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Dallas vs Jacksonville: Betting on an Inter-Conference Clash

Jacksonville Jaguars(3-2) @ Dallas Cowboys(2-3)

  • Where: AT&T Stadium. Arlington, TX
  • When: October 14, 2018 4:25 pm EST
  • Spread: Dallas (+3) vs Jacksonville (-3)
  • Moneyline: Dallas (+145) vs Jacksonville (-165)
  • Over / Under: Over 40.5 (-110) vs Under 40.5 (-110)

Jerry Jones has a vision for the Dallas Cowboys. A powerful blocking offense with great running backs and skill players overwhelms visitors to Jerry World, while a punishing defense remains affordable through some type of Cowboy magic. Special teams, decorum, coaching, all of the externals perfect. The whole 9 yards.

Or hopefully, even 10 yards. Or more. At a time.

Such simple concepts as moving the sticks have eluded the Cowboys at crucial times so far this season, to say nothing of the powerful offense and efficient D and immaculate decorum.

With the high-ambition ‘Boys struggling just to make ends meet again, Vegas has installed the visiting 2017-18 AFC Championship Game representative Jacksonville Jaguars as field goal favorites.

Jaguars Claw Their Way to Big D

Jacksonville’s defense may not be quite the juggernaut it was in 2017, but it’s still pretty damn good. Through 5 weeks, the Jags rank 3rd in defensive DVOA (16.9% better than league average); they’re 3rd against the pass and 7th against the run. The Cowboys, on the other hand, don’t really do anything well. They rank 26th in offensive DVOA (13.1% below league average), and 15th in defensive DVOA (right at average).

For all the struggles Dallas has had through 5 weeks, they’re T-2nd in the wide-open NFC East with a 2-3 record. No one in the division has a winning record, and the Cowboys are hopeful they’ll reunite with All Pro center Travis Fredrick, dealing with Guillain-Barre syndrome, sometime in the near future.

Typical Cowboys. Bad luck, and a promissory note on a future that may never cash-in. But they’re still trying.

The Jaguars remain at 3-2 in a relatively wide open AFC South, tied for the lead with the Titans. An upcoming stretch of the Cowboys and Texas hope to see them get back to their 2017 form, when they won 10 games and made an AFC Championship appearance.

On paper, it’s a disastrous match-up for a Cowboys offense that seems to be stuck in the 1990s. Dallas has built this team though the offensive line and the running game, yet last week facing a 4th and 1 at the Houston 42-yard-line in overtime, Dallas punted. It’s a decision that was knocked by Jerry Jones, who usually doesn’t comment on special-teams decisions.

When you have a nice offensive line and spend a 4th overall pick on a running back, there are situations when you run the football on 4th down and short. Unsurprisingly, the Texans would win the game on the next possession with a 36-yard field goal.

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Not so Fast, Cowboy Haters…The Jags Have Issues Too

The Jaguars still possess a questionable offense, giving the Cowboys an outside shot to win a low-scoring scrum.

Blake Bortles’ play is so inconsistent, that it’s hard to predict what you’re going to get from the Jacksonville QB.

Bortles has been electric at times this year. He threw for 376 yards and 4 touchdowns in a win over the Patriots and 338 yards 2 weeks ago against the Jets.

But when bad Bortles shows up, it’s pretty bad. Last week against the Chiefs he threw 4 interceptions. In a week three 9-6 loss to the Titans he managed only 155 passing yards. It’s the sort of inconsistency that makes it hard to imagine Jacksonville as a true Super Bowl contender. Bortles will be asked to string together 4 good games in a row in January.

But right now, the focus is on Big D…and whether the defense there will put up much resistance.

Picking Cowboys-Jags on the Moneyline

I’m liking Jacksonville to out-class the Cowboys and win this contest 7 or 8 out of 10 times. The Jags are a solid wager at (-165).

Kurt BoyerThis article was written by Kurt Boyer

A freelance sportswriter from Missouri, Kurt has covered court, gridiron, rink and ring for 10+ years. He muses about High School football on social media as The Gridiron Geek.

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