Cincinnati Bengals vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Predictions: 6 Crucial Stats, Plus Players To Watch

The Cincinnati Bengals are 9.5-point underdogs against the Jacksonville Jaguars as they try to snap a three-game losing streak.

CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Bengals will try to avoid their first four-game losing streak since 2020 when they take on the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Stadium on Monday night.

The last time the Bengals had this sort of losing streak was after quarterback Joe Burrow suffered a season-ending ACL injury as a rookie. And the team is in the same spot with Burrow again out for the year with a wrist injury, leaving Jake Browning to make his second career NFL start.

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Preview

In addition to getting his first start out of the way last week in the 16-10 loss to the Steelers, Browning will benefit from the return of wide receiver Tee Higgins after a three-game absence with a hamstring injury.

Higgins’ return should give the Bengals a jolt of energy.

The Bengals opened as 7.5-point underdogs, and the line has jumped to 9.5, partly due to the news that cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt is out with an ankle injury, leaving the Cincinnati defense thin against Jacksonville’s explosive passing game.

If the Bengals can pull the upset, they will improve to 6-6 and keep their slim playoff hopes alive. But in order to do that, they will need to snap an unfathomable streak of losing 15 consecutive road prime-time games, a drought that goes all the way back to 2013.

The Jaguars will be snapping a dry spell of their own, having not played on Monday Night Football since 2011.

Let’s take a look at some of the numbers that will dictate Monday night’s outcome.

6 Bengals-Jaguars Stats From Inside Edge

  • Jacksonville tight ends have averaged 92 targets per game this season — fifth highest in the league.
  • The Bengals have allowed 6.4 tight end receptions in 2023 — second worst in the league.

Analysis: The Bengals are coming off a game in which they allowed a season-high 12 receptions to tight ends, with Pittsburgh’s 141 yards ranking second to the 149 the George Kittle-led 49ers hit Lou Anarumo’s defense for in Week 8.

Jacksonville’s Evan Engram hasn’t exhibited Kittle’s explosion, but he’s been one of the most consistent tight ends in the league, catching between four and seven passes in seven straight games and 10 of 11.

Cincinnati’s defense will be thin again this week, with Taylor-Britt missing a second consecutive game. Pittsburgh went to Pat Freiermuth for seven of his 11 targets on early downs rather than waiting for the Bengals to employ tight end specialist Dax Hill on third down, so don’t be surprised if Jacksonville does the same.

  • Jacksonville quarterback Trevor Lawrence is averaging 7.9 yards per attempt since Week 5 — fifth best in the NFL.
  • The Bengals are allowing 8.4 yards per attempt since Week 5 — tied for second worst in the league.

Analysis: Allowing explosive plays continues to be a huge problem for the Bengals’ defense, allowing 34 receptions of at least 20 yards since Week 5. Only the Commanders have more.

MORE: Taylor Brothers Looking Forward to Battle Renewal in Bengals vs. Jaguars

The only thing keeping this season from being an abject disaster for Anarumo and his troops has been the explosives haven’t been a product of missed assignments, which often leads to long scores. The big plays the Bengals have allowed usually end in tackles down the field, and the defense has a knack for bowing up in the red zone and preventing touchdowns and/or getting turnovers.

But that’s no way to live. Plus, the Jaguars are built differently than the Steelers, Ravens, Texans, and other recent teams that have torched Cincinnati’s defense. There is elite speed throughout Jacksonville’s skill positions, so look for several deep overs and mid-range crossers where one missed tackle can result in a touchdown.

  • The Bengals have gone three-and-out on 32.% of their drives in the first half this season — second worst in the NFL.
  • The Jaguars have forced three-and-outs on 31.3% of opponent drives in the first half this year — third best in the league.

Analysis: We saw two Jake Brownings in the first half of his NFL starting debut last week — the accurate, confident Browning on early downs, going 8 of 10 for 95 yards while not getting sacked or even hit, and the less sure Browning on third down, who held on to the ball and was 1 of 2 for six yards while taking two sacks.

If a third of the Bengals’ first-half possessions end in three-and-outs Monday night, the game is going to get away from them in a hurry and could turn ugly, given the way Cincinnati’s defense has been playing.

It’s unreasonable to expect Browning to process defensive looks as fast as Burrow, which is his greatest strength. However, this is an offense built around that early recognition, so Browning is going to have to be more decisive and get the ball out quicker on third downs.

  • The Bengals have thrown the ball 62.1% of the time since Week 9 — second-highest rate in the NFL.
  • The Jaguars have allowed 8.6 yards per dropback since Week 9 — worst in the league.

Analysis: The Bengals aren’t going to have just eight handoffs again this week. That was a historically low number and the product of knowing the dam never was going to break against the Pittsburgh defense.

Yet, this is never, ever going to be a run-first offense, even with Burrow out. The Bengals coaches trust Browning’s knowledge of the scheme, and they’re counting on Tee Higgins’ return to make a big difference.

The Bengals are far more likely to have 12 carries against the Jaguars than 24 as they look to exploit a Jacksonville defense that has been more susceptible to big plays in the passing game over the last month. The Jaguars have allowed 14 pass plays of at least 20 yards in that span, tied for seventh most in the league.

  • The Jaguars are 8-3 against the spread this season — tied for second best in the NFL.
  • The Bengals are 4-7 ATS in 2023 — tied for sixth worst in the league.

Analysis: The Bengals are underdogs of 9.5 points or more for the 27th time since 2000. They are 0-26 in those games and 3-64 in franchise history. However, the Bengals are 15-11 against the spread in those 26 games as 9.5+ underdogs since 2000, and the under is 11-0-1 in the last time.

MORE: Cincinnati Bengals Depth Chart

The Jaguars are just 3-3 ATS at home, including a Week 3 loss when they were 9.5-point favorites against the Texans.

  • Since the 1970 merger, the Bengals have 32 single-season losing streaks of at least four games, tied for the fourth most in the NFL.

Analysis: A loss against the Jaguars would give the Bengals sole possession of fourth place ahead of the Cleveland Browns. Only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (40), Detroit Lions (35), and St. Louis/Arizona Cardinals (34) have more.

A loss would also mark the fifth time in Bengals history they have had at least a four-game winning streak and at least a four-game losing streak in the same season. They most recently did it in 2012, with the other instances coming in 1997, 1984, and 1970.

Bengals vs. Jaguars Predictions

  • Adam Beasley: Jaguars
  • David Bearman: Jaguars
  • Dalton Miller: Jaguars
  • Dallas Robinson: Jaguars
  • Jay Morrison: Jaguars

Be sure to check out all of PFN’s Week 13 predictions.

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