Jaguars to feature youngsters vs. Jets
Jalen Ramsey understands that flashes of brilliance during training camp can only go so far. Jacksonville’s rookie cornerback needs to display, via game reps, that his much-discussed knee is just fine.
That time arrives tonight. The Jaguars travel to East Rutherford for their preseason opener, and head coach Gus Bradley won’t be shy about deploying his newest impact performer in the secondary. Second-round selection Myles Jack also figures to see a lot of action vs. the Jets.
While the young guns are piquing the interest of many national types, though, handicappers still respect New York. Todd Bowles’ troops are currently considered 2.5-point favorites over Jacksonville. The over/under total for the contest sits at 36.5.
For the host team, this exhibition debut carries a little more weight than usual. That’s largely due to the fact that quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and the organization didn’t reach a contract agreement until July 27. The coaching staff obviously won’t overextend Fitzpatrick in a few hours, but giving the signal-caller a few series with Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker certainly wouldn’t hurt.
The Jaguars, for their part, are excited to roll out Blake Bortles & Co. for the first time since last January’s season-ending loss to Houston. We’re still looking at a raw nucleus in South Florida – a group that needs 16 quarters of reps in advance of that Sept. 11 meeting with Green Bay. Not only will Bradley probably let his No. 1 QB enjoy several possessions, he’ll let somebody like Ramsey, who underwent surgery on May 24, shake off a bit of natural rust. As a result, take a gamble with the Jags on the road.
THURSDAY NFL FREE PICK: JAGUARS +2.5