The Jacksonville Jaguars (4-9) and Atlanta Falcons (8-5) will meet up on Thursday night inside the Georgia Dome on the NFL Network.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Atlanta Falcons

Jacksonville is focused on potentially winning back-to-back games for the first time this year and comes off a 41-14 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as three-point home underdogs.  The Jaguars benefited greatly from creating seven turnovers and have gone ‘over’ the total in two consecutive games.  “This is what we expected to have all year,” commented Jaguars defensive tackle Terrance Knighton.  “It didn’t work like that, but hopefully it will be good momentum for us.”  The team will be playing its third game without former head coach Jack Del Rio and will look to finish the final three weeks with some momentum to carry into next year.  Jacksonville is 7-4 ATS as an underdog of 10 or more points the last two-plus years.

The Jaguars will certainly look to get running back Maurice Jones-Drew going early, leading the NFL with 1,222 rushing yards this season, but he’ll be going against a defense that allows 95.2 rushing yards.  Jacksonville is hoping that rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert continues to show improvement, coming off his third 200-yard passing performance of the season.  On the defensive side of the ball, the secondary will be tested against one of the best passing teams in the league, ranking fourth in the league in allowing just 190.8 passing yards per game.

Atlanta is coming off a 31-23 come-from-behind victory over the Carolina Panthers and will likely be looking ahead to next week’s divisional test versus the New Orleans Saints.  The Falcons are currently tied with the Detroit Lions for the final playoff spot in the NFC.  “We approached it as the first of four legs,” stated Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan about last week’s win.  “We’ve got to move on and keep going.”  The former Boston College star is just 232 passing yards away from breaking his single-season passing record.  Atlanta is 1-1 ATS as a home favorite of 10.5 to 14 points the last two-plus campaigns.

The Falcons will definitely want to feature running back Michael Turner, who will be facing a defense that allows 111.5 yards on the ground.  Atlanta will also look to go vertical in throwing to wide receiver Roddy White due to catching 28 passes for 402 yards in the past four games.  One story line that can’t be ignored due to the quick turnaround of this contest is Falcons head coach Mike Smith being hospitalized after falling ill on the plane in Charlotte.

Bettors will likely back the Jaguars due to their 7-3 ATS mark as an underdog of 10.5 or more points, while the Falcons are 1-3-1 ATS at home.

Recommendation:  Jacksonville Jaguars +12.5

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