The Jacksonville Jaguars get a rare chance to play on Monday Night Football when they host the free-falling Cincinnati Bengals in an 8:15 p.m. ET game.
It’s the first Monday night game for the Jaguars since 2011. Six teams have played at least 20 Monday night games since Jacksonville last did so, losing to the San Diego Chargers and quarterback Philip Rivers 38-14 on Dec. 5, 2011. They go into this one as 10-point home favourites at bet365, as the Bengals have lost three straight games and are without quarterback Joe Burrow for the remainder of the season after he underwent wrist surgery.
Jacksonville is looking more and more like a Super Bowl contender, having won seven of its last eight games, but it’s not hard to see why they haven’t got invitations to play on Monday Night Football in the last dozen years. They finished with double-digit losses 10 times in 11 seasons between 2011 and 2021.
Bengals vs. Jaguars odds
|Bengals Moneyline Odds
|Jaguars Moneyline Odds
|Jaguars -10 (-110)
|40 points (over -110, under -110)
|Dec. 4, 8:15 p.m. ET
About the Bengals (5-6 SU, 4-6-1 ATS, 5-6 o/u)
Cincinnati is in deep here for a lot of reasons, among them being their atrocious road record on Monday nights. The Bengals are 3-20 on the road on Monday nights, the worst such record in NFL history.
They got good news this week, though, when receiver Tee Higgins and linebacker Logan Wilson both returned to practice after missing time with injuries.
Whether Jake Browning can get the ball to Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase consistently remains to be seen. He was so-so last week vs. the Steelers, completing 19 of his 26 pass attempts for 227 yards, one touchdown and one interception. It’s worth pointing out, however, that 31 of those yards came on a tipped pass that Chase came down with. Against a decent Jacksonville pass rush, Bengals coaches likely will look to get the ball out of Browning’s hand quickly.
Getting the running game going has been impossible for the Bengals all season despite having running back Joe Mixon and adding left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. to their offensive line in the off-season. Cincinnati is last in the NFL in rushing with an average of 75.8 ground yards per game. Mixon picked up just 16 yards on eight carries in last week’s loss vs. Pittsburgh.
The Bengals have been susceptible to big plays all season. They have given up more explosive plays than any team in the NFL.
About the Jaguars (8-3 SU, 8-3 ATS, 5-6 o/u)
Jacksonville is playing its best football of the season, particularly an offence led by quarterback Trevor Lawrence that has scored more than 30 points in two of its last five games. It also needs this game to stay alive in the race for the AFC’s No. 1 seed.
Jacksonville lost left tackle Cam Robinson to a knee injury, putting him on injured reserve last week. He will be replaced by Walker Little, who slides over from guard to fill Robinson’s crucial spot. They traded a sixth-round pick to Minnesota to add Ezra Cleveland, who will step in at left guard.
The Jags have been fairly adept at patching holes on their offensive line this season. This will be their fifth starting offensive line combination.
Jacksonville edge rushers Travon Walker and Josh Allen have been feasting lately and the Bengals have one of the worst offensive lines in the league, so life could get hectic in the pocket for Browning and the Bengals’ other backs.
Allen has become one of the most dangerous edge rushers in the NFL and is a contender for Defensive MVP, and he figures to put serious pressure on Brown, the other Bengals edge blockers, and Mixon to keep him contained long enough for Browning to get room to operate. Last week, Browning was under constant duress and took four sacks.
Allen had 2 ½ more sacks vs. the Houston Texans last week and has 12 on the season, just 1 ½ behind league leader T.J. Watt. In this, his contract season, he no doubt will be motivated to keep his career season humming right along. Only 11 NFL teams have allowed more sacks than the Bengals’ 31, so Allen could be in a good spot to continue padding his numbers.
Josh Allen to record a sack
The Bengals are without CB Cam Taylor-Britt (quad/ankle), OT D’Ante Smith (knee) and DT Jay Tufele (illness).
Jacksonville is expecting RB Travis Etienne (ribs) to play, while TE Brenton Strange (foot) and TE Luke Farrell (toe) are questionable.
The offences will be handed nearly ideal conditions in Florida, where forecasters are expecting partly cloudy skies and temperatures of about 15 C at kickoff, with light winds of about 6 km/h.
- Games involving the Bengals have had an average score totaling 41.3 points while games involving the Jaguars have averaged 43.5 points.
- The Bengals are 2-3 on the road.
- The Jaguars are 6-1 as moneyline favourites this season while the Bengals have gone 1-3 as underdogs.
- At +375, Cincinnati is getting its longest moneyline odds of the season in this one.
Player prop trends
- Despite Browning taking over at QB, Chase managed to rack up 81 yards on four catches last week and the coaches likely will look for ways to continue getting the ball in his hands. His receiving yards number is set at 56.5 (-110) in this one.
- Even with Burrow out last week, Cincinnati dropped back on more than 73% of its snaps vs. Pittsburgh, the third-highest rate in the league in Week 12. That could indicate Browning will exceed 33.5 pass attempts (at -105).
- Bengals TE Tanner Hudson has seen an increase in targets over the last four weeks and is averaging 4.5 receptions per game during that span. He’s +105 to record over 2.5 receptions.
Wagers to consider
- Jacksonville has plenty going its way in this spot, including a hot offence, a dangerous pass rush against an inexperienced QB, and tons of motivation playing a rare prime-time spot. Consider laying the double-digit points as Jacksonville continues its mission to try to lock up the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
- The Bengals are the most pass-happy team in the NFL and, even with Burrow out, they don’t figure to completely change their playbook. They showed enough trust in Browning last week to guess they will allow him to continue chucking the ball up. It’s worth considering the over on his pass attempts (see above), but also on 0.5 interceptions (even at -175).