Both the Jaguars and Panthers have won two in a row and Carolina is the home favorites at -3.5 with a total of 41.
The public has not swayed the line at all, as the game opened with the Panthers a 3.5-point favorite with a total of 41 and that has not changed.
The Jags are at 2-2 and Jacksonville is going through “Minshaw Mania” with their backup QB Gardener Minshaw guiding the team to two straight wins.
The Panthers have also won their last two games with their backup QB in Kyle Allen and Cam Newton has been ruled out for this game.
These teams have not faced each other since the 2015 season.
Fournette’s Career Day Propels Jags to Win
In their last game the Jaguars beat the Denver Broncos 28-24 where Leonard Fournette rushed for a career high 225 yards. Jacksonville outgained Denver 455 yards to 371 yards and they forced the game’s only turnover.
Minshaw let Fournette do most of the work, but the backup rookie QB was efficient going 19/33 for 213 yards with two TD and no picks and on the season, he has passed for 905 yards with seven TD and has only been picked off once. He is listed as questionable with a knee injury but should go in this game.
Fournette rushed for 225 yards and while he did not have a TD, he had an 81-yard scamper and averaged a pretty good, sarcasm, 7.8 yards per carry. His high for the season up to that point was 66 yards and he will get a heavy workload in this game.
The Panthers have the top-ranked passing defense in the NFL, but their run defense only ranks 24th, which has to be a concern with Fournette going off in the last game.
Defense Helps Out
The Panthers are coming off a 16-10 win over the Houston Texans where they shut down the pass and only allowed 264 total yards. The defense was needed in the game, as Allen had three fumbles.
Allen did have problems holding onto the rock, but he did pass for 232 yards with no TD and no INT.
Christian McCaffery leads the NFL in rushing yards and in the win over Houston he rushed for 93 yards, while only averaging 3.4 yards per carry, and also led Carolina with 86 receiving yards.
It is not secret that the key to stopping the Panthers is containing McCaffery and the Jags’ defense only ranks 22nd in the league in pass defense but a respectable 13th in run defense, which will be key in this non-conference showdown.
While the Panthers have failed to cover the spread in their last four games in October, they are 7-1 ATS in their last eight games after rushing for more than 150 yards in their previous game.
The Panthers have failed to cover in four of their last five home games and they are only 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games following a win.
Tough call in this one but I think the difference maker will be the Carolina defense. Luke Kuechly, who ranks 4th in the league in tackles, leads that unit and they will have a good game and not allow Fournette to have another big game on the ground. They will load the box and Minshaw will not be able to get it done, so Carolina will get the win and they will cover the spread as well.
PICK: Panthers -3.5