MIAMI — The thirteenth day gives us another Monday Night Football edition with postseason implications; To be honest, almost all the games have a certain playoff tinge at this point in the campaign.
The Jacksonville Jaguars seem to have found their best version, and are coming off an important divisional victory against the Houston Texans. Can they maintain the intensity? After all, the AFC’s top seed is still a possibility.
For their part, the Cincinnati Bengals have no margin for error if they want to make the playoffs as one of the wild cards. The problem is that the offense didn’t look very good with Jake Browning behind center.
Without further ado, let’s go with our three favorite bets for this match:
1) TREVOR LAWRENCE OVER 16.5 YARDS RUSHING
Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence carries the ball against the Titans on Nov. 19, 2023, in Jacksonville. The Jags won 34-14; Lawrence added two touchdowns through the air and 5 carries, 17 yards and 2 scores on the ground. AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack
One of the main reasons the Jaguars’ offense has looked so much better in recent weeks is that their quarterback Trevor Lawrence is finally at 100 percent.
Since he was in high school, Lawrence has been considered a generational prospect. He certainly has a great arm, but his legs, his athleticism and his mobility are among his greatest qualities, and why he is so difficult to defend.
Lawrence’s number is lower this week because in the last two weeks he had seven carries for 17 yards, including zero last week. However, the main deficiencies of the Bengals defense are in defending the running attack, and they have had problems against mobile quarterbacks. I think Lawrence is going to use his legs more, and a couple of carries could be enough to get him to the over.
2) TRAVIS ETIENNE OVER 16.5 CARRIES
Travis Etienne Jr. of the Jacksonville Jaguars carries the ball during a game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on November 26, 2023 in Houston, Texas. He had 20 carries for 56 yards in the Jaguars’ 24-21 victory. Cooper Neill/Getty Images
This is a bet that I love. As I told you, the Bengals have been deficient against the running game. So much so, that only one team has allowed more yards on the ground than Cincinnati, and only four have allowed more total yards in that way.
In other words, Travis Etienne Jr. will be an integral part of the game plan this week for the Jaguars. Etienne’s rushing yardage numbers have been inconsistent. However, he has had at least 18 carries in seven of 11 games.
And if the Jaguars are ahead on the scoreboard, as I think they will be, then Jacksonville will focus on running the ball and controlling the possession clock.
3) JAKE BROWNING OVER 207.5 YARDS THROUGH THE AIR
Jake Browning of the Bengals throws a pass against the Steelers at Paycor Stadium on November 26, 2023 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals lost 16-10; Browning completed 19 of 26 passes for 227 yards with 1 touchdown, 1 interception and 4 sacks. Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Title aspirations went out the window for Cincinnati after the injury of Joe Burrow.
Jake Browning has shown inconsistencies worthy of a young quarterback, and he does not have the necessary mettle in the pocket. However, he has a good arm, and is not afraid to try to be vertical. There is no doubt that he should try to limit errors, but even he overcame the yards in the air against the tough defense of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Jaguars defense is very opportunistic, but also porous. In fact, only five teams have allowed more passing yards than Jacksonville. In other words, regardless of whether the result happens or not, Browning should rack up the stats on him, and even more so if the Bengals are in chase mode.
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