Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Arizona Cardinals Week 3 Predictions and Picks: Against the Spread, Total, and Props
In Week 3, two former Heisman trophy winners square off. Both, former first overall picks. The Jaguars have a new regime lead by Head Coach Urban Meyer and the Cardinals enter this game on fire, lead by MVP candidate Kyler Murray.
This matchup pins the most recent college coaches to make the leap to the NFL, Meyer, and the Cardinals' Kliff Kingsbury against one another. They came to the NFL with the number one overall pick in their pockets. Kingsbury in 2019 selected Murray, and Meyer this past spring selected Trevor Lawrence.
Arizona Cardinals Preview
The Cardinals are off to an excellent start in 2021, they enter Week 3 off of back-to-back wins over the Tennessee Titans and Minnesota Vikings. The Cardinals beat the Titans resoundingly in Week 1 on the road 38-13. In Week 2 they defeated the Vikings in their home opener 34-33. The win last week may have been more impressive though as it showed Arizona can handle adversity as they found themselves down at multiple points in the game but managed to come out victorious.
The Cardinals offense overall is ranked second in the NFL in scoring through two weeks, third in passing, and 12th in rushing. This is mostly due to the performance by Quarterback Kyler Murray through two weeks. He is second in passing yards with 689 and second in passing touchdowns with 7. Due to his performance through the first two weeks, he has received an influx of MVP votes. You can read about that here as my colleague Kyle Newman discusses this recent development.
The Cardinals may have found a gem in this year's draft as rookie wide receiver Rondale Moore leads all rookies with 268 all-purpose yards (182 receiving) through the first two weeks of the NFL season.
Jacksonville Jaguars Preview
Unfortunately for Jaguars fans, 2021 looks like it isn't going to be much different. Through two weeks the Jags have the 27th worse defense in the NFL. They have failed to force a turnover and with Kyler Murray and the high-flying Arizona offense, things won't get much easier. The Jaguars secondary has been a huge issue and with injuries to starter CJ Henderson and veteran Tre Herndon who is still recovering from a training camp injury, things really look bleak.
Jacksonville has now lost 17 consecutive games. They've surrendered 60 combined points to the Broncos and Texans. Offensively they rank in the bottom of the league as well through two weeks at 27th overall. The Jaguars are trying to avoid their sixth 0-3 start in franchise history (1995, 2003, 2013, 2014, 2016). Three of those five seasons came with first-year head coaches just like 2021.
The Jaguars offense as a unit has been struggling but maybe that has something to do with them currently sitting dead last in rushing attempts. They've attempted just 32 rushes through two weeks. Currently, the Arizona defense ranks 26th against the run so maybe Urban Meyer finally leans on James Robinson.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Arizona Cardinals Betting Preview
The Jaguars still have not forced a turnover on defense and it simply isn't easy to win games in the NFL if you can't win the turnover battle. The Jaguars defense has been abysmal and there's no way Kyler and the Cards don't feast all day this Sunday. If you want to get in on the Kyler MVP bandwagon I suggest you don't wait for after this weekend because his odds are going to continue to fall after he puts on a show this weekend.
In addition, former Houston Texan wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins has put up BIG numbers against the Jaguars when he played them twice a year in the AFC South. He has 79 receptions for 930 yards and six touchdowns in 14 games against them. On the season, Hopkins has 10 catches, 137 yards, and three touchdowns. These numbers have a good chance to balloon this Sunday afternoon.
Everything here is a perfect recipe for a good old-school beatdown but in a new school sort of way. A new way because the Cardinals will do this by throwing the ball all over the yard whereas old school would have been run the ball down the opponent's throat. I wouldn't be shocked if Arizona is up so large that Kyler and other starters are on the bench for some of the fourth quarter. Let's get a double-digit win from Arizona this Sunday and cash this -7.5 number at even money!
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Arizona Cardinals Picks
Cardinals -7.5 (+100)