Denver Broncos (1-0, 1-0 ATS) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1, 0-1), 1 p.m.
Implied Team Totals: Broncos 25.5, Jaguars 19.5
Spread/Total Movements: 5.5 to 6, 44.5 to 45
Weather: 86 degrees, 55% chance of rain, 10 mph
Broncos Injuries to Watch: WR Jerry Jeudy (ankle, IR), CB Ronald Darby (hamstring, IR), OLB Bradley Chubb (ankle, questionable), G Graham Glasgow (illness, doubtful)
Jaguars Injuries to Watch: None of note.
Brolley’s Broncos Stats and Trends
Teddy Bridgewater has covered the spread at an incredible 74% rate in his career with a 37-13 ATS record.
The Broncos are 4-1 toward unders in their last five road games.
Denver has been favored in its first two games after being the only team not to be favored in a game in 2020.
Bridgewater continued to cement his spot as Denver’s starting QB with his typical solid play in a season-opening victory over the Giants. He completed 28/36 passes for 264 yards (7.3 YPA) and two touchdowns and he added 19 rushing yards. Tyrod Taylor posted 23.6 FP in this matchup last week with 291/2 passing and 4/40 rushing.
The Broncos lost Jerry Jeudy to a high-ankle injury in their season opener, which will elevate K.J. Hamler and Tim Patrick to bigger roles for at least the next three weeks while Jeudy is on the IR. Hamler nearly had a monster performance against the Giants but he had to settle for 3/41 receiving on four targets after dropping an easy 50-yard touchdown. Jeudy posted 5/59 receiving on six targets from the slot with Bridgewater last week and Hamler figures to pick up the bulk of the slot snaps while he’s out of the lineup. Patrick took advantage of all four of his targets for 39 yards and a two-yard touchdown last week, and he ran the second-most routes (27).
Courtland Sutton managed just a 14-yard catch on three targets in his first action back from his ACL surgery despite running a team-high 33 routes. He has a chance to climb to the top of the passing game pecking order with Jeudy out, and the Jaguars gave up two 40+ yard receptions to Brandin Cooks last week.
Noah Fant posted a promising 6/62 receiving on seven targets and 27 routes in the season opener, but Albert Okwuegbunam vulture a goal-line touchdown against the Giants. Fant has 4+ catches in five straight games dating back to last season but he’s scored just three times in 15 games since the start of 2020. Pharaoh Brown posted 4/67 receiving on five targets against the Jaguars last week.
Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams had a combined 24/76 rushing (3.2 YPC) before Gordon broke a 70-yard TD run on Denver’s final play of the game. Gordon tallied 33 snaps, 11 carries 19 routes, and three targets while Williams had 33 snaps, 14 carries, 15 routes, and one target. The Jaguars allowed 37/120/2 rushing and 4/24/1 receiving to Texans RBs last week.
Brolley’s Jaguars Stats and Trends
The Jaguars are 1-4 ATS in their last five games.
Trevor Lawrence threw five interceptions in all of 2020 at Clemson, but he got a rude awakening with three interceptions in his first professional game against the Texans. He scratched out 22.1 FPG with 332/3 passing but he finished with -2 rushing yards on his lone carry. Daniel Jones posted 267/1 passing and 6/27/1 rushing in this matchup last week, with his rushing TD coming on the final play of the game.
D.J. Chark saw his first game action with Lawrence, and he paced Jacksonville’s passing attack with a 24% target share and an aDOT of 16.6 yards. He caught just a quarter of his targets (3 of 12) but he turned them into 3/86/1 receiving with his score coming on a 41-yard strike against the Texans. Kenny Golladay posted 4/64 receiving in this matchup last week.
Marvin Jones paced the Jaguars with 5/77/1 receiving on 49 routes last week and he tied CeeDee Lamb for the most end-zone targets with three. They allowed 17/246/1 receiving to Giants WRs last week.
Laviska Shenault finished third in production (7/50 receiving and routes (41) last week, which isn’t surprising since he’s their primary slot WR (82%). Sterling Shepard posted 24.3 FP against the Broncos last week with 7/113/1 receiving.
James O’Shaughnessy could be developing into a distant #4 option for Lawrence after he finished with 6/48 receiving on eight targets (16% share) in their blowout loss to the Texans. The Broncos weren’t challenged at the tight end position last week going against Kyle Rudolph (2/8 receiving on five targets).
Urban Meyer needs an intervention for his love affair with the well-past-his-prime Carlos Hyde, which has dated back to the opening days of free agency when they stunningly gave him a multi-year contract. James Robinson finished behind Hyde in rushing with 5/25 and he added 3/29 receiving on six targets while playing 64% of the snaps in Jacksonville’s lopsided loss to the lowly Texans. Meyer isn’t budging from his commitment to playing Hyde with Robinson each week, but at least J-Rob will benefit more from the pass-heavy game scripts that will be coming Jacksonville’s way this season — they’re six-point home underdogs this week. Denver limited Saquon Barkley to just 10/26 rushing and a one-yard catch last week in his first game back from surgery.
Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies
Week 1 – Pace (seconds in between plays): 29.5 (31st)
Week 1 – Plays per game: 69 (16th)
Week 1 – Pass: 58.8% (18th) | Run: 41.2% (15th)
Week 1 – Pace (seconds in between plays): 16.9 (1st)
Week 1 – Plays per game: 72 (12th)
Week 1 – Pass: 77.8% (2nd) | Run: 22.2% (31st)
The Jaguars Week 1 plan left a lot to be desired as HC Urban Meyer and OC Darrell Bevell inexplicably did not attack Houston’s swiss cheese run defense and instead forced Trevor Lawrence to dropback and throw 51 times in his debut. If they carry over a similar game-plan in Week 2 against a stout Broncos front-seven and secondary, this game could get ugly fast. The good news (for fantasy) is that the Jaguars lost in a hurry last week – ripping off plays at the league’s fastest clip (16.9 seconds in between plays) in an attempt to try and dig themselves out of a hole. It didn’t work, but it did juice up the Jags’ play volume further. I noted in our Franchise Focus series that Meyer will want to push the pace in Jacksonville after his Buckeyes were one of the quickest teams to the line of scrimmage in college football. What this means is that, if Meyer remains this committed to the pass / pace, combined with a bad defense, the Jaguars are going to be a shoot-out team all season long. After the Jaguars defense coughed up a score on 7-of-14 drives against the Texans – the Broncos should be able to do whatever they want on offense and that gives this game sneaky shootout appeal with Lawrence & Co. essentially replicating their Garbage Time game-script from Week 1.
(Note: We’re dealing with very small sample sizes early in the season – so I’m saving the deep dive into play-calling tendencies until Week 4.)
Huber’s Key Matchup Notes
What did we learn from the Broncos in Week 1? How about even higher rate of heavy personnel sets and a massive rate of Gap scheme run concepts in a Pat Shurmur offense. Nothing to see here.
As for Jacksonville… yikes. New OC Darrell Bevell will become the old OC before the ink dries on his contract if he doesn’t stand up to HC Urban Meyer before it's too late. Garbage-time TDs had already become the expectation for the bottom-feeding Jags long before Meyer took over. If I must, Jacksonville used spread personnel on 80% of snaps, which is the exact number from last season under the old staff. I’ll just state that the run concept information is lacking from Week 1, given Bevell and Meyer barely ran the ball.
When it comes to specific matchups, I have to be impressed with Bronco WR Tim Patrick. After scoring a TD last week despite drawing James Bradberry on the play, Patrick already appears to be in mid-season form. If true, it’ll be bad news for Jaguar CB Shaquill Griffin. Everyone has a cherry matchup for the Broncos’ passing game this week, but I wanted to throw a special shot to Patrick for beating Bradberry, who had an uncommonly bad day for the Giants last week.
In terms of bad matchups, those who read my Advanced Matchups column know how much I love (and, for DFS, fear) Bronco slot CB Bryce Callahan. With Ronald Darby being placed on short-term IR this week with a hamstring injury, rookie Patrick Surtain II is likely to kick outside in his place. That likely results in Callahan going head-to-head with Laviska Shenault on Sunday. Shenault ran 32 routes in the slot in Week 1 (SIS).
Dolan’s Vantage Points
For obvious reasons, I like this matchup across the board for the Broncos. Unfortunately, the weekly QB matchups are so good that even with this pristine showing, it’s hard to recommend Teddy Bridgewater as anything more than a high-end QB2 or DFS dart throw. Remember, he also lost Jerry Jeudy to short-term IR this past week.
With Jeudy on IR, I wonder if the Broncos will try to forcefeed Courtland Sutton in a fantastic matchup. Sutton managed just a 14-yard catch on three targets in his first action back from his ACL surgery despite running a team-high 33 routes, but that “team-high 33 routes” is what makes me most excited about him. He’s a WR3 with some serious upside. This week. Tim Patrick is also defensible as a WR3/FLEX, and if you’re shooting for the moon, the Jaguars gave up two 40-yard catches to Brandin Cooks last week. That could be good news for KJ Hamler, though Hamler dropped a 50-yard TD that was in the breadbasket last week.
TE Noah Fant had 6/62 last week, and is going up against a Jaguar defense that allowed “Pharaoh Brown” to manage 4/67 receiving last week.
Against a defense that was so bad last week that the husk of Mark Ingram was able to get 26 carries, I think both Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon are in play as FLEX options. They split their work right down the middle in Week 1, and only a garbage-time 70-yard TD really separated Gordon from Williams.
For Jacksonville, it’s tough living. QB Trevor Lawrence will be under siege all game, especially if Broncos OLB Bradley Chubb (ankle) can play this week (Chubb is questionable). He’s not an option in a 1-QB league.
You can take shots on the Jag receivers, but as mentioned above, Laviska Shenault has the toughest matchup. I’d prefer DJ Chark or Marvin Jones on the perimeter, where the Broncos’ CB depth will be tested following Ronald Darby’s injury.
TE James O’Shaughnessy finished with 6/48 receiving on 8 targets (16% share) in their blowout loss to the Texans. He’s a viable punt play on a team that might be throwing the ball a ton this year.