Opening week of the NFL has the Jacksonville Jaguars hosting the Green Bay Packers. Kickoff for this Week 1 matchup is scheduled for 1:00 EST at EverBank Field. Oddsmakers have the Packers as a 4.5-point road favorite and the total set at 48 points.
Packers vs Jaguars Vegas Game Preview
Green Bay’s streak of 4 straight AFC North titles came to an end last season. Though the Packers still found their way into the playoffs at 10-6. After destroying Washington, they suffered a heartbreaking 20-26 OT loss at Arizona. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense wasn’t anywhere close to what we have grown to expect. With Jordy Nelson back in the picture, Green Bay is a clear-cut Super Bowl contender.
Jacksonville finished up the 2015 season at just 5-11. That’s now 5 straight years with 5 wins or less. As bad as it’s been, the future looks bright for the Jaguars. They are a popular pick to be a surprise team in 2016 and compete for a playoff spot. The potential is there, but it also wouldn’t be a huge shocker if they stumbled once again.
Free Betting Pick & Spread Prediction: Jaguars +4.5
No surprise here, the betting public is all over Green Bay at the current line of 4.5. As much hype as the Jaguars have been getting, it means nothing when facing the Packers. The public loves to back Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay and will do so at what they perceive to be a favorable line.
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I’m going opposite of the public action in this one and taking the Jaguars to cover the 4.5 at home. All the talk about Jacksonville surprising is legit. This team has the weapons to score offensively and the defense should be improved.
One of my big concerns with Green Bay in this game is the injuries in the trenches. The Packers could be minus three key defensive linemen in this one. Mike Pennel is suspended the first 4 game. Rookie Kenny Clark and veteran Letroy Guion are both questionable. That’s a big problem given the humidity and heat they will be up against in Jacksonville.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Packers are minus starting center Corey Linsley, who is on the PUP list. Backup guard Lane Taylor is being forced into the starting role. It might not seem like a big deal, but the play of the center is huge in the NFL. I think it slows down the Packers offense just enough to allow the Jags to cover.
Keep in mind this Jacksonville defense Rodgers will be facing is very young and athletic. The team is raving about last year’s first round pick in Dante Fowler Jr. They also added Malik Jackson up front and safety Tashaun Gibson. Not to mention stud rookie corner Jalen Ramsey.
Offensively the Jaguars have a lot more weapons than you might realize. Despite being under constant pressure, Blake Bortles made huge strides in year two. They have two big time playmakers at receiver in Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns. They also beefed up the ground game with the addition of Chris Ivory.
It’s also worth noting that the Packers have struggled in recent road trips against AFC teams. With a huge division game on deck at Minnesota, I think Green Bay potentially overlooks this game. I see a close game throughout, with the value clearly with the home team in this one.