The Jacksonville Jaguars have lost four straight, but they have a chance to clinch the AFC South as early as this weekend. Let’s take a look at Carolina Panthers vs. Jaguars odds and predictions, with Panthers +7 as our best bet.
Carolina Panthers vs. Jackonville Jaguars Prediction
It’s tough to trust the Jaguars right now. This is yet another week of waiting on Trevor Lawrence’s status, and his absence in practice is clearly hurting an offense that is missing two major weapons in Christian Kirk and Zay Jones. As Travis Etienne struggles to get anything going on the ground with a shaky offensive line blocking for him, there just isn’t much to like about this Jacksonville offense.
There isn’t too much to like about the Panthers’ offense, either. The unit had some great moments in Week 16, but the Packers’ defense has a way of bringing the best out of struggling offenses. It’s wrong to overreact to that performance, but it’s also true that the Jaguars’ pass defense has struggled mightily in three of its last four games. With confidence high, Young should be able to scratch a few points across the board and keep the Panthers in this game.
Between a depleted group of weapons and a banged-up Lawrence, it’s hard to see the Jaguars pulling away in what could be a sloppy game. The Panthers covering in a Jacksonville win seems like the most likely outcome at this point, with Lawrence’s status still to be determined.
Carolina Panthers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars prediction: Panthers +6.5
Carolina Panthers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Best Odds
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The Jaguars enter as 6.5-point home favorites, sitting at -285 on the moneyline. The over/under is 38 points.
This line once again hinges on the health of Trevor Lawrence, though last week made it clear Lawrence alone doesn’t guarantee success for Jacksonville. After three notable injuries, can the Panthers take advantage like the Buccaneers did?
Carolina Panthers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Key Injuries
Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence (shoulder) remains uncertain after exiting vs. Tampa. WR Zay Jones (knee, hamstring) is uncertain after missing Week 16, while OT Anton Harrison (back) is “fine” after exiting last weekend.
For the Panthers, RB Miles Sanders is dealing with a toe injury but has fallen behind Chuba Hubbard on the depth chart when healthy. CB Troy Hill exited with a concussion in Week 16 and will need to be cleared before Sunday’s game.
Carolina Panthers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Key Matchups
Here are some of the key matchups that could decide Panthers vs. Jaguars
Carolina Panthers Receivers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Secondary
The fear last week for the Jaguars was how a struggling secondary would hold up against a Buccaneers passing game that seemed to be hitting its stride. The answer? Not well. The Panthers’ passing game is coming off easily its best performance of the season. Is that sustainable in Jacksonville, or was it just the product of facing a reeling Packers defense?
Adam Thielen and D.J. Chark looked like legitimate playmakers late in Carolina’s loss to Green Bay, but that hasn’t been the case for much of the season. Pressure will be on Tyson Campbell, who might be playing at less than 100%, to make sure an inexperienced Young doesn’t have wide open receivers to work with after his weapons enjoyed a breakthrough game.
Jacksonville Jaguars Pass-Rush vs. Carolina Panthers Offensive Line
Young made a name for himself in college by making smart decisions, which included throwing the ball away and avoiding sacks or turnovers when pressured. Even so, Young has taken 53 sacks this season with his offensive line and receivers struggling. The line allowed just two sacks against the Packers last week, and keeping Young upright was clearly a major factor in the rookie having the best game of his career.
The Jaguars would like to change that. Josh Allen is having the best season of his career with 13.5 sacks and 27 QB hits. He doesn’t have a sack in his last three games, but the Panthers’ porous line gives him a chance to get back on the board. Back-to-back games with a sack for Travon Walker gives the Jaguars’ defense some hope that it can get home and force Young into bad decisions.