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NFL handicapper Jason Yamaguchi offers his analysis on the spread of the Week 1 matchup between the Commanders and the Jaguars.

Washington Commanders vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Prediction, Pick: How Will Commanders Do Without Chase Young?

The last time Carson Wentz faced the Jaguars, the stakes were higher than ever. Specifically, the Wentz-led Colts needed a Week 18 win to punch their ticket to the postseason. Coming into the game, the Jaguars were 2-14, looking ahead to the second-straight draft in which they would be drafting first. It seemed as though the Colts had all but clinched their spot in the playoffs.

However, that wasn't the case. The Jaguars held the Colts to just 11 points, beating them by two scores and ending their season in the process. Wentz was abysmal, posting a line of 185 passing yards, one touchdown, one interception, and a 74.6 passer rating. It was his last appearance as a Colt — he joined the Commanders via trade in the offseason.

After failing to reinvigorate his career under former coordinator Frank Reich, the opportunity to start for Washington seems like Wentz's last chance to secure a starting job in the NFL. His quest to do so begins tomorrow against Jacksonville, the team that held Wentz and the Colts out of the playoffs just nine months ago. Here are our picks, predictions, and odds for Sunday's game between the Washington Commanders and the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Commanders vs. Jaguars Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

  • Date: September 11, 2022
  • Game time: 1:00 pm ET
  • Where to watch: FOX

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Washington Commanders vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Prediction

Washington's offense, at the moment, appears to be a bit of an enigma. They have one of the NFL's better offensive lines, a unit that will receive a boost from the addition of five-time Pro-Bowler Trai Turner. They also have perhaps the league's most underrated wide receiver in Terry McLaurin, whose skill has flown under the radar since he was drafted due to a lack of competent quarterback play.

Despite all of that, the performance of the offense will hinge on what version of Wentz shows up this season. If he can improve even marginally on his performance from last year, this offense will be functional. Otherwise, it may be a below-average unit. The addition of first-round rookie Jahan Dotson, who made his mark in college by uplifting bad QB play, will help either way.

The good news is that the Jaguars shouldn't pose too big of a challenge from a defensive standpoint. Their secondary is among the league's worst, with no standout cornerbacks and a middling safety pairing. Their pass rush is likely to depend on the performance of first overall pick Travon Walker, a standout pass rusher out of Georgia. Now, Walker was billed as a pick who was drafted for his "tools", meaning that he will need time to acclimate to the NFL before he can reach his upside. That bodes well for the Commanders in Week 1, who will fare nicely if they can prevent the Jaguars from pressuring Wentz.

On the other side, Jacksonville's offense does not project well, to say the least. We can expect 2021 first overall pick, Trevor Lawrence, to take a leap, yes, but how far can that leap take an offense that has major personnel issues across the board? The Jaguars added Christian Kirk in free agency to lead the receiving corps, but he's hardly an elite wideout. Beyond him, the Jags are lacking for depth in terms of weapons, unless you count former Giant Evan Engram as a dependable aerial option. In fairness, Travis Etienne, who missed the entire 2021 season with a foot injury, will make a positive impact on this offense. He will provide a boost on the ground and through the air. Still, it's hard to see this offense as anything other than a bottom-10 unit.

The other reason to fade Jacksonville's offense is that their offensive line will be mediocre at best and terrible at worst. Their tackle pairing, consisting of Cam Robinson and Jawaan Taylor, does not exactly instill confidence, and the line's interior doesn't look much better. The Jaguars may be able to get away with rolling this line out against some teams, but they won't be able to do so against the Commanders' formidable defensive line. Even with Chase Young out, the Commanders will be forcing the Jaguars to prevent Montez Sweat, Daron Payne, and Jonathan Allen from wreaking havoc. I don't trust the Jaguars' offensive line to do that successfully, meaning that Washington's defense should have an edge in this matchup.

Overall, I think that the point spread for this game is a bit mispriced. The Commanders have a noticeable advantage over the Jaguars when comparing most of their respective position groups. It's also worth noting that the game is in Washington, meaning that the Commanders should receive a small bump to account for home-field advantage. I like the home team to cover the -2.5 spread, especially given that this number falls right under the key number of three.

Washington Commanders vs Jacksonville Jaguars Pick

Pick: Commanders -2.5 (-105) (Bet $105 to win $100)

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Article Author


Jason Yamaguchi is an avid New York sports fan. He has a proven record of providing +EV bets by combining traditional handicapping tactics with advanced statistics. You can follow him on Twitter @TopMoneyPicks to view all of his bets, including NFL, NHL, and MLB picks.


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