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MNF Staff Picks: Jaguars look to climb to number seed in AFC by beating the Bengals

Trevor Lawrence and the Jacksonville Jaguars can make the most of a matchup with a Cincinnati Bengals team without their star quarterback Joe Burrow and leapfrog the Miami Dolphins to be the number one seed in the AFC heading into Week 14.

Syndication: USA TODAY Kareem Elgazzar / USA TODAY NETWORK / USA TODAY NETWORK

Hello Bolts From the Blue,

Tonight we have a Monday Night Football game that has big implications for the AFC playoff standings as the Jacksonville Jaguars look to climb to being the number one seed with five weeks left in the regular season. They are currently sitting at 8-3 and leading the AFC South however if they are able to beat the Cincinnati Bengals on MNF they would leapfrog both the Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens to be the owner of the number one seed in the final month of the regular season.

The Jaguars have been on an absolute tear winning seven of their last eight games with their only loss coming at the hands of the dominant San Francisco 49ers. The may lack statement wins along the way but they have shown that they belong back in the playoffs by winning in many different ways. Trevor Lawrence is happy to win in any way, he is willing to take the ball himself through the air or with his feet and he is equally happy to hand the ball off to the impressive Travis Etienne. Doug Pederson’s ability to be flexible to attack his opponents weaknesses is a sign of a good team, the question now is how will they fare against three tough defenses in a row in the Bengals, Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens.

Their opponents on MNF are the Cincinnati Bengals who are playing a lost season; sitting at 5-6 and playing without their franchise quarterback Joe Burrow, they are all but mathematically eliminated from playing meaningful games in January. Their injury luck has not been on their side but it has also exposed how much they rely on Burrow to operate outside of structure as their run game is the worst in the league by a large margin. Lou Anaroumo’s defense has been a huge disappointment this season, they are allowing the most yards per game yet they do seem to have a bend but don’t break mentality as they are middle of the pack in points allowed per game.

When weighing this up I think there is no question as to who will win this game as the Jaguars are huge 10-point favorites according to DraftKings Sportsbook and I see no reason to expect an upset. However the Jaguars have a habit of only doing enough and not stretching away from teams they could easily beat, I think they have kept their eyes on the playoffs and therefore don’t want to push themselves harder than necessary. Therefore I am taking the Bengals to cover the huge spread on offer at -110 and I have picked the under 40 points total at -108.

Injuries to Consider

Jacksonville Jaguars

Tyson Campbell, Travis Etienne, Brenton Strange and Luke Farrell are all Questionable.

Cincinnati Bengals

Cam Taylor-Britt is on IR. D’Ante Smith and Jay Tufele are both Questionable.

Here is how the BFTB staff sees this game breaking down:

What do you think, BFTB? Any of you placing bets tonight?