Week 1 of the 2014 NFL season is finally here, which means it’s time for me to get back to making rock-solid predictions for each game. The Jacksonville Jaguars are heading to Philadelphia to square off against the Eagles, and almost no one is giving the Jaguars a chance. The Jaguars are the only double-digit underdog of the opening weekend, which is kind of insulting if you think about it. Anyway, that doesn’t really mean anything because this is a new season and the Jaguars look vastly improved from 2013. Unfortunately, us fans are going to have to suffer through a few more games with Chad Henne before we reach salvation (also known as Blake Bortles). On to the predictions!
Chad Henne will play the entire game: FACT
This is a prediction I begrudgingly made, because I can’t see head coach Gus Bradley benching Henne mid-game unless Chad is a complete and utter disaster. The Eagles don’t exactly have a stout defense, and Henne should be able to have some success against them. The offense looked competent in the preseason with Henne at the helm and, assuming Cecil Shorts plays, he should have all of his weapons at his disposal. He’s not going to light the world on fire, but Henne should be able to hold off Bortles for 1 week at least.
Toby Gerhart will rush for over 100 yards: FICTION
This isn’t a knock on Toby Gerhart, I just think he’s not going to get enough carries to break the 100 yard mark. With Denard Robinson firmly entrenched as the number 2 running back, it wouldn’t be shocking to see the two backs splitting carries. Additionally, there’s a good chance the Jaguars will be playing from behind early thanks to Chip Kelly’s potent offense. Gerhart should still have an efficient game, just not a huge one.
Nick Foles will throw for over 300 yards: FICTION
The Jaguars gave up about 250 yards passing per game last year, and that was with a lot of teams exclusively running the ball the second half of games because they were comfortably ahead. The Jaguars should be significantly better on defense thanks to an improved defensive line and the development of a young and ascending secondary. Nick Foles should also come down to earth a little bit after a historically good season.
It’s a lot to expect the Jaguars to come in and win this game, especially with the milquetoast Chad Henne checking down on 3rd and longs. The defense will keep it from getting out of hand, but the Jaguars won’t be able to keep up on offense. Hopefully that will change soon.
PREDICTION: Eagles 27 – Jaguars 20