NFL 2017 Week 6: Los Angeles Rams vs Jacksonville Jaguars Preview and Prediction

Coming off an impressive road victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Jacksonville Jaguars will now host the Los Angeles Rams in a battle of 3-2 teams

The Los Angeles Rams lost a sloppy game against the Seattle Seahawks last Sunday, 16-10. The Seattle defense forced the LA Rams into five turnovers, two of which were INTs from QB Jared Goff, as they were able to win the turnover margin, giving their offense enough opportunities to put them ahead. Seattle QB Russell Wilson threw for 198 yards and a TD and K Blair Walsh added three FGs, as Seattle leaned on its defense for one last stop late in the fourth quarter to preserve their victory. The Rams will face another stiff defensive test this week in Jacksonville. 

The Jacksonville Jaguars are coming off one of their best performances in franchise history. They defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers, 30-9, after forcing QB Ben Roethlisberger into five INTs, two of which were taken back for scores. RB Leonard Fournette was nearly unstoppable, rushing for 181 yards and two TDs, including a 90 yard TD run late in the 4th. They will look to keep the momentum going when they host the LA Rams this Sunday. 

Shutdown corners

It’s no secret anymore that the Jacksonville Jaguars boast one of the best CB duos, if not the best, in the entire NFL. CBs Jalen Ramsey and AJ Bouye have been playing at such a high level, helping the Jaguars lead the NFL in nearly every pass defense category. Both Ramsey and Bouye have recorded two INTs thus far, and are the catalyst to a pass defense that is holding opponent QBs to a 56.9 passer rating. They can rely on their range, speed, and ball instincts to make plays, essentially locking down both sides of the field. 

Blake Bortles

As good as the Jaguars have been, they still have one big issue to iron out. This issue remains at the QB position with Blake Bortles. The Jags have done a good job of hiding Bortles’ flaws by leaning on their defense and run game, but he still is tied for 24th in the NFL in pass attempts and 30th in completions. The sheltering of Bortles was on full display in their victory over the Steelers, where he only attempted 14 passes in the entire game. He is also only averaging 7.26 yards per completion, not only limiting the amount, but the riskiness of his throws. Im not sure if this is a viable long-term solution for the Jaguars, but they seem content with leaning on the defense and run game for as long as they can. 

Turnover differential

This matchup on Sunday could be decided on which team wins the turnover margin battle. You would have to give the advantage to the Jaguars early on, as they lead the NFL with a +10 turnover differential, while the LA Rams’ turnover differential is -1. QBs Blake Bortles and Jared Goff have shown they can be turnover prone, so there will be opportunities for both defenses to make a game-changing play(s). The team that takes care of the ball and forces the most turnovers on Sunday, will find themselves in the drivers seat.

RB Leonard Fournette JAX vs RB Todd Gurley LAR

Two of the top rushers in the NFL will face off this Sunday in Jacksonville. Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette ranks second in the NFL in rushing yards, while Rams RB Todd Gurley is right behind him ranking third in the league. Both RBs are averaging over 4.0 yards per carry and over 80 yards per game, while Fournette is tied for first in the NFL with five rushing TDs and Gurley is tied for third with four. Both teams run defense’s rank in the bottom half of the NFL, so expect a full dose of both stud RBs in this game.

Fantasy Tip- JAX D/ST

If you haven’t seen this defense play yet, just tune in on Sunday. They are a fierce unit that includes a lot of speed and play-making ability. This is a perfect storm for a defense that is matching up against a pass happy Rams team, especially with their young QB. The Rams turned the ball over five times last week at home against the Seattle defense, while the Jaguars forced five turnovers themselves in their matchup. The Jags secondary has forced a league high ten INTs and are tied for the league lead in sacks with 20. Look for this unit get after QB Jared Goff and turn the Rams offense over a few times, potentially creating the possibility for some defensive TDs. 

Betting Tip- JAX (-2.5)

The Jaguars -2.5 is the play in this one. I love how the defense is playing and I think that Jacksonville will continue to protect Blake Bortles with conservative play calling. The Rams have been good on the road this season, but it will be tough to travel and face off against a confident Jaguars team. I think Jared Goff will have another multiple turnover game, allowing Jacksonville to take a comfortable lead and cover the spread. 

Prediction: Jacksonville Jaguars 23 – Los Angeles Rams 14

The Rams must travel all the way across the country this week and face off against an opponent that is coming off one of the best performances of the NFL season. Thankfully for the Rams, the game is slated at 4:25pm ET, so the time difference shouldn’t have the same impact as if the game were played at 1pm ET. I don’t foresee a lot of points in this game, as both teams will rely on their ground attack and the defenses will likely make plays against the opponents QBs. The Jaguars defense will find a way to force a few turnovers, setting up easy scores for the offense, and ultimately win this one, 23-14.

  1. POLL: Who will win this matchup? VOTE BELOW!

    1. Los Angeles Rams
    2. Jacksonville Jaguars
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