Jacksonville Jaguars @ San Francisco 49ers (-3.5, 48.5)
September 30, 2021
8:20pm EST on NFLN
The Cincinnati Bengals host the Jacksonville Jaguars to start week four of the 2021 NFL season. The Jaguars are stumbling to an 0-3 start after falling to the Cardinals at home, 31-19. The Bengals are off to a surprising 2-1 start after taking down the Steelers in Pittsburgh, 24-10. Cincinnati is a 7 ½ - point favorite with an over/under of 46.
The Bengals know exactly what the Jaguars are going through, after all the Bengals opened the 2019 season with an 0-11 record, before finishing at 2-14. This led to the drafting of quarterback Joe Burrow. Last season the Jaguars went 1-15 and drafter their quarterback of the future, Trevor Lawrence.
The Bengals are clearly trending in the right direction, while the Jaguars are trying to put together a cohesive unit under head coach Urban Meyer.
One match up to watch is the battle of the quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence and Joe Burrow. In general, the Jaguars have had a nice passing game with Lawrence averaging 223 yards per game. However, he’s completed only 55 percent of his passes and has been intercepted seven times. In all fairness, the offensive line play hasn’t been stellar and coming from behind has forced Lawrence into trying to do too much.
Joe Burrow looks like a franchise quarterback three games into his second NFL season. He’s completed over 70 percent of his passes for 640 yards and seven touchdowns, versus four interceptions. All that while still running for his life behind a suspect offensive line that has allowed 10 sacks.
Comparing the skill position players, the Jaguars top receivers Marvin Jones Jr, DJ Chark, and Laviska Shenault Jr have combined for 37 catches for 443 yards and two touchdowns. On the ground, the Jaguars are averaging 103 yards per game on 5.1 per carry. For the Bengals, Ja’Marr Chase, Tyler Boyd, and Tee Higgins have a combined 35 catches for 479 yards and five touchdowns. The Bengals have one thing the Jaguars don’t and that is a workhorse back. Joe Mixon has 286 yards on 67 carries.
The biggest difference in the two teams is the play on the defensive side of the ball. The Bengals have been stingy, allowing only 18 points per game. The Jaguars have been shredded for over 31 points per contest in the early going this season.
The reason for the drastic improvement defensively for the Bengals is the acquisitions of the past couple of seasons that include CB Mike Hilton, S Vonn Bell, and defensive linemen D.J. Reader and Trey Hendrickson.
The Jaguars are in a painful learning phase, while the Bengals have a shot at a playoff run if the defense continues to shine and Joe Burrow can stay healthy.
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