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Free NFL Pick From Linebacker: Patriots vs Jaguars

Patriots Jaguars Free Pick

New England Patriots @ Jacksonville Jaguars (NE -2, O/U 45)

The Patriots will head south to take on the Jaguars in a rematch of last year’s AFC championship game. With a projected score of 23.3-20.7, we expect the Jaguars to win outright 58.7 percent of the time and cover the spread, which currently sits at New England -2.

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Why will the Jaguars cover the spread?

  • Jacksonville was the league’s third-best yardage and scoring defense in 2017 and has the talent to slow down Tom Brady. The Patriots should struggle to move the ball with Brandin Cooks (6 rec, 100 yds vs Jax in AFC championship) and Danny Amendola (7 rec, 84 yds, 2 TDs) both gone from the team. New England is projected to finish with 324.3 total yards, a large step down from the 389 per game they posted last year and the 405-yard mark they posted in Week 1.
  • Leonard Fournette and the Jags backfield should find plenty of success on Sunday. New England allowed the second-most yards per carry last season at 4.7, while the Jaguars averaged the most carries (33.1) and rushing yards per game (141.2) in the NFL last season.
  • Jacksonville’s Jalen Ramsey has one of the best chances of any defensive back to slow down Rob Gronkowski. Ramsey and the Jaguars D held Gronk to just one catch for 21 yards before he left with an injury with 1:28 remaining in the first half of last year’s AFC championship game.

Patriots @ Jaguars: Why to bet the Under 45 total

  • Both teams were top 10 in scoring defense in 2017. New England finished seventh, allowing 19.5 points per game, while Jacksonville finished third with 17.7 points allowed per game.
  • Tom Brady has limited downfield passing weapons with Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola off the team and Julian Edelman suspended. Just nine of Brady’s 26 completions in Week 1 were to wide receivers, while the Jaguars allowed the fewest receptions to receivers in 2017.
  • The total has gone UNDER in four of the last five meetings between Jacksonville and New England.

Need-to-know stats for Patriots @ Jaguars

  • 125.5 rushing yards – Jacksonville should have plenty of success on the ground, as Leonard Fournette, TJ Yeldon and Corey Grant are all expected to receive carries on Sunday.
  • 221 passing yards – Tom Brady finished with fewer than 230 passing yards three times last season, and we project it to happen again. His lack of downfield threats should result in plenty of short throws, which should limit his overall yardage.
  • 3 catches, 33 yards – Chris Hogan posted a dud in Week 1, hauling in just one of five targets for 11 yards. He’s projected to lead New England WRs in catches and yards, although Rob Gronkowski still projects to lead the team in both categories.
  • 0.75 rushing touchdowns – Leonard Fournette scores an average of 0.75 rushing touchdowns per simulation, the highest TD mark of any skill position player for the Jaguars.