The Jaguars and Saints meet for Week 7’s edition of Thursday Night Football tonight! The Jags come in with three straight wins and an overall record of 4-2, while the Saints currently sit at 3-3 following last week’s loss to the Texans. With Trevor Lawrence’s status up in the air, New Orleans is a 2.5-point favourite, and the over/under sits at 40.5 total points.
As we mentioned above, quarterback Trevor Lawrence will be a game-time decision. C.J. Beathard will be called upon to operate the offence if he cannot go. Jacksonville’s game plan will rely heavily on Lawrence’s status, but there are still things Doug Pederson will be looking to do with the ball regardless of who is under center. Number one will be getting it into the hands of Travis Etienne. Etienne has four touchdowns and over 260 total yards in the last two weeks, and if the running game is efficient, the passing game will be under much less pressure. Regardless of who plays quarterback, this is a good thing because even if Lawrence is in, his mobility won’t be at 100%.
Besides Etienne, look for the Jags to spread the ball around to Evan Engram, Calvin Ridley and Christian Kirk in the passing game however they can. With Beathard, this might mean a lot of short passes and screens to get these players into space. Thankfully, Jacksonville’s defence should be able to keep a weak New Orleans offence from scoring a ton of points, so the Jags won’t need to run the score up themselves.
Many talented players are on the Saints’ offence, but the unit hasn’t figured it out this year. They’ve scored more than two touchdowns just once in six weeks, and only the Giants and Falcons have scored fewer points per game in the NFC. The box score stats aren’t terrible, but at the end of the day, if you’re not scoring touchdowns, you’re not winning many games. Derek Carr was 32/50 for over 350 yards last week, but the team only scored 13 points. Tonight, look for Carr and the offence to once again get Alvin Kamara involved whenever possible. In the passing game, Chris Olave will be the top option, but I also expect to see a lot of shorter throws directed at Michael Thomas. Hopefully, something can click for this offence soon.
On the other side of the ball, things are going much better for the Saints. In six games, they’ve allowed more than 20 points just once. The defence has been the best unit in New Orleans for a while, and as long as they’re on their game, the Saints will always have an opportunity to win. Their rush defence is their strength, and if they can slow down Etienne early, look for a lot of blitzes toward whoever is playing quarterback for the Jags.
Jaguars and Saints: The Pick
The Jaguars and Saints are a very interesting matchup. The Jags have a dynamic offence that can score a lot of points, but the Saints aren’t a team that allows that very often. If New Orleans can get the ball moving on offence, they should be able to control the tempo of this game. With a less than 100% Trevor Lawrence or C.J. Beathard running things for Jacksonville, I like the Saints at home to win the game and snap the Jags’ three-game winning streak tonight.
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