The Falcons and the Jaguars are putting the finishing touches to their NFL season warm-ups, and Atlanta will be hoping to break an unenviable pre-season streak on Friday.
All Evens on Head to Head
This is one of the newer rivalries in the NHL, and these two teams have only met on six occasions, all of those games coming in the regular season. They’ve won three apiece, with Atlanta winning the last two, but the latest of those came in 2015 so won’t offer too many clues here.
The replacement of Blake Bortles with Nick Foles was the biggest of several major changes from the Jaguars in the off-season and having finished bottom of the NFC South last time round, they are likely to do much better this time. Jacksonville have had a poor pre-season results-wise, suffering defeats against Baltimore and Philadelphia and they were defeated again by Miami last time out.
But that game featured plenty of positives, including a satisfactory run-out for Foles and an excellent performance from first round pick Josh Allen who could turn out to be one of the rookie stars of the season. With a relatively easy schedule this time round, the Jaguars will be confident of improving on their pre-season form, although a win against Atlanta would be welcome.
Atlanta Pre Season Woes Continue
Pre-season records don’t count for much, but it is a source of minor frustration for Atlanta fans that they haven’t enjoyed a winning pre-season schedule since 2016. In fact, their team hasn’t won a pre-season game since beating the Jaguars in that year, a run that now extends to twelve games. They were beaten 19-7 at home by Washington last time and while they are expected to fare better under new offensive co-ordinator Dirk Koetter, they have a tough schedule to cope with this season, so a win in their final pre-season outing would be extremely welcome.
Ryan Absence Tips the Odds
Matt Ryan will be the key to the Falcons’ season so his absence from this game has had a significant impact on the odds for this game. The Jaguars are rated as 13/25 favourites to extend the Falcons’ poor run, with home advantage, while Atlanta can be backed as 17/10 outsiders.