The Cincinnati Bengals and Jacksonville Jaguars clash in this week’s Monday Night Football matchup, a game that looked like an important one in the AFC playoff race earlier this year. However, the Bengals have since dropped out of the race with a season-ending injury to star quarterback Joe Burrow, but they still hope to play spoiler against the Jaguars, who have emerged as one of the AFC’s strongest teams this year.
The Bengals enter Monday night at 5-6 in what has been a frustrating year for their fans. They started the season in a 1-3 hole with Joe Burrow not at 100% health, but soon started to dig themselves out with Burrow playing like his usual self. Disaster struck for the team on November 16, with Burrow hurting his wrist in what turned out to be a season-ending injury versus the Ravens. In their first game without Burrow last week, the Bengals managed to put only 10 points on the board in a six-point loss to the Steelers, unsurprisingly showing that their offense is far worse without their starting quarterback. For the Bengals, a season that started with them as Super Bowl hopefuls has devolved into them likely missing the playoffs.
The Jaguars, 8-3, enter the game as the AFC’s current third seed, well within reach of the top playoff spot. Head coach Doug Pederson has transformed Jacksonville into a solid all-around contender, while high-pedigree quarterback Trevor Lawrence has provided the franchise with the consistent quarterback play they have missed for years, even if he hasn’t had the elite season many predicted. Still, they have work to do if they want to make a Super Bowl this season, having lost their two biggest matchups this year against the Chiefs and 49ers, respectively; the latter by a score of 34-3. No one is debating that the Jags aren’t a good team this year, but it remains to be seen if they can ascend to the upper echelon of the conference.
How to watch Bengals vs. Jaguars
Date: Monday, December 4
Where: EverBank Stadium, Jacksonville, FL
Kickoff: 8:15 p.m. ET
TV channel: ESPN/ABC
Odds and predictions for Bengals vs. Jaguars
Point spread: Jaguars -10
Moneyline: Jaguars -485, Bengals +370
Pick against the spread
The Jaguars are big favorites here, and for good reason. The Burrow-less Bengals may not exactly be bottom-of-the-league bad, but they’re definitely not much of a threat to legitimate playoff contenders like Jacksonville. Still, 10 points is a big spread by NFL standards, and I still think there’s a decent amount of parity between the two teams. Jake Browning is no Burrow, but he’s looked very solid for a backup quarterback and capable of keeping his team within a score or two of their opponent, especially with Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins as his top two receivers. The Jaguars could certainly win by 10, but any given Sunday... er, Monday, right? I still expect Jacksonville to emerge with the victory in this one, but they probably won’t cover.
The pick: Bengals +10
The Jaguars’ offense has been all over the place this season, scoring in the single digits, 10s, 20s, and even multiple 30-plus-point games. The Jake Browning-led Bengals have a much smaller sample size, having put up 20 points total in one and a half games, more or less, this season. Both teams’ defenses have looked sporadic as well, making the point total hard to predict. Still, the under seems like the best option here. Assuming the Bengals put up 10-17 points, that leaves the Jaguars to score somewhere in the 20-25 range, around a reasonable score prediction. The Bengals won’t be putting up a lot of points in this one, but their defense should be able to keep it fairly close, leading the Jaguars to a fairly convincing, but not high-scoring, victory.
The pick: Under 40
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.