Final score predictions for Jaguars vs. Bengals

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It’s a primetime affair for the Cincinnati Bengals during tonight’s “Thursday Night Football” showcase against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Paul Brown Stadium.

The national spotlight points the beam at the battle of No. 1s between Joe Burrow and Trevor Lawrence. And that’s a fun angle, especially considering Urban Meyer called Burrow for help with Lawrence.

But really? It’s all about the Bengals on Thursday night. The team is rolling at 2-1 after a 24-10 dismantling of a Pittsburgh Steelers team on the road that usually bullies the smaller-market team. Burrow looks back to his old self, Ja’Marr Chase already passed Randy Moss for an NFL record and won a monthly award and the front seven looks elite in its ability to create pressure.

Which isn’t to suggest the Bengals don’t have concerns. Both wideout Tee Higgins and star safety Jessie Bates won’t be able to play due to injury. Starting corner Chidobe Awuzie is doubtful, though Trae Waynes should finally make his debut with the team.

But really? This is the game to miss if Bates has to miss one. The Jaguars are 0-3 and haven’t been within seven points of the opposition and notably got blown out by a bad Houston team.

Lawrence very much looks the part of a rookie too, having thrown five touchdowns against seven interceptions. A poor offensive line and play-calling haven’t helped. Just last week, a flea-flicker Lawrence lazily lofted up got pick-sixed. James Robinson is a threat on the ground (5.2 yards per carry) and the defense has some really good pass-rushers (like Josh Allen), but the Bengals are the biggest favorites they’ve been since 2017 for a reason.

These two met one year ago and Joe Mixon popped off for two rushing scores and one as a receiver. It isn’t unreasonable to expect another big game for him, especially as defenses start to roll even more help to Chase’s side of the field.

On a short week, Burrow and Co. should cruise offensively. An early score in front of a wild home crowd should have the Jaguars reeling and Lawrence making plenty of mistakes against a nasty Bengals front seven.

Prediction: Bengals 28, Jaguars 14

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