The Jacksonville Jaguars have impressed in recent weeks, but their playoff credentials will be put to the test when they travel to Louisiana to take on the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night.
With uncertainty regarding the status of franchise quarterback Trevor Lawrence, there’s even more intrigue as to how this one will play out at Caesars Superdome.
The Jaguars are the underdogs going into this clash at +100 in the Money Line, with the Saints at -120 to pick up what would be just their second home win of the season.
|What||Jacksonville Jaguars @ New Orleans Saints|
|Where||Caesars Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana|
|When||8:15 PM EST, Thursday, October 19|
|How to watch||Amazon Prime|
|Grand Final Odds||Saints -1.0, Jaguars +100 ML|
Things were going great for the Jaguars in their 37-30 win over the Indianapolis Colts last weekend before Lawrence sustained a knee injury in the final minute.
The injury is not as bad as some might have feared at first, but the Jacksonville playmaker will still have to play with a sprained left knee for Thursday’s encounter.
With seven touchdowns and 67% of his passes completed for 1,439 yards, Lawrence has enjoyed a positive run of performances since back-to-back defeats to the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans at the start of the season.
Head coach Doug Pederson, who guided the Philadelphia Eagles to NFL Championship glory in 2018, will be hoping Lawrence can play through the injury, as the Jaguars prepare to face one of the best defenses in the NFL at present.
Speaking ahead of the game regarding the mood in camp, Pederson said: "Their confidence is extremely high right now.
"We’re beginning to eliminate some of those mistakes that happened early in the season. This team is really beginning to mature and come together."
The Jaguars are on a three-game winning streak heading into this game, following recent victories over the Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills and the Colts.
Jacksonville will need to produce one of their performance of the season to win on the road in New Orleans and are -110 with +1.0 on the Spread.
It has been a tough run for the Saints since winning their opening two games of the season against the Tennessee Titans and the Carolina Panthers.
Those were both narrow wins, but confidence was growing in the New Orleans camp, as was hope in the city that the Saints could be challenging in the playoffs once again this season.
However, those hopes have certainly been tempered in recent weeks, following defeats to the Green Bay Packers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Texans.
A 34-0 thrashing of the New England Patriots earlier this month broke up a losing run and, after two road games, the Saints will be happy to be back at Caesars Superdome.
Quarterback Derek Carr helped the Saints gain over 400 yards in their last game, but they still fell to a 20-13 defeat in Houston.
Carr and the rest of the offense will know improvements can be made in the red zone and they will be hoping things click, as they did against the Pats, on Thursday night.
Despite their disappointing form, the Saints are still the slight favorites going into this clash with the Jaguars, at -120 on the Money Line.
Much of that will be down to New Orleans’ impressive defense and the fact that Lawrence has been sacked 16 times already this season.
If the Jaguars' offensive line don’t buck up their ideas, Lawrence could be in for a long night in Louisiana.
Looking at the Touchdown Scorers market Travis Etienne is the joint-favorite to score Anytime at +110.
The Jacksonville running back has already scored five this season and has covered 451 yards from 113 carries.
With Lawrence nursing his sprained knee, expect Etienne to get through plenty of work on the ground and he’s worth considering to add to his touchdown tally on Thursday night.
Despite only scoring one touchdown this season, admittedly in just his three appearances, Alvin Kamara is also +110 to score Anytime in this game.
The Saints' running back has covered 199 yards from 52 carries and he will be hoping he can cause the Jacksonville defense problems this week.
This is a game that could go down to fine margins and the running game is once again set to play a key role in deciding who comes away from this one with the W.