Thursday Night Football! This week, the NFC South will host the AFC South, as the Jacksonville Jaguars are headed to the Superdome to take on the New Orleans Saints. While Jacksonville boasts the more impressive overall resume, the Saints are 2.5 point favorites in this one, according to DraftKings Sportsbook. Typically, I would question this assessment, but in this case I think I agree, but with one big caveat: the health of Trevor Lawrence.
On paper, this seems like an interesting spread for two teams that — despite their records — are performing quite differently. Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars are 4-2 with two wins over the Colts (3-3), and one each over the Falcons (3-3) and Bills (4-2). Their only two losses have been to the Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans. Decently impressive. I would say.
Meanwhile, the Saints are 3-3, but their wins have been over the Titans (2-4), the Panthers (0-6), and the Patriots (1-5). Their losses? Packers (2-3), Buccaneers (3-2), Texans (3-3). In order to win, the Saints will have to do something that they have yet to do this: beat a team with a winning record.. But again, even though the Jaguars are optimistic that Lawrence can play, he remains a game time decision.
Even if Trevor Lawrence does take the field, he will be battling through a knee injury that could hamper his mobility against a team with a solid pass rush. To his credit, he has posted an elite time-to-throw this season at 2.51 seconds, according to Pro Football Focus, but he also has one of the worse pressure-to-sack metrics in the league (tied with Zach Wilson). In addition to this, the Saints defense may be showing him a lot more man coverage tonight than he is accustomed to.
Trevor Lawrence has not faced a ton of man coverage this season, but he will see it at a high rate tonight.— Jordan Vanek (@JordanVanekDFS) October 19, 2023
His stats this season:
YPA: 5.9 (10th percentile amongst starting QBs)
One of his wide receivers will have to win consistently tonight.
Christian Kirk has… pic.twitter.com/pTHXaTAuZS
Look for the Saints pass rush to get after whoever is behind center for the Jaguars. If New Orleans can keep the Jacksonville offense under control, I think this remains a low scoring affair that should end favorably for the home team.
The pick: Under 40 points, Saints win straight up and cover the spread
Here are our picks from Tallysight: