The Jaguars are coming off a comeback, last-second, upset win over Baltimore.
Detroit, meanwhile, is coming off a loss, although it’s hard to blame a team for losing to Buffalo. Plus, it was only a three-point game. Before their most recent loss, the Lions had won 3 in a row.
For reasons that I will explain, you should play both spread and total for Sunday’s game between Jacksonville and Detroit.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Detroit Lions
Sunday, December 4, 2022 – 01:00 PM at Ford Field
Jacksonville is a young team learning to win games. While the team is filled with potential on both sides of the ball, its youth ensures that grievous lows will counterbalance the impressive highs, because inconsistency is a part of being young.
So, while the Jaguars followed their annual home victory over Indianapolis with a dominating win against a reeling Charger squad whose top players were hurt, they followed the latter win by failing to cover the spread in Philadelphia.
The score in the Eagles' game (Philly won 29-21) makes it look closer than it was. The Eagles outgained Jacksonville by close to 200 yards.
After Jacksonville won its next game (27-20 to the Raiders) the Jaguars failed to cover the spread against an unusually sloppy and turnover-prone Chief team.
Jaguars Struggle to Win
Winning games is just a rare event for Jacksonville, close wins like the one over Baltimore are exceedingly rare.
The Jaguar defense has made struggling Commander quarterback Carson Wentz, aging Colt quarterback Matt Ryan, and suffering Bronco quarterback Russell Wilson look like high-caliber quarterbacks in the waning minutes of the game.
Make no mistakes, this is a Jacksonville team that ordinarily finds ways to lose. The situation is negative for the Jags especially this week because, coming off an exciting upset win, a young team is liable to become overexcited and therefore ill-prepared for its following opponent.
Jacksonville, in other words, must come down to earth.
Lions at Home
When Jacksonville previously came off wins, it got to face either decimated rosters or sloppy teams. However, we may expect Detroit's best version of itself on Sunday because the game takes place in Detroit.
The Lions are repeatedly competitive at home. Even when they were suffering key injuries ahead of their game against upstart Seattle, they battled to remain within 3 points.
Despite playing playoff-caliber Philadelphia, Miami, and Buffalo at home, Detroit has not lost a home game by more than 4 points this season.
At home, the Lions have also upset Green Bay and handled the Commanders.
Amon-Ra St. Brown
When the Lions' wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown fails to get involved in the offense, trouble looms for Detroit.
It is no coincidence that the Lions failed to reach double digits in 2 games and that, in those 2 games, St. Brown combined for a total of 22 receiving yards.
Conversely, Detroit's highest-scoring outputs generally coincide with St. Brown's highest target and receiving yardage totals.
The Lions are likelier to thrive offensively when they maximize St. Brown's involvement in the offense.
Jaguars' Cornerbacks vs. Top Wide Receivers
While there is a lot of promise in young cornerback Tyson Campbell among others, the Jaguar secondary lacks the ability right now to match up with the NFL's higher-caliber wide receivers.
Raiders' Davante Adams and Colts' Michael Pittman both had season-best performances against Jacksonville. What unites those 2 wide receivers with St. Brown is that all 3 wide receivers rank top-10 in receptions. Also, all 3 three excel at tracking and securing the ball in the air.
Sunday's game is one in which St. Brown will, with relative ease, secure an involved role in his team's offense.
Exciting young Lions' running back D'Andre Swift has been recovering from an injury that kept him from playing and limited his productivity when he returned.
Swift hasn't been an effective runner, although this isn't a problem with Jamaal Williams being sufficiently efficient and enjoying a nose for the end zone, he has 13 rushing touchdowns so far.
The Lions don't rely on Swift's running, though. They rely rather on his abilities as a receiver.
His recent involvement in the passing game attests to his current health status, which is all the less concerning in view of the fact that he gets to rest since playing on Thanksgiving. In that Thanksgiving game, Swift accrued his second-highest reception total of the season (4).
Swift is a routinely effective pass-catcher, and this is a role that he will enjoy especially against the Jaguars' defense. Jacksonville allows the 4th-highest number of receptions and the 6th-most receiving yards to running backs.
Jaguars' Offensive Outlook
It is rather Jaguar running back Travis Etienne who is banged up.
Etienne left his team's last game with a sprained foot and did not return. While he is listed as 'questionable,' it seems likely that he will play, although his bounce and explosiveness may be capped. His snap count may be lower than normal.
Last week, Etienne's absence did not matter, because Trevor Lawrence was generally on-point, especially during his heroic end-of-game touchdown drive and two-point conversion.
Lawrence has been solid against the league's lowest-ranking pass defenses, Baltimore ranks 27th in pass defense, and he was also maximally efficient, mistake-free, and productive in his team's win over Las Vegas' 26th-ranked pass defense.
The Lions, hurt all the more by the absence of injured defensive captain Tracy Walker, who quarterbacked their secondary, rank 29th in pass defense.
This will be a back-and-forth game in which both offenses achieve high-scoring outputs, especially as a result of their respective pass attack's positive outlooks.
Situationally, and being at home, and inexplicably being listed as the home underdog against losing team Jacksonville, Detroit has great value as the side.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.