The Pro Picks: Everything continues to go wrong for Jacksonville
If you think owning a NFL team is glamorous, ask Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan if he’s having fun yet.
Despite spending millions on free agency and stadium improvements, Khan has little to show for his investment besides a nice venue for football.
When he hired current coach Gus Bradley and general manager Dave Caldwell in January 2013, Khan knew it would take time for them to rebuild the team. But after signing 10 starters in free agency the past two offseasons, the owner expected a winning 2016 campaign, with a likely berth in the playoffs.
What he got was the laughingstock of pro football.
The Jags, to be blunt, are a mess. From regressing quarterback Blake Bortles, to a 31st-ranked running game that averages 2.6 yards per game, to an injury-riddled and ineffective offensive line, to a defense that cannot pressure opposing quarterbacks or force turnovers, Jacksonville is inept on both sides of the ball.
Factor in a lack of discipline — Jacksonville leads the NFL with 91.3 penalty yards per game — and it’s small wonder commentators around the league assert the Jags have quit on Bradley.
On Sunday, Jacksonville travels to Kansas City, where the Chiefs are riding a three-game winning streak and appear poised for another run at the AFC West title that eluded them last year.
Even with backup Nick Foles in for injured quarterback Alex Smith, KC is favored by 7 points and gets our call to hammer another nail into Bradley’s coaching coffin.
Give the points.
In other games:
MINNESOTA (-6) over Detroit — The Vikings’ fall from grace has been troubling, as is the sudden retirement of offensive coordinator Norv Turner. Perhaps a dose of home cooking will cure what ails them.
N.Y. GIANTS (-2) over Philadelphia — The well-rested Giants are coming off a bye and sporting a two-game winning streak. The spit is about to hit the fan for Philly, who close out the month with a brutal stretch of games against Atlanta, Seattle and Green Bay after this divisional tong war.
Dallas (-7) over CLEVELAND — The Pokes are the NFC’s top-seeded team and they aren’t likely to stumble against the winless Browns.
N.Y. Jets (+4) over MIAMI — These AFC East teams are both struggling along and, in a game that is likely to be decided by a field goal at the buzzer, taking the Jets and the points seems to be the right move to make.
BALTIMORE (-2 1/2) over Pittsburgh — This is a tough game to handicap with all the uncertainty surrounding Ben Roethlisberger’s playing status. The Ravens always seem to be there at the final gun, making them dangerous at home for the rival Steelers.
SAN FRANCISCO (+5) over New Orleans — This is a bit of a sandwich game for the Saints, who are coming off a nice win over Seattle and have the Super Bowl champion Broncos next. The well-rested Niners spring the upset.
Carolina (-3) over LOS ANGELES — Carolina played a solid game last week and, after Cam Newton’s chat with Roger Goodell, he may get a bit of protection here from the Rams’ often overzealous pass rushers.
GREEN BAY (-7 1/2) over Indianapolis — Whatever was plaguing Aaron Rodgers earlier this season, the Pro Bowl quarterback has put it all behind him. Side with the Pack over an Indianapolis team that brings a 1-3 road record to Lambeau Field.
Tennessee (+4 1/2) over SAN DIEGO — The Titans enter the game on a bit of a roll, winning three of their last four. The Bolts play a lot of down-to-the-wire games, making the generous spot too tough to pass up.
OAKLAND (-1 1/2) over Denver — The winner takes over first place in the AFC West, which makes it the biggest game in the Black Hole in many years. The Denver defense seems to have its mojo back, but Derek Carr gives Oakland a huge advantage at quarterback. Look for the Raiders to just win, baby!
SEATTLE (-7) over Buffalo — The Bills are still missing a lot of offensive weapons, which is not the best case scenario for challenging the Seahawks defense in Seattle. Give the points.
Last week: 9-3-1