Carolina Panthers (1-1; 1-1 ATS: 2-0 O/U) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1; 1-1 ATS; 1-1 O/U)
NFL Preseason: Thursday, August 24, 2017 at 7:30pm EST
The Jacksonville Jaguars will collide with the Carolina Panthers in week three preseason action Thursday evening from EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville. The Panthers were toppled 34-27 by the Titans last week, and the Jaguars were defeated 12-8 by the Buccaneers last Thursday.
Panthers Fall to Titans with Newton Out of Lineup
The Carolina Panthers conceded 17 points in the first quarter in their 34-27 road loss to the Titans last week. The Panthers were once again without Cam Newton who is still recovering from his shoulder injury and is questionable for this contest. Backup quarterback Derek Anderson led the way in the air, completing 7 of 12 passes for 88 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. The 34-year QB has now gone a combined 11 for 17 for 164 yards with one touchdown and one pick in preseason. Carolina found success on the ground in the loss, rushing for a total of 167 yards. Cameron Artis-Payne was outstanding, accumulating 70 yards off five carries. Rookie running back Christian McCaffrey showed his potential again last week, equating his three carries into 33 yards to go with a touchdown. Tight end Greg Olson did not make a catch in his limited action. The 32-year old tight end had another terrific season in 2016, racking up 1073 receiving yards to go with three touchdowns. Luke Keuchly sat out last week as he is dealing with sore ribs and is questionable for this one. The 26-year old linebacker made 102 tackles in ten games last season, and it is vital that he stays healthy this season.
The Panthers averaged 23.1 points per game last season, ranking them 15 in the NFL. The Carolina defense was not sharp last season, allowing an average of 25.1 points per game, placing them 26th overall.
Bortles Struggles in Jaguars Loss
The Jacksonville Jaguars could not generate any offense in their 12-8 loss to the Buccaneers last week. After the game Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone voiced his displeasure with Blake Bortles and it appears the Jags now have a battle brewing for the starting quarterback role in the last two weeks of the preseason. Bortles connected on 8 of 13 passes for 65 yards with no TD’s or picks last week, however he made some questionable throws. Chad Henne took over with the first team offense in place of Bortles and completed 6 of his 10 passes for 44 yards. Bortles has put up some solid numbers with the Jaguars, throwing for over 4440 yards in 2015, and last year he totaled 3900 passing yards with 23 TD’s, however he did throw 16 interceptions. Chad Henne has not been able to have success in the NFL, posting a weak 58:63 TD to INT ratio in eight seasons. Dede Westbrook had a big game last week, bringing in six catches for 131 yards on seven targets. The rookie wide receiver had a big year with Oklahoma last season and could make some noise this season. Marqise Lee sat out last week and he will not play the remainder of the preseason.
Last season, the Jaguars only scored an average of 19.9 points per game, placing them 25th in the NFL. The Jacksonville defense conceded an average of 25 points, positioning them 25th overall.
The Carolina Panthers are:
- 2-6 ATS in their last 8 Thursday games.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are:
- No Key Trends
I am taking the Jaguars in this matchup. The pressure is on Blake Bortles to come through with a strong performance after drawing some criticism last week, and I expect him to treat this one like a regular season game. Chad Henne will also want to made a strong impression as he could leap past Bortles and into the starting role. Jacksonville was able to score 31 points against the Patriots in week one and last week their defense was strong, so I am confident taking them at home, plus Newton is questionable again for this one.
Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars
The Panthers have been involved in two high scoring contests in their first two preseason games, and I expect Bortles and the Jaguars offense to rebound with a strong performance this week. The Panthers feature a strong backup in Derek Anderson and the Panthers running game should have success against the Jaguars defense, plus the over is 17-8 in the Panthers last 25 road games. The Panthers defense just conceded 34 points last week, so I expect the Jaguars to put some points on the board, and the over is 5-1 in their last six home games.