Two former backup quarterbacks will take center stage when the Jacksonville Jaguars head to Bank of America Stadium to face the Carolina Panthers. Both teams are 2-2 and looking to extend their two-game winning streaks.
This is a game that has Carolina favored at home, and its outcome will likely hinge on a few key components. Here’s a breakdown:
Minshew Mania vs. Kyle Allen
Jags rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew is 2-1 as a starter, while Kyle Allen has won both games he has started for the Panthers. While it’s certainly premature to call the Jags quarterback the next Tom Brady, Minshew Mania is very real. The truly unique mustachioed quarterback is becoming a bit of a pop culture phenomenon, but his play has also been pretty special.
Going into week 5, Minshew has been the NFL’s most efficient quarterback in the red zone, going 8-11 with five touchdowns and no interceptions. He’s thrown seven touchdowns to just one interception with a 106.9 rating through four games.
Allen’s play hasn’t been as consistent as Minshew’s–he had three fumbles lost in one game–but he has a better defense backing him up right now, and if he can limit turnovers and mistakes, he’ll likely be the winning quarterback.
Allen’s numbers are about as gaudy in fewer appearances (43-60 for 493 yards, 4 touchdowns, no picks, and a 118.3 rating). Much of this game will come down to which of these young quarterbacks best responds and adapts to the defense they’re facing.
Run Game Will Also be Be Huge for Both Teams
The Panthers’ Christian McCaffrey currently leads the NFC in rushing and is eating yardage faster than Pac Man gobbles dots. Look for the Jags defense to hone in on McCaffrey, forcing Allen to pass more.
The Jags have a formidable back of their own in Leonard Fournette, who is coming off a career game in Denver in which he rushed for 225 yards. He’ll be facing one of the NFL’s toughest units in the Panthers.
This one will come down to both defenses. Carolina has the better one so far this season, tied for the league lead with 18 sacks. The Panthers also currently boast the league’s stingiest secondary that has given up a league-low average of 156.8 yards passing per game.
With star Jalen Ramsey missing multiple games so far this year, the Jags defense has been middle of the road, giving up an average of 99.5 yards rushing and 266.8 yards passing each game. They’ll have to step up their efforts and rattle Allen, who has shown ball security to be an issue.
Panthers vs. Jaguars: Trends, Pick and Prediction
Odds Shark currently has the Panthers winning by a projected score of 27.7-11.7. Jacksonville has been given +3.5 points and Carolina is predicted to cover the spread. The projected point total between both teams is 40 points, so the odds are favoring an UNDER result.
Some interesting trends noted by Odds Shark surrounding this game:
• Jacksonville is 4-2 ATS in their last 6 games.
• The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Jacksonville’s last 7 games.
• Jacksonville is 3-13 SU in their last 16 games against an opponent in the NFC conference.
• The Panthers are 4-8 ATS in their last 12 games.
• The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Carolina’s last 9 games.
• Carolina is 3-9 SU in their last 12 games.
• Carolina is 8-2 SU in their last 10 games against an opponent in the AFC conference
Final verdict: Most experts are picking Carolina to win due to their dominant defense. Defense should dominate this game, and Minshew Mania has to end sometime–and it will likely take a huge hit Sunday. Look for the Panthers to win at home, but take the Jags with the spread.
Pick: Panthers 20, Jaguars 17
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