On Sunday, the Atlanta Falcons and Jacksonville Jaguars face off in London. In this article, find a full preview of the game and the latest betting odds. Also find Falcons Vs. Jaguars predictions where our best bet is Jaguars -3.
Atlanta Falcons Vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Prediction & Best Bet
The Jaguars are coming off a very disappointing home loss to the Texans where they were priced as high as 10-point home favorites. There’s something off with their offense right now as they rank just 29th in adjusted EPA per play, but I expect positive regression from that unit moving forward.
The underlying metrics suggest that Trevor Lawrence has been very good – he’s second in PFF passing grade (85.9) and third in big-time throw rate (7.6%). The offensive line isn’t great, but he’s gotten rid of the ball in 2.44 seconds on average, the sixth-fastest rate in the NFL. As a result, he’s been pressured on just 30.5% of drop backs, the ninth-lowest rate among 34 qualified passers.
So what gives? If Lawrence has been good and the offensive line hasn’t been too detrimental, why is the offense struggling? The Jaguars’ receivers have an 11% drop rate, the second-highest in the NFL. Jacksonville has also struggled on third downs – they’re 29th in third down conversion rate (29.73%) despite having the league’s shortest third down distance to go (5.7 yards).
All of this is to say that the Jaguars’ offensive issues are fixable and I expect them to improve starting this week. Atlanta’s defense has certainly improved after some crucial offseason additions, they rank just 12th in defensive EPA despite facing Bryce Young, Jordan Love, and Jared Goff. Lawrence should have success.
Meanwhile, the Falcons’ offense has been one dimensional due to Desmond Ridder’s struggles. He has the highest turnover-worthy play rate in the NFL at 6.1% and the second-worst PFF passing grade at 40.9. He’s also taken far too many sacks with the fourth-highest pressure to sack rate at 28.6%.
Jacksonville’s defense ranks sixth in overall success rate, and while they aren’t pressuring opposing passers at an elite level, their secondary has been very good thanks to the play of Tyson Campbell, Darious Williams, and Andre Cisco. It could be a long day for Ridder against this secondary.
The Falcons rank 7th with a rush play rate of 47.6%, and their top priority will remain establishing the run given Desmond Ridder’s struggles. Their ability to generate yardage on early downs via the run and avoid third and long situations will be crucial for their offensive production in London.
This strikes me as a strong spot to bet on a bounceback for Lawrence and the Jaguars’ offense as a whole, and we’re getting a good number on a team with a far better quarterback. Bet on the Jaguars to rebound from the Texans’ loss in London.
Atlanta Falcons Vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Prediction & Best Bet: Jaguars -3
Atlanta Falcons Vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Betting Odds
ATL @ JAX
Oct. 01, 1:30 PM
100% of staff picked JAX to cover the spread
Odds updated October 1st, 2023, at 4:04 pm
The Jaguars are currently listed as 3-point home favorites for this matchup against the Falcons with a Moneyline that can be found around -160 odds. The over/under is set at 43.5 points, and the forecast appears to be clear in London for Sunday, so the over could be an enticing play.
Atlanta Falcons Vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Key Injuries
The Falcons have mostly avoided the injury bug to start this season, although it’s worth noting that do-it-all offensive talent Cordarrelle Patterson has yet to play this season as he works through a thigh injury. Jacksonville’s Devin Lloyd has been ruled out for this week while offensive tackle Anton Harrison is currently listed as questionable.
Atlanta Falcons Vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Key Matchups
Styles make fights, and the Falcons and Jaguars certainly have contrasting styles. The Falcons are one of the most run-heavy teams in the NFL while everything revolves around Trevor Lawrence for the Jaguars. Let’s take a look at some key matchups for this game.
Bijan Robinson and Tyler Allgeier Vs. Jacksonville’s Run Defense
In 2022, the Falcons ranked top five in rushing EPA and success rate. Tyler Allgeier ran for over 1,000 yards in his rookie season and ranked top six in PFF rushing grades and yards after contact per attempt. Then, Atlanta added one of the best running back prospects in recent history in Bijan Robinson.
It’s been surprising to see that the rushing offense hasn’t been elite this year. Atlanta ranks just 19th in rushing success rate and the offensive line hasn’t helped a ton, ranking just 21st in run block win rate. It’s a small sample size to be sure, so it’s too early to panic, but do opposing coordinators simply have more film on the Arthur Smith offense now?
It will be fascinating to see if this rushing offense can get over the hump against a very good Jacksonville run defense. The Jaguars rank top three in rushing EPA and success rate allowed while their defensive line ranks 8th in run stop win rate per ESPN. They have yet to play a running back close to the talent of Robinson or Allgeier this season, however.
Calvin Ridley Vs. A.J. Terrell
Wide receiver Calvin Ridley faces his former team this week in the Falcons, and after a year away from the NFL due to a suspension, he’s still trying to regain his footing. The rust has been evident – last week he had two drops and two false starts against the Texans. Head coach Doug Pederson has urged him to “take a deep breath” and be himself.
The highs have been there for Ridley, too – in Week 1 he reminded everyone how great of a wideout he is as he caught 8 passes for 101 yards and a touchdown. Ridley’s continued growth into this offense and resurgence as a top receiver will help Trevor Lawrence work through the team’s early season struggles.
The Falcons will be well prepared for the matchup against Ridley, and former All Pro cornerback A.J. Terrell will likely draw the assignment of covering him. Terrell has allowed just eight of 15 targets to be completed for 60 yards through three games this season, and this matchup between elite receiver and corner should be fun to watch.
Calvin Ridley had some BRUTAL drops for the #Jaguars in Week 3 but he also had multiple routes where he sold the vertical and stopped on a dime creating this kind of separation and making the DB look like this. pic.twitter.com/6L6O19D6sy
— Dan Schneier (@DanSchneierNFL) September 25, 2023