Monday, June 5, 2023

Jaguars, Jets Kick Off Week 16 Still In Playoff Chase

Trevor Lawrence and the Jacksonville Jaguars face Zack Wilson and the New York Jets in Week 16 for the second consecutive season.

Both the teams have come a long way since their last meeting.

This year, the Jaguars (6-8) and Jets (7-7) are in the midst of playoff races in a messy AFC, so there’s a lot at stake on Thursday night.

The resurgent Jaguars are one game behind the Titans in the AFC South. The Jets are one game behind the Dolphins and Chargers for the wild card spot.

Lawrence and Wilson were the 1-2 picks in the 2021 draft. While Lawrence has been outstanding over the past month, Wilson is only starting because Mike White is injured. He retired Lawrence on December 26, 2021, in a 26–21 victory at home.

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Lawrence said, “I’m not playing against Zach, I’m playing against the Jets defense.” “It’s annoying when people always compare it to all that because that’s not what it’s about. This is not the way the game should be played. You just do whatever you have to do to win the game.

The Jets’ defense presents plenty of challenges for Lawrence and the Jags. New York is ranked No. 3 overall, and rookie cornerback Sauce Gardner leads a secondary that allows only 193.9 yards per game.

The Jaguars are 1 1/2-point favorites, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, coming off a spectacular comeback against Dallas.

Home teams have lost five of their last seven matches heading into Thursday’s election. The pro picks lean slightly towards Jacksonville.

Buffalo (minus 8 1/2) at Chicago

The Bears’ only hope is to use the NFL’s top rushing offense to control the clock and keep Josh Allen and Buffalo’s playmakers on the sidelines for at least 40 minutes.

Philadelphia (plus 4 1/2) at Dallas

Minshu Mania! The Eagles (13-1) need one more win to lock down the No. 1 seed and will turn to Gardner Minshew if Jalen Hurts misses a sprained shoulder. Minshew may prove Cowboys star Micah Parsons right when he credited the system for much of the Hurts’ success.

Upset Special: Eagles, 26-23

New York Giants (plus 3 1/2) at Minnesota.

The Vikings (11-3) are somehow winning with the league’s lowest-ranked defense, mounting one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history. The Giants (8-5-1) need big games from Saquon Barkley and Kevon Thibodaux to win on the road.

New Orleans (plus 2 1/2) at Cleveland.

The Browns (6-8) are 2-1 with Deshaun Watson and still have a shot at a winning season. The Saints (5-9) still have a chance to win the dangerous NFC South.

Detroit (minus 2 1/2) at Carolina.

Jared Goff and the Lions (7-7) are hitting a streak after a 1-6 start. The Panthers (5-9) can still catch the Buccaneers, but must find a way to stop Detroit’s high-flying offense.

Cincinnati (minus 3 1/2) in New England.

Joe Burrows and the Bengals (10-4) are rolling with six straight wins after Tom Brady and the Buccaneers beat them. The Patriots (7–7) dropped a game to the Raiders, leaving their playoff hopes in tatters.

Houston (plus 4 1/2) in Tennessee

Lovie Smith has the Texans (1-12-1). The Titans (7-7) are in danger of losing the division after four straight losses.

Seattle (plus 10) in Kansas City.

The Seahawks (7-7) have lost four of five and are fading in the wild-card race. The Chiefs (11-3) needed overtime to beat lowly Houston and are fighting for the AFC’s No. 1 seed. Patrick Mahomes and the NFL’s No. 1 offense are a mismatch against the league’s 29th-ranked defense.

Atlanta (plus 7 1/2) at Baltimore.

The Ravens (9-5) desperately need the return of Lamar Jackson. The Falcons (5-9) need to finish the season.

Washington (plus 7 1/2) at San Francisco.

Brock Purdy can never lose with the 49ers (10-4) stacked around him and playing strong defense. Taylor Heinicke could be benched this week for the Commanders (7-6-1), according to coach Ron Rivera.

Las Vegas at Pittsburgh (plus 2 1/2).

The Steelers (6-8) will celebrate the 50th anniversary of “The Immaculate Reception” without Franco Harris after the Hall of Fame inductee passed away this week, just days before the team was to retire No. 32. The Raiders (6-8) are targeting their fifth win in six games.

Tampa Bay (minus 6 1/2) in Arizona

The Buccaneers (6-8) have lost PJ Walker, Jacoby Brissett, Brock Purdy and Kenny Pickett/Mitch Trubisky. Whether or not it’s Colt McCoy or Trace McSorley starting for the Cardinals (4-10), the Bucs haven’t been good enough to beat anyone by a touchdown.

Green Bay in Miami (plus 4 1/2).

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers (6-8) need to win and get plenty of help to make the playoffs. Tua Tagovailoa needs to get the Dolphins (8-6) back on track after three straight losses.

Denver (minus 2 1/2) at Los Angeles Rams

A pair of 4-10 teams can be predicted to have terrible seasons.

Los Angeles Chargers (minus 3 1/2) at Indianapolis.

The Chargers (8-6) are making a playoff push. The 33-0 run last week for the Colts (4-9-1) was already a nightmare.

Last week: Straight up: 12-4 against spread: 7-8-1.

Season: Straight up: 137–86. Against spread: 113-105-5.

Thursday: Straight Up: 11-6. Against spread: 7-10.

Monday: Straight Up: 9-7. Against the spread: 7-9.

Best Bet: Straight Up: 8-7. Against the spread: 8-7.

Upset Special: Straight Up: 5-10. Against the spread: 7-7-1.

Follow Rob Maadi on Twitter at

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