Atlanta (29) @ Jacksonville (28)
-Falcons RB Cordarrelle Patterson (high ankle sprain) is questionable. He was injured week 10 and missed week 11. He was limited in practice all week and appears likely to return.
-Falcons LB Deion Jones (shoulder) popped up on the injury report Friday as limited and is questionable. I'd expect him to play.
-Falcons DT Jonathan Bullard (ankle) is out. He is a rotational defensive lineman who is replaceable.
-Jaguars CB Shaquill Griffin (concussion) is out. Griffin is a solid corner, this is a blow to the Jaguars secondary.
Spread updates: This line shifted away from the model, as the Falcons are now 2 point favorites. 70% of tickets and 79% of cash is on Atlanta. It's hard to make much of that since the line has moved.
This game sucks: We at FAT are here to make crap games enjoyable, by betting on them. Thank us later.
When Atlanta has the ball: The Falcons (31st in DVOA and 30th EPA/play) have an everything but quarterback problem. Matt Ryan is 8th in PFF passing grades (80.2) while completing 67.7% of his passes (0.8% above expectation) and gaining 6.9 yards per attempt. The offensive line has major holes at LG (rookie Jalen Mayfield, who played tackle exclusively at Michigan) and RT (Kaleb McGary). With Calvin Ridley still dealing with personal issues, they're down to rookie TE Kyle Pitts as the only viable receiving option. Cordarrelle Patterson returning would be a big deal for the offense --he's used as a true hybrid WR/RB and has been effective in that role, but he is just 2 weeks removed from a high ankle sprain. Things are equally shitty for the other side -- the Jags are 29th in defensive DVOA and 30th in EPA/play. The strength of the Jags has been their pass rush -- they rank 9th in the NFL in pressure percentage (26.5%), led by Josh Allen (39 pressures) and Dawuane Smoot (33). The interior of the line and linebackers are all weak, and the secondary takes a big hit with Shaq Griffin (concussion) going down. There simply aren't any other good corners on the roster. Andrew Wingard and Rayshawn Jenkins are at least a serviceable safety tandem. The Jaguars have been considerably better vs the run (5th in DVOA) than the pass (31st in DVOA).
When the Jaguars have the ball:
The Jaguars offense is sitting at 25th in offensive DVOA and 26th in EPA/play. Trevor Lawrence is 37th of 38 qualifiers in PFF grades (57.2) while completing 58.4% of his passes (5.6% below expectation) and gaining 6.0 yards per attempt. The season for the rookie has certainly been less than ideal. He had 3 turnover worthy plays in each of his first 3 games, a stat that is objectively horrible -- but since that time his turnover worthy play percentage is just 2.1%, 6th best in the league. You see the big throws that made him arguably the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck, and the future could still be bright, but he's simply missing too many throws for the time being. The offensive line is bottom third in the league. They've experimented with a number of combinations throughout the year, and as it stands now there aren't truly any horrible players, but there isn't anyone who stands out as above average, with the exception of LG Andrew Norwell. With the offensive line, it's important to not have weaknesses, but having just a single above-average player is far from ideal. The receiving core is more of the same, with Marvin Jones Jr and Laviska Shenault projected to lead the way in targets. James Robinson will get the bulk of the RB carries -- he leads a Jags rushing attack that is 4th in DVOA, far better than their passing attack which ranks 28th. The Falcons defense is 30th in DVOA and 27th in EPA/play. They have virtually zero pass rush -- their 17.5% pressure rate is dead last in the league. Grady Jarrett (25 pressures) is one of the games best pass rushing tackles, but he has virtually zero help on the outside. The Falcons were hoping that Dante Fowler would be that guy when they signed the ex Ram to a 3 year, 48 million dollar contact before the 2020 season, but it's become clear his impressive sack numbers were a product of playing next to Aaron Donald. The linebackers and safeties have all been horrible, as has all corners who aren't named AJ Terrell -- who ranks 3rd in PFF grades. The Falcons defense is ranked 1st in variance by Football Outsiders -- hats off for being consistently terrible.