The Jaguars lost a football game as double-digit favorites on Monday night while also potentially losing their quarterback Trevor Lawrence to an ankle injury. You might think those two statements are directly correlated, but the Jaguars looked well on their way to losing that game before the Lawrence injury thanks to a defense that surrendered 491 yards at home to a Bengals offense missing Joe Burrow. That's right, Jake Browning completed 32 of 37 passes for 354 yards, and that might be far more concerning for the Jaguars than the injury to Lawrence, whose status for Sunday is now up in the air.
I have the drop from Lawrence to C.J. Beathard at six points, so it stands to reason that a game for which the Jaguars were favored by three points in Cleveland on Monday afternoon should flip to the Browns being favored by three if Lawrence is ruled out. As of now, the line has moved to just Browns -1.5, which is a bit of a hedge by the market in case testing on Lawrence Tuesday reveals that the injury isn't as bad as it looked on Monday night. But even if Lawrence is able to play at a level that's near 100%, he'll have to contend both with a Browns defense that is elite at home and mediocre on the road, plus potentially extreme wind conditions in Cleveland that are projected to affect multiple games this week.
I adjusted the Jaguars down 6.5 points in my power ratings with the expectation that Lawrence will miss the game, though some of that is also a defensive adjustment after the embarrassing effort by Jacksonville on Monday. That puts them at 3.5 points below average with Beathard at quarterback. If Lawrence gets in limited practice this week and ultimately plays, I'll bump them up to average for this week and then raise them the following week if he gets through Sunday unscathed.
If you need a refresher on how to build spread power ratings, why they're important for beating the market and how successful I've been with this system at SportsLine, check out the Week 1 version of these power ratings. You can also check out SportsLine on Sunday afternoons as I give my initial power ratings adjustments for each team to get ahead of the market openers before diving in fully for this Tuesday feature. Otherwise, we'll jump right in.
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