New Orleans Saints () vs Jacksonville Jaguars ()Date : 08/09/2018
Time : 7:00 PM
Location : TIAA Bank Field
Pick, Prediction, & Preview:
New Orleans Saints vs Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jacksonville Jaguars are excited to open the 2018 preseason at TIAA Bank Field which was formerly known as EverBank Field in what will be an AFC-NFC crossover matchup as the New Orleans Saints will come into town, the opening kick is slated for 7:00 PM. Both teams are coming off successful seasons as both teams won their respective divisions and made a playoff run of there own.
New Orleans Saints's Latest Performance :
The New Orleans Saints were able to break a 3-year playoff drought last season as they won the NFC South behind an 11-5 record where they eventually fell to the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Divisional round in what was a heartbreaking finish. The Saints have been led by the same QB since 2006 but the veteran Drew Brees looked like he never aged as he threw for 4,334 yards, 23 TDs, and only 8 interceptions. New Orleans already had a solid running back in Mark Ingram who rushed for 1,124 yards and 12 TDs last year but they were able to find a diamond in the rough with their 2017 draft pick, Alvin Kamara. Kamara was a swiss army knife for the Saints last season as the former Tennessee Volunteer rushed for 728 yards and 8 TDs as well as caught 81 passes which were good for 826 yards and 5 TDs. The running back unit only expanded with more talent this past offseason as the Saints added Terrance West and Shane Vereen who have all played a consistent role on an NFL squad in their careers. Kamara wasn’t the only threat through the air as the 25-year-old WR Michael Thomas led the team in receiving yards 1,245 yards as well as in TDs with 5. Ted Ginn was also another solid piece for the pass catchers as he compiled 787 yards last year but Ginn is aging and may not be as dependable anymore which prompted the signing of Brandon Tate and Michael Floyd. The defense doesn’t host too many household names but that takes nothing away from their top 10 defense as they did enough to support Brees and the offense. Cam Jordan has developed into a superstar as an edge rusher as the 29-year-old was able to rack up 13 sacks last year in what was his 3rd career Pro Bowl season. The Saints have hope in their young rushers as Trey Hendrickson out of FAU showed potential last season and 2018 first-round pick Marcus Davenport looks like a project. The secondary was also a huge reason the Saints were successful last season as they were led by 6 guys all under the age of 25. Rookies Marcus Williams and Marshon Lattimore were the two leaders in the back half of the secondary as they combined for 9 interceptions and 25 pass deflections but as we saw in the playoffs they are still growing. The linebacker unit needs to grow this year as they only had one guy crack the 50 tackle mark but expect a better year from Norte Dame standout Manti Te’o.
Jacksonville Jaguars's Latest Performance :
The Jacksonville Jaguars pushed the New England Patriots to the brink of defeat last year in the AFC championship game and even though they lost they showed the rest of the NFL world that they may be the team of the future. There were a ton of questions about who will be the QB entering this season after Blake Bortles was very inconsistent last year but his 3,687-yard year locked him down a longterm contract. Bortles has one of the best young running backs in the NFL as the Jaguars used their 2017 first-round pick on Leonard Fournette who looked NFL ready from the season he stepped on the field at LSU. Fournette was banged up all season as he only played in 13 games but that didn’t stop the 228 pound back from rushing for 1,040 yards and 9 TDs. There was a lot of concern for the WR unit after Allen Robinson went down with an ACL injury and Allen Hurns only playing in 10 games but the Jaguars had some young unsung heroes shine in the spotlight. The leading WR for the Jags was the undrafted free agent Keelan Cole who played his college ball at Kentucky Wesleyan as the speedy slot compiled 748 yards and 3 TDs. Hurns and Robinson departed in free agency but the Jaguars drafted DJ Chark early in the second-round as well as brought in WR Donte Moncrief and TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins. The Jaguars don’t pride themselves on their offense but rather their defense as they posted one of the best units in all of football. The strongest position group for the Jaguars is their secondary as they have two of the best CB duos in the NFL in Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye as well as veteran safeties Barry Church and Tashuan Gibson. These 4 starters combined for 214 tackles, 18 interceptions, and 57 pass deflections and destroyed Ben Roethlisberger all season (7 turnovers). The pass rush is the next deadliest unit for the Jaguars and was also a huge part of the secondaries success as they were able to get in the QB’s grill before he even had a chance to think. Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue were the two team leaders in sacks as the duo combined for and more remarkably forced 9 fumbles. The linebacker corp is still young but promising as Myles Jack and Telvin Smith will play even bigger roles after the former defensive captain Paul Posluszny elected to retire.
How New Orleans Saints & Jacksonville Jaguars Matchup.
Vegas Odds, Offshore Odds, & Odds ATS:
New Orleans was 8-8 ATS in 2017
Jacksonville was 9-7 ATS in 2017
In-Depth Analysis of each team:
New Orleans ranked 4th in PPG with 28 while Jacksonville ranked 5th with 26.1 PPG.
Jacksonville ranked 2nd in point allowed as they let opponents score an average of 16.8 PPG while New Orleans ranked 10th where they allowed 20.4 PPG.
Against The Spread Selection: Jacksonville Jaguars -2.5
My reason for the pick :
This is one of the more interesting preseason week 1 games as we have two teams who will be eager to show the NFL world that they weren’t a fluke last year but rather a team to stay. The reason that I am backing the Jaguars is that Marrone will try to push his starters to the brink in their home opener, unlike Payton who will bench his starters as this isn’t his first rodeo. The Jaguars defense is stacked whether it’s the starters or the backups and given the uncertainty of QBs behind Brees I feel like Marrone will ramp up his young guys and see who will be valuable on both special teams and in certain packages. Back the Jaguars and the -2.5 spread.