Bengals, Jaguars set for exhibition shootout

Bengals, Jaguars poised for exhibition shootout

For a team expected to take the next step in 2016, the Jaguars have displayed very little punch during the preseason. Does that change in tonight’s matchup vs. the Bengals?

According to oddsmakers at online sports book Bovada.lv, Jacksonville is a 1.5-point home favorite. The over/under projection is 43 in what amounts to both squads’ final real tune-up prior to the start of the regular season.

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After back-to-back losses against the Jets and Buccaneers, fans at EverBankField probably want to see more out of quarterback Blake Bortles and the first-team offense. Star tight end Julius Thomas, for instance, doesn’t have a single reception in August. Don’t expect a ton of Chris Ivory or T.J. Yeldon, though, as the coaching staff want to keep those tailbacks as fresh as possible for the pounding ahead.

On the visiting side, Cincinnati is anxious to see what Brandon LaFell has to offer. The newly acquired wide receiver will make his game debut, having missed contests vs. Minnesota and Detroit due to an injured right hand. LaFell essentially replaces Mohamed Sanu, who bolted for Atlanta in free agency.

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Although Chad Henne and A.J. McCarron should finish the festivities, a healthy supply of Bortles and Andy Dalton at signal-caller probably ensures a solid pace through one full half of football. With both defenses trying to fine-tune a number of aspects, look for a fair number of points. Take the over.

SUNDAY NFL FREE PICK: BENGALS/JAGUARS OVER 43 POINTS

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