The Jacksonville Jaguars head to Lambeau Field on Sunday as 15.5 point underdogs against the Green Bay Packers, meaning Las Vegas doesn't give them much of a chance to win the football game, just like most everyone who's not a Jaguars fan. Even those fans are few and far between.
I've got a feeling, though.
I tweeted on Wednesday that I had a weird feeling about the Jaguars game against the Packers on Sunday. Then the news came down that the Packers were going to be without wide receiver Greg Jennings again and now wide receiver Jordy Nelson has missed all week of practice with a hamstring injury. The Packers are also without defensive back Charles Woodson who suffered a broken collarbone.
Does this mean I think the Jaguars are going to beat the Packers?
No, not likely.
I do think however, if the Jaguars do more of what they did against the Oakland Raiders on both sides of the football, they've got a good shot to keep the game close and at least cover the spread.
The Green Bay Packers defense has struggled much of the season, giving up 232 passing yards per game. The Packers however lead the NFL in sacks, with 24. Packers star outside linebacker Clay Matthews has nine of those sacks, so he will be the Jaguars offense's biggest concern. The Packers are also giving up over 100 yards per game against the run, so if the Jaguars can contain or slow down Matthews, they have a chance to move the football.
The biggest concern for the Jaguars against Green Bay lies on the defensive side of the ball. The Packers offense currently ranks fourth in the NFL passing the ball, but they struggle to consistently run the football. In order to slow down the Packers offense, the Jaguars will need to harass and pressure Aaron Rodgers, which has happened quite a bit during the 2012 season. The Packers have given up 26 sacks through seven games, the second most in the NFL.
Against a banged up offensive line in Oakland, the Jaguars were able to blitz and manufacture pressure to affect Carson Palmer and the Raiders passing game. It's likely the Jaguars will need to employ the same type of things against the Packers. If they can't get pressure on Rodgers behind that woeful Packers offensive line, they're going to be in for a really long day.
Score prediction: Packers 26, Jaguars 17