quarter, in the Panthers’ 21-17 stunning victory. It was the largest fourth-quarter comeback victory in franchise history.
Carson Wentz completed 30-of-37 passes for 310 yards and two touchdowns in the loss. Wentz was very nearly perfect, but Cam Newton could not be stopped in the second half, and Philadelphia’s defense melted down. Wentz has played excellent in four straight games. Zach Ertz caught 9-of-11 targets for 138 yards. Alshon Jeffery caught 7-of-10 targets for 88 yards and a touchdown.
At 3-4, the Eagles’ playoff chances already are shaky. Jeffery drew a pass interference that set the Eagles up with a chance to score late, but Wentz gave up a strip sack on fourth down to seal the win for the Panthers.
“This one hurts because we freakin’ had it,” Ertz said. “In terms of gut-wrenching [losses], this is freakin’ top two, for sure, top three. That’s the only way to put it.”
The Eagles ran the ball just once compared to 13 pass plays in the fourth quarter, which resulted in an eight-yard gain by Wendell Smallwood. The ground game was otherwise largely ineffective, gaining 58 yards on 24 carries (2.4 average). Philly has been short-handed in the backfield for much of the season with injuries sidelining Jay Ajayi (back, ACL) and Darren Sproles (hamstring), leaving Smallwood and Corey Clement to shoulder much of the load.
Coach Doug Pederson said he has total faith in his running backs and that against a physical, run-stopping Carolina defense, the offense was able to make plays in the air and throw for more than 300 yards.
Why Bet on Jaguars?Jacksonville lost 20-7 at home to Houston and Bortles was yanked. Losing 20-0, the Jaguars benched Bortles for Cody Kessler in the second half. Bortles failed to move the ball at all, completing just 6-of-12 passes for 61 yards with two lost fumbles that directly led to Texans touchdowns. Kessler completed 21-of-30 passes for 156 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.
Bortles has actually completed a career-high 61.2 percent of his passes this season for 1,674 yards and nine touchdown passes, but he has committed 11 turnovers (eight interceptions) — eight of which have come in the past three games. The three-year contract extension Bortles signed in February essentially guarantees Bortles will be around in 2019. He is scheduled to have a $21 million cap hit in 2019 and has a dead-money figure of $16.5 million — which would be higher than the salary-cap figure of any other player on the roster. Bortles will start this game but Kessler will see reps this week in practice with the starting offense, and Bortles will be on “a short leash”.
Jaguars coach Doug Marrone says he’s really tired of the turnovers (they’re minus-12): “I’m focused on how do we stop turning the ball over. It’s hard for me in my mind to sit here right now and try to say if we can do this, we can do…we can’t do s— until we stop turning the ball over, period. That’s just how it is.”
T.J. Yeldon rushed 12 times for 28 yards and caught 5-of-7 targets for 40 yards and a touchdown vs. Houston. Yeldon operated as Jacksonville’s feature back for one last week; Carlos Hyde will likely take over as the Jags’ primary ball carrier in Week 8 against the Eagles. Hyde arrived in Jacksonville around midnight on Friday following a trade from Cleveland, passed his physical Saturday morning, then attended the team’s walkthrough later that afternoon. It was just too soon for him to play.
Hyde says his running style makes him a perfect fit for what the Jaguars want to do on offense. However, he said he wasn’t aware of the offensive struggles until he was on the sideline of Sunday’s loss to Houston. “That’s new to me. I had no clue. I was prepping for Tampa Bay,” Hyde said. “Once I got here, from the game I saw offensively we couldn’t really move the ball and that was hurting this defense.”
Eagles vs Jaguars NFL Week 8 Betting Trends
- Jaguars are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up loss
- Jaguars are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games in October
- Eagles are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games in October
- Philadelphia is 18-6 SU in its last 24 games
- Jacksonville is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games