The Jacksonville Jaguars have to be kicking themselves for what they did in the 2011 NFL Draft. They had the 16th pick of the first round, and they traded that pick and a second rounder to move up to get QB Blaine Gabbert. Meanwhile, 25 picks later, the Cincinnati Bengals drafted the future of their franchise as well, QB Andy Dalton. The two will meet for the second time in their young careers this week at EverBank Field for a 4:05 (ET) Week 4 clash.
It shouldn’t be considered all that much of a surprise that the Jaguars are 2 ½-point underdogs on the NFL odds, knowing where both of these teams have come from with their starting quarterbacks.
Dalton did a fantastic job last year with the Bengals. He threw for 3,398 yards and 20 TDs, and he took a team that was largely considered one of the worst in the NFL the year before and made it a playoff team. Sure, Cincinnati has a lot of work to do if it really wants to contend for the Super Bowl, but this year, Dalton already has completed 68.4 percent of his passes, 10.3 percent higher than last year, and he is on a clip for 32 TDs, 12 more than last season, and 16 INTs, just three more than last year.
And then there’s Gabbert… Here’s a man that completed just 50.8 percent of his passes last year and averaged just 5.4 yards per pass attempt. The team hardly ever able to put up 20 points in a game, and the Jags were one of the worst teams in the league once again. This year, Gabbert is only on a pace to throw for 2,496 yards, and though he doesn’t have a pick yet, he also only has four touchdowns, two of which were de facto miracles at the end of games to WR Cecil Shorts.
Last year, Dalton outdueled Gabbert with a 30-20 victory, and this year, there is no reason but to expect much more of the same.