Urban Meyer and Trevor Lawrence are finding out that the NFL is much different than the college game. Both enjoyed all kinds of success on campus rarely losing games. Welcome to Jacksonville, one of the most downtrodden cities in the NFL.
Being a successful coach has presented Meyer with numerous opportunities, and turning the Jacksonville Jaguars franchise around might be the biggest challenge of his career. The Jags go for their first win of the season when they take on Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 4 Thursday Night Football action.
The Week 4 Thursday Night Football game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Cincinnati Bengals will take place at Paul Brown Stadium at 8:20 p.m. ET on September 30 and will be televised on NFL Network.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs Cincinnati Bengals Odds
Jaguars +7.5 | Bengals -7.5 [BET NOW]
Jacksonville Jaguars vs Cincinnati Bengals Money Line
Jaguars +263 | Bengals -325 [BET NOW]
Jacksonville Jaguars vs Cincinnati Bengals Over/Under
Over/Under 45.5 [BET NOW]
It’s not the most intriguing matchup on the NFL betting slate but it should be fun to watch with two former No. 1 overall draft picks going at it. The Bengals improved to 2-1 as their rebuild looks to be further along. And that’s why the home team is laying 7.5-points on the opening line. Cincy won outright, 24-10, last week in Pittsburgh as a 2.5-point dog.
This will be the first time this season the Bengals play as a favorite though they are 2-1 ATS overall this season. Not only have the Jags gone 0-3 SU they also haven’t been kind to their backers with a 0-3 ATS ledger. There’s been some movement on the total with that number going straight down. After hitting the board at 47 the total tumbled to 45.5.
With Meyer and Lawrence running the show the future of Jags football looks promising. Unfortunately the present has been a mess. Meyer did what he could during the preseason to protect Lawrence going so far as to say there was a competition for the starting gig. I think we all knew that was a fib and Lawrence was going to get the nod. Well, he did and we saw a lot of the same last week.
You can’t tell a guy as talented as Lawrence to change the way he plays. You’re going to get what you get and you also have to take the bumps that come with the territory. Lawrence threw for 219 yards with a touchdown against the Cards, but he was also picked off twice. Lawrence has at least two interceptions in each of his three starts with a total of seven; if you want to know why the losing streak continued look no further than that.
Defensively the team could use some help. The group’s shortcomings have been masked by having the No. 1 overall pick starting and Lawrence has fallen on a sword for his defense. Otherwise the unit would be getting skewered for its ineffective play. The Jags had a 19-10 lead late in the third quarter before allowing the final three touchdowns. Lawrence turned the ball over three times and the Jags punted once over their final four possessions.
Joe Burrow and the Bengals are turning into a feel good story following their 24-10 upset of the Steelers in Pittsburgh gave them a 2-1 record. One thing Matt LaFleur talked about when he became coach was changing the culture. It’s easy to talk about but it sinks in when the benefits are there. Handily beating Pittsburgh on the road is certainly a step in the right direction.
It was also a nice bounce back from the Week 2 loss at Chicago that saw Burrow throw a trio of picks. Burrow was an efficient 14 of 18 for 172 yards with three TDs while the defense harassed Ben Roethlisberger with four sacks and two interceptions. We have yet to see the full potential of the offense and work remains to be done to become average, but winning in Pittsburgh for the first time since 2015 is a sign that this club is turning things around.
Here’s where the problem lies for the Bengals. Playing as an underdog is easy, it’s when you’re expected to win that poses a threat. Cincy beat Minnesota in overtime in Week 1 catching 3-points. They were a 2-point pup surprisingly on Sunday and they will opened as a 7.5-point favorite against a Jags team the Bengals beat 33-25 behind big games from Burrow and Joe Mixon. Cincy covered the 7-point line while cashing the OVER.
Jaguars vs Bengals Prediction
Jacksonville Jaguars +7.5 and OVER 45.5
At least Lawrence hasn’t lost confidence in himself and his team, and this is a contest the Jags have a realistic chance of winning despite the opening line. There are too many holes on the Bengals to call them a playoff contender and Lawrence will get in a groove at some point. Give him some protection and he can have a big night against the Bengals secondary.
Check out the Week 4 NFL odds.