When the Jacksonville Jaguars face off against the Philadelphia Eagles, you can bet that there’s going to be something other than just a win or a loss on the line. Whether he wants to express it or not, Doug Pederson, the current coach of the Jaguars, was not at all happy about his rather unceremonious departure from the City of Brotherly Love.
Things got way out of control as far as Pederson’s differences with quarterback Carson Wentz, which led to his benching in favor of Jalen Hurts. And then, in a late-season game against Washington, which had to win to qualify for the playoffs, Pederson dived, in effect, putting little-used back up Nate Sudfeld into the game, replacing Hurts.
It was kind of unclear as to whether that move came on orders from “above,” but this was a completely different picture from what Pederson had been looking at just a couple of years before when he led the Eagles to their one and only Super Bowl championship.
Pederson has found a new life in Jacksonville, and while the Eagles are off to a 3-0 start, the Jaguars are 2-1 and looking better than anyone would have expected.
These teams meet at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia at 1 p.m. Eastern time, with the game to be carried on a regional basis by Fox Network.
BetOnline has these NFL odds at all the top NFL betting sites, with the Eagles favored by almost a touchdown.
Philadelphia Eagles -6.5
Jacksonville Jaguars + 6.5
Over 44 points -110
Under 44 points – 110
Last week Philadelphia powered for 400 yards, but it didn’t happen the way most people expected it would at the beginning of the season. Only 72 yards were traversed on the ground, and Hurts had 340 yards through the air. Now, this is a much more balanced offense under Nick Sirianni, who went run-heavy about midway through the 2021 season as the Eagles drove toward the playoffs.
Now Hurts looks like an MVP candidate and perhaps the hottest quarterback in the NFL right now, with 916 yards. AJ Broiwn and DeVanta Smith have been a dynamic duo at wide receiver. They have 558 yards, and the ground game still averages 4.5 yards per attempt.
So on the surface, that looks like an offense that might be able to carry this team to an NFC Championship.
But some people think the Eagles might be a bit overrated, opining that Hertz may not be able to get it done with his arm in crunch time. Surely to have them as the favorites to go to the Super Bowl, as is the case at BetOnline, you are bypassing teams like Tampa Bay, Green Bay, and the Los Angeles Rams, just to name a few.
We all know that when a team carries that much respect with them, you sometimes have to pay a premium in a game in which they are favored. That could be the case here.
On top of that, the Jacksonville players definitely like Pederson in the early going because he presented such a pleasant contrast to what they had last season under Urban Meyer. Which is to say, a genuine NFL coach bringing a genuine NFL philosophy to the table. So they’ll play for him.
They added a lot of receiving talent in the offseason, including Christian Kirk, who has 267 yards already. And obviously, this was in support of Trevor Lawrence, who was the top pick in the NFL draft a year ago and struggled mightily with Meyer’s staff. In the first three games, he’s been intercepted only once, and that’s very encouraging because he tied for the league lead last year. And with 69% completion, obviously, he is showing a tremendous amount of progress.
After a season-opening loss to Washington, the Jags have been absolutely on fire, beating the Colts 24-0 and the Chargers 38-10. We understand that Los Angeles was working with an injured quarterback, but it’s hard to find a lot of excuses for margins like that. So we’re looking for the Jags to offer that special effort, and as such, we are okay with grabbing the points.
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