The Broncos and Jaguars clash in London on Sunday morning, marking the third and final British game of the 2022 NFL season. Both teams have 2-5 records, with Jacksonville exceeding expectations after a miserable 2021 and Denver following the hype of the previous season Coach Nathaniel Hackett and QB Russell Wilson didn’t do justice.
The struggle was real for the Broncos, who have the NFL’s worst offense, second worst third-down offense and third fewest TDs. Most of the time, the problems seem to stem from Wilson’s inability to make games like they used to and his minimal bag protection. Broncos QBs were fired three times per game, the sixth most in the league. At other times, Hackett makes in-game decisions that can only be described as mind-bending.
Meanwhile, the Jaguars have many reasons to be optimistic about the future. Under new head coach Doug Pederson, QB Trevor Lawrence has found his groove as a sophomore. With RB Travis Etienne Jr. enjoying a breakout campaign, that offense shows promise.
The Broncos and Jaguars met 14 times and tied the all-time series 7-7. Denver has won three of the last four meetings dating back to 2013. Lawrence lost his only start against Denver last season, 23-13, a game in which he threw two picks.
But the question is; will the Broncos finally getting something going this weekend in London? Or will Jacksonville take another step forward against an injury-plagued roster with an awkward offense?
According to BestofBets.com, a win for the Broncos on Sunday opened at 14/1 but is now trading at 6/5 (an implied probability of 45.5%). The reason for bookmakers to adjust the odds significantly is likely due to Wilson and the fact that he’s now set to play despite his recent hamstring injury. However, he’s had limited practice and is debatable whether he’s fit enough. He’s been telling reporters he practiced during the eight-hour flight to London while his teammates tried to sleep (gosh!). As it stands, 91% of the money is on the Jaguars to take this game.
Will Russell Wilson play? Does Broncos Country even want that?
After Wilson was injured, veteran Brett Rypien started for Denver last weekend, but the results were similar. The Broncos fell 16-9 at home to the Jets and managed just one TD despite having possession for over 32 minutes and a total of 75 games. Zach Wilson, Jets QB sophomore, rushed for just 105 yards, but Denver gave up 155 yards on the ground. Signs are pointing to nine-time Pro Bowler Wilson being fit for the case, but pundits across the country are beginning to wonder if he’s ready. He has only one game with multiple TDs and has a career-low passer rating of 83.4, and he’s been fired more often than in Seattle in the past three years. Denver has a talented young group of receivers in Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler – he just can’t get them the ball often enough to make them play. Broncos country, rough ride.
Broncos vs. Jaguars: Three trends to be aware of
— These two teams are 2-5 straight and against the spread. Jacksonville is 0-2 ATS as a favorite while Denver is 2-2 ATS as an underdog.
— The Jaguars have committed 10 turnovers in their five losses, but not once in their two wins. Similarly, Denver has seven turnovers in its five losses but only one total turnover in its two wins.
– Denver has given up on four of its five losses between 19 and 25 first downs. Jacksonville averages 22.4 first downs per game.
Stats that matter
3.2. That’s Wilson’s average rushing attempts per game since 2021, well below his career average of 5.3 attempts per game. In his prime, he squatted and ran 7.4 times per game, mostly evading pressure at the line of scrimmage. Since Javonte Williams, a sophomore at stud, tore his ACL against the Raiders in Week 4, Wilson’s bag has been constantly collapsing, but he can’t outrun it with his legs like earlier in his career. In his last two games, he’s been sacked eight times, rushed seven times, and knocked down five times.
All told, he’s seen 23 flashes in the two games he’s started without Williams in the backfield. That led to 13 bad passes, which occupied the third most QB in weeks 5 and 6. Veterans Melvin Gordon III, Latavius Murray and Mike Boone have tried to breathe some life into this offense, but they just can’t pull off results that Williams achieved both on the ground and in the air. Inefficient running play hurt Wilson, and the defense knows the recipe for success against him is to keep the pass rush at full throttle.
Beaten up and injured, the Broncos just don’t seem to have the zeal to beat good and/or well-trained teams. The presence of Russell Wilson on the Broncos may change the perception of this game slightly, but the quarterback may not make a difference due to the lack of viable offensive options he has had all season. The fact that a player like Wilson has only thrown five touchdown passes so far shows that the Broncos are not exactly a very complete team on offense, as reflected in their current numbers.
The Jaguars have been much more dependable in that regard, as Trevor Lawrence continues to put up good numbers, throwing 9 touchdown passes. Moreover, their ground offense is also performing well.Although the Jaguars have allowed more than 20 points in their last two games, this may not be the case when they face Denver, a team with an offense that has struggled mightily and gives the Jaguars a chance to win, even if it is by a narrow margin.
Jacksonville Jaguars 5/7
Denver Broncos 6/5
There are lots of exciting NFL micro betting markets that are created and they are available in-game. Among them are whether a field goal will be scored and you simply bet whether the player will make it or miss.