NFL: Raiders vs Jaguars - Hall of Fame Game Predictions

A weekend celebrating NFL history and the greats of the game, with an early look at the re-loaded Raiders and future superstar Trevor Lawrence, now with offensive dangermen at his disposal.

Raiders vs Jaguars Recommended Bets:

Hall of Fame Game: Are you ready for some football?

After six long months, NFL football is back! On Thursday, August 4, at 8 pm Eastern Time (coverage starts at 7 pm on NBC and Peacock), the Raiders vs Jaguars bring competitive football back to our lives with the Hall of Fame Game!

The Las Vegas Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars square off in the NFL’s annual curtain-raiser, the Hall of Fame Game. As is tradition, the contest will take place in Canton, Ohio (home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame) and kick off a weekend of games culminating in the Saturday afternoon induction of the latest group of greats into the Hall.  This year includes the 1970s-80s Raiders star receiver Cliff Branch and the first-ever Jags inductee, former offensive tackle Tony Boselli.

The Raiders are participating in their fourth Hall of Fame (first since 2006), while the Jags are making their second-ever appearance in the preseason showcase and the first since their inaugural 1995 season. While the game likely won’t be packed with the intensity we expect from midseason NFL football; this showcase will deliver a first glimpse (for a bit, at least) at the teams’ new draftees and free agent signees.

Team

Point spread

Total

Moneyline

Las Vegas Raiders

-2.5 (-110)

O30.5 (-110)

-145

Jacksonville Jaguars

+2.5 (-110)

U30.5 (-110)

+125

Odds from Caesars - August 2, 2022.

Raiders are looking to launch an aerial attack in 2022

It’s tough to think of many teams that have endured as much upheaval and tragedy as the 2021 Raiders, never mind any that did so with relative success.

In case you’ve somehow forgotten, October saw Jon Gruden resign as head coach after disturbing emails were discovered from years past. Less than a month later, wide receiver Henry Ruggs III killed a young woman in a drunken hit-and-run accident that cost him his NFL career. Days later, 2020 first-round pick Damon Arnette was let go after a video of him brandishing a gun and making threats went viral.

In the face of all that, under interim head coach Richie Bisaccia and led on-field by quarterback Derek Carr and defensive end Maxx Crosby, the Raiders displayed incredible resilience. They won their last four regular-season games, held the eventual AFC champion Bengals to two touchdowns on six red zone trips, and nearly pulled off a fourth-quarter comeback on the road in the Wild Card round.

The Raiders have since extended the contracts of Carr and Crosby. Still, they have otherwise undergone more changes, hiring Josh McDaniels as head coach and pulling off a blockbuster deal for superstar receiver (and Carr’s college teammate), Davante Adams. The duo, tight end Darren Waller and receiver Hunter Renfrow are the foundation of a potentially lethal passing attack.

We’ll likely see Carr, Adams, and Renfrow for a couple of drives on Thursday, though excitement around this group is probably better saved for September. That said, there’s a fascinating situation to watch at running back, where incumbent starter Josh Jacobs, Ameer Abdullah, Austin Walter, and fourth-round draft pick Zamir White (who’s earned praise in training camp) could make up a deep and versatile group.

The Adams deal cost the team its prime 2022 draft capital, so additional reinforcements had to come via free agency – namely, in the form of future Hall of Fame pass rusher Chandler Jones – and the trade market – edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue was sent to the Colts, in exchange for fourth-year cornerback Rock Ya-Sin.

Thanks to long-term injuries (pass rusher Kyler Fackrell, tackles Bilal Nichols and Johnathan Hankins, cornerback Trayvon Mullen) and shorter-term ones (Jones, fellow pass rusher Clelin Ferrell, several cornerbacks, including Sin), plus a limited workload for Crosby, the Raiders will look thin on the D-line and in the secondary on Thursday.

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Trevor Lawrence is ready to leave His nightmare rookie season behind

Despite all that went on last season in Vegas with Gruden, from a coaching perspective, the Jaguars may still have had a worse campaign in 2021. Legendary college coach Urban Meyer, who signed a massive contract last offseason, was an embarrassment off the field and created a hostile environment within the facility, all while showing no aptitude for preparing a team to compete at the NFL level.

With Meyer gone, second-year QB (and 2021 #1 overall pick) Trevor Lawrence is free to really begin his NFL career under noted quarterbacks coach Doug Pederson. As a rookie, Lawrence had to deal not only with Meyer’s myriad failings but also received little support from the skill players around him. Running back James Robinson and receivers Marvin Jones and Laviska Shenault Jr. are solid pros, but they’re not the foundation of a top-tier offense.

This year, all three are back, along with 2021 first-round pick, running back Travis Etienne (who lost his entire rookie season to injury), and a massive free agent class of receivers Christian Kirk and ex-Raider Zay Jones, tight end Evan Engram, and Pro Bowl offensive guard Brandon Scherff. Lawrence should be far better equipped to succeed in 2022.

On the other side of the ball, 2022’s #1 overall pick, raw but massively talented University of Georgia defensive end Travon Walker, and fellow first-rounder, Utah linebacker Devin Lloyd, will be the most exciting newcomers to watch.

Conclusion

Given the number of new faces on offense and the need to get Lawrence familiar with Pederson’s system and get him quality reps against live competition, we should see a good bit of the Jags’ first-string offense. The potential of those new faces (and the holdovers), to say nothing of Lawrence’s awesome upside against a severely shorthanded Raiders defense, should provide opportunities to put up points.

Meanwhile, the upgraded Raiders’ passing attack will be eager to provide some flashes of its upside against a defense that ranked in the NFL’s bottom tier a year ago and is working in many new faces. 

Given all that, the likeliest outcome on Thursday night is a victory for the Jags (at +125) over the narrowly-favored Raiders. 

When factoring in that the average number of points scored in the last 10 Hall Of Games is 29.3, backing the under 30.5 line at -110 
looks like a lock.

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