Jacksonville Jaguars vs. New Orleans Saints: Preview, Prediction & Odds -- Aug. 23, 2021

by Big Al Staff

Game time: 8 p.m. ET; Aug. 23, 2021
Venue: Caesars Superdome
TV Info: ESPN

Preseason to date - NFL Preseason Week 2
Jaguars: 0-1 (last game, lost 23-13 vs. Browns)
Saints: 0-1 (last game, lost 17-14 at Ravens)

Last week’s stats leaders


Jaguars:
Passing: C.J. Beathard -- 13-for-16, 102 yards, 1 TD; Trevor Lawrence -- 6-for-9, 71 yards
Rushing: Dare Ogunbowale -- 8 carries, 24 yards
Receiving: Josh Hammond -- 6 catches, 55 yards
Defense: Chris Claybrooks -- 5 tackles

Saints:
Passing: Ian Book -- 9-for-16, 126 yards, 1 INT; Jameis Winston -- 7-for-12, 96 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; Taysom Hill -- 8-for-12, 81 yards, 1 INT
Rushing: Tony Jones Jr. -- 7 carries, 82 yards, 1 TD
Receiving: Juwan Johnson -- 2 catches, 71 yards
Defense: Eric Burrell -- 6 tackles, 1 sack

Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: Saints -4.5, Jaguars +4.5
BetMGM: Saints -4.5, Jaguars +4.5
FanDuel: Saints -4.5, Jaguars +4.5

Larry Ness went 3-1-1 last week in the first set of NFL Preseason games. Keep an eye on our Shop Picks page to see what Larry and our other champion handicappers will do this week. Don’t miss that big winner, or any of their premium picks.

Jaguars - Saints preview


The Jacksonville Jaguars and No. 1 pick Trevor Lawrence will hit the road to face the New Orleans Saints at the Superdome for a preseason Monday Night Football tilt.

Lawrence looked comfortable for the most part in his limited NFL debut. The former Clemson quarterback completed all but three passes and averaged nearly 12 yards per completion.

It was also the NFL coaching debut for Urban Meyer after more than two decades as a head coach in the college ranks.

The Jaguars’ pass defense struggled in their 23-13 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Saturday. Former New York Giants quarterback Kyle Lauletta threw for 212 yards and two touchdowns, while veteran Case Keenum pitched in for 115 yards with only five incompletions.

That overshadowed the Jaguars looking good with Lawrence under center. Gardner Minshew II, the incumbent starter competing with Lawrence for the starting job, went 4-for-8 for 47 yards and an interception.

One quarterback we will not see in Jacksonville is Tim Tebow. The quarterback-turned-tight end was cut after only one preseason game, proving to the world that even the biggest of competitors can’t play a position they’ve never played in because they’re not good at the position they originally played. Tebow’s offense is better suited for the New York Mets’ AA affiliate.

Speaking of Tebow, the Saints’ own but better version Taysom Hill saw some action in last week’s 3-point loss to the Baltimore Ravens last week. The quarterback, signed to that weird four-year, potentially-voidable $140 million contract threw for 81 yards and an interception in his preseason debut.

Hill won’t be locked in at quarterback considering he can do a bunch of other things, but his name being thrown into the ring as the successor to franchise icon quarterback Drew Brees makes this interesting. Jameis Winston, the likely starter for Week 1 in New Orleans (plenty of time left because August), threw a touchdown while averaging 13 yards per completion.

Notre Dame rookie Ian Book threw for 126 yards and an interception in his NFL debut.

Even with Brees gone, the Saints are going to have a potentially electrifying offense that will complement Winston well. Sean Payton will be tasked with giving Alvin Kamara more of a workload, both in the running game and out of the backfield. Michael Thomas is going to make any quarterback look good so long as his ankle is healthy, and the development of Tre’Quan Smith has also helped. A lot will be asked by the offensive line more than normal.

It’s the New Orleans defense that needs to step up. Outside of Cameron Jordan, who’s going to be that effective pass rusher on the edge. The Saints could use a full, healthy season from Kwon Alexander to solidify that linebacking group, as well. If this unit can’t find a way to sort of neutralize the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, there’s no point in keeping that going. At least the Atlanta Falcons don’t have Julio Jones anymore.

Betting trends


You can bet a lot of money on the over in this matchup. Both teams want their quarterbacks to get going ahead of the season, and we’re likely to see Lawrence a lot more in this one. Jacksonville has done well as an underdog, going 22-12 in their last 34 as an underdog of 7 or less. Following a home loss, the Jaguars are 12-5 in their next game.

When the Saints are favored between 3.5 and 9.5 points, they’re 6-16 in their last 22.

Prediction


We have a sense the teams won’t shy away from the big play in this one. It wouldn’t be shocking to see Meyer let Lawrence go in this one and see what he can do, an even more upgraded version from last week. Close game, Jags win. Jaguars win 27-24.

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All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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