Seattle Seahawks vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: Storylines, prediction for cross-conference showdown

With Trevor Lawrence going for two straight wins, let's take a deep dive on Sunday's Seattle Seahawks vs. Jacksonville Jaguars game.

The Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5) haven’t felt this good about themselves since the day they drafted Trevor Lawrence. A win (albeit against the Dolphins), a bye, and a relatively quiet stretch for Urban Meyer have turned down the heat on a franchise that for a long while had done little right. Can they keep the good times going against a Seattle Seahawks (2-5) team that hasn’t won since Russell Wilson snapped a tendon in a finger in his throwing hand? Marking just the ninth time ever these organizations have met, what is the prediction for Sunday’s Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Seattle Seahawks game?

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Seattle Seahawks storylines

The Seahawks have won five of their eight meetings against the Jaguars, including all three games played in Seattle. This game on paper is a dud — a truth not lost on CBS, which is carrying it only in North Florida and the Pacific Northwest — but there are some sneaky fun subplots to follow.

Can Geno Smith save the Seahawks’ season?

For all that’s gone wrong in Seattle, the Seahawks still have much to play for. Yes, hopes of a division title are gone. Even with a win, Seattle would still be four full games back of the Cardinals. Furthermore, the NFC’s top five teams are in a different class.

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But the conference’s sixth and seventh seeds are still up for grabs, and the Seahawks are only two games back of the final playoff spot in the loss column. FiveThirtyEight gives the ‘Hawks a 1 in 6 chance of making the postseason.

But that stat is meaningless if Wilson doesn’t return soon from injury. Pete Carroll wouldn’t speculate this week on when Wilson would play again — Wilson still needs to have the pin removed from his surgically repaired finger — but said that his quarterback is “way ahead of schedule.” Geno Smith has started in his place, and while his top-line stats are fine (63.4% completions, 7.1 yards per attempt, 92.9 passer rating), his 32.2 QBR is more reflective of his level of play.

Can Trevor Lawrence overcome Jaguars’ limitations?

The 2021 NFL Draft’s No. 1 pick has had an uneven introduction to professional football. The advanced stats have been unimpressive. He has the league’s fourth-lowest EPA+CPOE composite (0.02), ahead of only fellow rookies Davis Mills, Justin Fields, and Zach Wilson. His passer rating (75.5) and QBR (38.2) are both dreadful.

But he seems to be headed in the right direction. His last three games have been better than his first three, largely because he has stopped turning the ball over. Still, how fair is it to evaluate a player whose top available targets are Marvin Jones, Laviska Shenault, and Jamal Agnew? Trent Baalke’s top objective this coming offseason is to get Lawrence more help.

Does Pete Carroll still have it?

Given his youthful appearance and boundless energy, it’s hard to believe that Pete Carroll is 70. That makes him the oldest coach in the NFL. Most people at that age are making tee times and doting on their grandchildren.

Yet, last year, Carroll signed an extension through the 2025 season, suggesting he’s not ready to hang it up. But should he? His offense has regressed in each of the past two seasons, and he has one playoff win since 2017. A loss to the Jaguars, even with Smith at quarterback, would provide high-octane fuel to his critics.

Jaguars vs. Seahawks betting line and game prediction

The Seahawks’ record stinks, but they probably are a bit undervalued. They’ve lost their last two games to playoff contenders by a total of six points, and even at 2-5, their DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) is 10th.

The Jaguars, meanwhile, are every bit as bad as their record, and their only win was a result of terrible Dolphins coaching. We’re taking Seattle and laying the 3.5.

Jaguars vs. Seahawks prediction: Seahawks 27, Jaguars 17

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