NFL upset of the week: The stealth Jaguars axe the 49ers
It's a matter of semantics.
Was the tie in Pittsburgh an upset? I'm sure if you asked Steelers' fans how they felt about not being able to beat Detroit, they'd probably say "yes."
Either way, we're up 7.9 units this season in our weekly underdog spotlight, and that will have to keep us happy for one more week.
If you thought backing a Lions squad looking for its first win last Sunday was a fool's errand, I'm sure you'll be thrilled to see the Jaguars getting our support this time as they host the 49ers. On the plus side, we're 1-0 this campaign when putting our faith in Jacksonville.
The Market Read and The Spot
The market's certainly not ruling this out. The line for this game refused to spend any time at the key number of SF -7, being bet down to SF -6.
The initial instinct after San Francisco's dominant Monday night victory is to assume the club has returned to form. Sharper bettors realize that the only thing it means is the 49ers have a potential letdown situation coming, along with a cross-country trip to Jacksonville for a matchup that doesn't have the same cache as a home primetime game within the division.
The Jaguars offense versus the 49ers defense
The Jaguars upset the Bills and nearly beat the Colts in Indianapolis last Sunday, but it's not because the offense has been on fire. Jacksonville's 3.8 yards per play against Buffalo indicated a fluky win, but 5.3 yards per play - including 179 rushing yards in Indy - was much more impressive. The difference between the two meetings? James Robinson missed the game against the Bills but returned against the Colts.
Robinson only had 12 carries, but he gained 57 yards and added 27 more yards on four catches. The game script didn't allow for Robinson's full effect with the Jags going down 17-0 early.
Many of those invested in Robinson's success sarcastically joke about it taking three contests for Urban Meyer to realize he was on the team. Jacksonville was 0-3 against the spread.
With Robinson in a prominent role, here's the Jaguars' yards-per-play average since that discovery.
League average: 5.5 yards per play
Robinson left the game against the Seahawks after just four carries and no catches, and Jacksonville got smoked, leaving the team unable to cover the spread. The Jaguars went 3-1 ATS in the other four matchups, with the one non-cover coming against the Titans in their best offensive output.
San Francisco upset the Rams on Monday, but we explained how that was a favorable matchup for the 49ers, as their 21st-ranked run defense doesn't get exposed when facing Los Angeles. San Fran has allowed the fifth-highest percentage of first downs via the run, so Jacksonville should be able to take the ball out of Trevor Lawrence's hands in high-leverage situations.
The Jaguars defense versus the 49ers offense
The Jags' win over Buffalo was fluky at best on the offensive side - they scored just three field goals - but the victory was fully deserved on the defensive side, as the unit kept the Bills out of the end zone.
After the rare triumph and an early blocked punt touchdown for Indianapolis, it would have been easy for Jacksonville to letdown after an early 17-0 deficit. But the Jags held strong, allowing 4.8 yards per play and nearly shutting out the Colts after keeping Buffalo's explosive offense to just 4.6 yards per play.
Even in Jacksonville's 31-7 loss to Seattle, the defense allowed just 4.4 yards per play. So whether it's a case of getting healthier or having a better plan after the post-London bye week, the defensive unit has held up against a variety of offensive styles. With the Niners providing a new challenge, the Jaguars will need the same focus and quality game plan they've had for the last few weeks.
At much better than 2-to-1 on our money, we'll see if a team lined at 6.5 wins before the season can continue to round into form and get a third victory against a side casual bettors were selling on just a few days ago.
Pick: Jaguars ML +240
Matt Russell is a betting writer for theScore. If there’s a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on Twitter @mrussauthentic.