Unfortunately, style points count.
The best way to describe the game between the Denver Broncos and the Jacksonville Jaguars is it has the atmosphere of a college football mismatch.
This might be best explained by Vince Dooley when he coached at Georgia or Steve Spurrier when he talked about Florida or now South Carolina.
Every game is a “big” game and every game can be won or lost to a team with a less than stellar roster.
So, in the words of my father’s beloved Spurrier and the idea that on any given Sunday one NFL team can be defeated by another NFL team, Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley had better, “coach em up,” because this week, style points count.
The four touchdown line in Las Vegas for the game forced this article and my feeling about how this game is going to be played. There are many reasons why I think the Broncos will cover the spread, mainly because Seattle and Indianapolis showed up to play football, sneezed and had 28 and 34-point wins, respectively.
Denver’s offense is better than each of those teams and while there is a glimmer of hope John Fox would have mercy on the souls of this franchise, defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio may be whispering in his ear, “feed them more.”
Del Rio was fired at the end 11-game mark of the 2011 season in a tumultuous season that ultimately got worse in 2012 and is the reason why Gus Bradley is on the sidelines today in teal and black.
If you think 28 points is enough for fans to be happy with a Broncos win on Sunday, guess again. The course of action this week with such a wide point spread has led to coverage of this game that resembled the 1976 matchup between any NFL team and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Denver cannot play a conservative game, put 40 points on the board and win 40-10.
There must be blood, there must be drama and there must be fodder for discussion after the fact. If the Broncos do not score at least 51 points and win by 40 points, the backlash will be on the Broncos - not the Jaguars.
Columnists like Woody Page (who is no stranger to controversy in Jacksonville) will have a field day. ESPN will devote “Tim Tebow” like time to the event as if it was the second coming of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Denver wins and is criticized for it all at once.
The NFL, the fans and the oddsmakers really want to see if Denver can put up 70 points on Sunday. They also do not give Jacksonville any chance of winning this weekend. Both appear to be possible. This is one of those NFL games that appears to be a train wreck you don’t want to watch but look at it twice to make sure you saw what you saw.
And in reality, what would happen if Denver wins but only covers the spread? No harm, no foul, right? Nope, a betting line dictates this must be a bitter battle where the loser suffers more than it needs to, which is something neither team asked for in the first place.
The media and the fans did. And if it does not happen, it’s the media and the fans' fault for wanting too much. No one really wins in this situation but the oddsmakers.