Jacksonville Vs New England Odds & PickJosh Bailey
After pulling off the huge upset in their AFC divisional showdown on Sunday, Blake Bortles and the upstart Jacksonville Jaguars will look to duplicate their feat when they hit the road to take on Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game this coming weekend.
The Las Vegas NFL oddsmakers have listed the AFC Championship odds at -9 in favor of New England over Jacksonville. Can Bortles and the Jags pull off an even bigger upset in the AFC title tilt or whether they’re a good pick to simply cover the chalk as a nearly double-digit road dog, then let’s get to my expert pick.
Jacksonville Vs New England AFC Championship Odds & Pick
Jacksonville Jaguars (12-6) at New England Patriots (14-3)
When: Sunday, January 21, 2018 at 3:05 PM ET
Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA
Stream: CBS Sports
NFL Odds: New England -9
Why Jacksonville Is The Expert Pick
The oft-maligned Bortles and the Jaguars beat Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers 45-42 in their AFC divisional matchup on Sunday while cashing in as a 7-point road underdog in the process. Jacksonville got 109 rushing yards and three touchdowns from powerful rookie running back Leonard Fournette while Bortles added 214 passing yards and a huge fourth-quarter TD pass to lead the Jags to victory. Defensively, Jacksonville picked off Roethlisberger once and recovered one fumble while limiting running back Le’Veon Bell to just 67 rushing yards to get the win. The Jaguars finished the regular season ranked fifth in scoring (26.1 ppg) and a stellar second in points allowed (16.8 ppg).
Why New England Is The Expert Pick
New England man-handled Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans in their 35-14 AFC divisional round win on Saturday to easily cover the spread as a 13.5-point home favorite as future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady passed for 337 yards and three touchdowns. Defensively, the Patriots harassed Mariota throughout the affair and sacked the third-year signal-caller a whopping eight times to set a franchise playoff record. The Patriots finished the regular season ranked second in scoring (28.6 ppg) and fifth in points allowed (18.5 ppg).
Jacksonville Vs New England AFC Championship Pick
For the 2018 AFC Championship, I’m going to urge you to back the upstart Jags to put up a really good effort to cover the spread as a nearly double-digit road dog. First and foremost, I think the spread is a bit too high right now and expected the Pats to open as something closer to a touchdown favorite than a near, double-digit pick.
More importantly, I think the Jaguars play a style of football perfectly suited to cover the chalk in this one. Jacksonville should be able to chew up plenty of clock by leaning on Fournette and their league-leading rushing attack and right now, I’m also inclined to believe they’ll get just enough competent passing from Bortles to make an ATS cover stand up. While the Patriots ranked fifth in points allowed, they also gave up a ton of yardage this season while finishing 30th against the pass (251.2 ypg) and 20th against the run (114.8 ypg).
Jacksonville is 4-0 ATS in their last four games after rushing for more than 150 yards in their previous game, 12-5 ATS in their last 17 games against their AFC rivals and 5-4 ATS on the road this season. Two other things stand out for me about this contest. First, New England is just 2-6 ATS in their last 8 Conference Championships games and Jaguars vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin knows just how to beat the Patriots, having done so twice in Super Bowl matchups as the head coach of the New York Giants. New England manages to get the outright home win to advance to Super Bowl 52, but I like the Jags to cover the chalk!