Good news out of Jacksonville is so infrequent that we might as well get right to it.
It appears that quarterback Blaine Gabbert will be able to go when the Jaguars take on the Green Bay Packers Sunday. The torn labrum that Gabbert suffered against Oakland last weekend is on his non-throwing shoulder and everyone is hopeful that he’ll be upright and taking snaps in Week 8.
The official word on Gabbert is supposed to come sometime Wednesday, which delayed the spread for Sunday’s game at Lambeau Field. The spread finally hit sportsbooks Wednesday, with Jacksonville set as a 15.5-point underdog - the largest spread of the 2012 NFL season. Action on the Packers pushed the spread to -16 Wednesday night.
The Jaguars will be operating without RB Maurice Jones-Drew, who is Jacksonville’s
only real offensive threat and somehow has managed to average 4.8 yards a
carry this season despite defenses designed to stop him.
"With the Jacksonville injuries and the Packers about to turn the corner, there is no reason to be floating low numbers around,” Las Vegas oddsmaker Peter Korner, founder of The Sports Club, said in his recommendation to books. “Be high on the cards and be high on the boards. Don't be rooting for the Jags come kickoff."
Three spreads this season (Arizona-New England, Miami-Houston and Tennessee-Houston) have kicked off at -13 and this one at Lambeau certainly produced a bigger gap.
Green Bay seems to have shaken off that Seattle screwing and the surprising hiccup at Indianapolis. It appears poised to make up some ground in the NFC North as Chicago and Minnesota face tough schedules over the next month.
After three straight road games, the Packers basically play a home-centric schedule over the next month and a half and will have five division games in the last seven weeks of the season.
Green Bay will have to scramble a bit defensively with safety Charles Woodson out six weeks (broken collarbone), but in Wisconsin it’s not about defense.
Over the past two weeks, the Packers have road wins over the only top-level teams in the AFC (42-24 over Houston) and a decent NFC team (30-20 over St. Louis). They’re not going to let Jacksonville knock the train off the tracks.