While there’s not a lot of history between the New Orleans Saints and Jacksonville Jaguars, there have been some very high-scoring games when the two teams meet. The last three regular-season clashes all resulted in lopsided decisions. The Saints, who have won all three of those games drilled the Jaguars 38-27 at home in 2015, and 23-10 in Jacksonville in 2011. They also won at home in 2007, drubbing the Jaguars to the tune of 41-24.
The Saints have won four of the six regular-season games between the two clubs and are even better against the spread, holding a 5-1 advantage there. The other win by the Saints was a tight one, 17-13 in the first-ever meeting between the two teams in 1996. Jacksonville has won close against New Orleans, beating the Saints 20-19 in 2003, and they also blew the Saints out 41-23 in 1999. The Saints have outscored the Jaguars 161-133 in their six meetings.
The lone preseason game between the two was held in 2012 in New Orleans. The Jaguars were the winners of that one, toppling the Saints 27-24 thanks to two touchdown passes by quarterback Blaine Gabbert. Chase Daniel also completed a pair of scoring aerials for the Saints, who finished with 332 yards in passing offense. Daniel (134.0), Gabbert (135.4) and Saints starter Drew Brees (134.5) all finished with outstanding passer ratings above 134.
Thou Shall Not Pass – The Jaguars were the NFL’s best pass defense in 2017, leading the league by holding opponents to 169.9 yards through the air per game. The Jaguars intercepted 21 passes, second in the league to Baltimore’s 22 picks. Jacksonville suited up rhe NFL’s second-best overall defense, permitted just 286.1 yards per game, second to Minnesota. The Jaguars and Vikings both allowed the lowest per play average in the league of 4.6 yards. Jacksonville forced 25 fumbles, tied for third in the NFL.
Run Away – The Saints were the only NFL team to place two running backs among the league’s top 25 rushers during the 2017 season. Mark Ingram led the way with 1124 yards, good for fifth in the NFL. Rookie Alvin Kamara rambled for 728 yards and that placed him 25th in the NFL. Ingram (12) and Kamara combined to rush for 20 TDs, part of an NFL-high 23 rush TDs. Ingram’s 11 carries of 20-plus yards were second in the league, while Kamara topped the NFL with a per-carry average of 6.1 yards.
Jagged Little Pill – The Jaguars were the NFL’s best rushing team in 2017, however, rambling for 2262 yards on the ground, an average of 141.4 yards per game. Fournette led the way, going off for 1040 yards in his rookie season, including a 90-yard touchdown scamper. Chris Ivory (382) and quarterback Blake Bortles (322) both topped 300 yards, while T.J. Yeldon (253) and Corey Grant (248) accounted for more than 240 yards apiece.
Rookie Ramble – When Bovada opened its future book on the 2017 NFL offensive rookie of the year race, Kamara wasn’t even on the board. The smart money was on Fournette (+350) and Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (+500). But when the final odds were posted at the end of November, Kamara, who scored a rookie league-leading 14 touchdowns, was the -500 chalk to take the award, which he ended up winning over Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt.
Running backs have won this award 35 times, more than twice as many as all other positions combined (17). One year earlier, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott opened at odds of +5000 to be the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year. But when he took over for the injured Tony Romo and led the Cowboys to the NFC East title, Prescott edged teammate Ezekiel Elliott and won, showing again that sometimes it’s wise to look for a bargain when betting on the rookie race.
Defense First – The Saints dominated the 2017 rookie race on both sides of the ball. Cornerback Marshon Lattimore was the overwhelming pick as NFL defensive rookie of the year, garnering 45 of 50 first-place votes. Lattimore finished the season with 52 tackles and led all NFL rookies with five interceptions. It was just the second time in NFL history the same team swept both awards. In 1967 – the Saints’ first NFL season – the Detroit Lions accomplished the feat with running back Mel Farr and cornerback Lem Barney.
Here Comes The Rush – The Jaguars set a franchise record and finished second in the NFL last season with 50 quarterback sacks. Defensive end Calais Campbell accounted for 14.5 sacks, while defensive end Yannick Ngakoue was good for 12 sacks, with defensie end Dante FoFour of Chicago’s five wins in 2017 were against AFC North teams.wler and defensive tackle Malik Jackson making eight each. They were also second in the NFL with 21 interceptions, third in the league with 17 forced fumbles and fourth with 12 fumble recoveries. The Jacksonville defense scored an NFL-best seven TDs.
Super Bowl Bound? – Even though both teams are coming off division titles, you won’t find a lot of Super Bowl love for either New Orleans or Jacksonville from the bookmakers. Bovada lists the Saints as their seventh choice to win Super Bowl LIII at +1800, but that’s significantly better than the Jaguars, who sit as the co-12th choice in the betting with the Los Angeles Chargers at +2200. But maybe you like the odds of a Saints-Jaguars showdown in Super Bowl LIII. MyBookie will give you odds of +11000 of that happening.
What About Blake? – Saints quarterback Drew Brees is Bovada’s fourth choice among contenders to the be the NFL’s MVP in 2018, priced at +1500, but you’ve got to wonder what’s a guy like Bortles need to do to garner a little respect from the bookmakers? He got the Jags to within a win over the Super Bowl, but you’ll look a long way down the list of MVP candidates before you locate Bortles at +6600 – and after passing the likes of Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston (+5000) and Alex Smith (+6000) of the Washington Redskins.