Jaguars head to Seattle as huge underdogs vs. Seahawks
This could be the NFL's version of Florida A&M at Ohio State or Florida International at Louisville.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have been installed as 19 1/2-point underdogs for their game Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks. While a matchup at the pro level is seldom given that large of a spread, the factors which go into that are inescapable.
The Jaguars have scored just one touchdown during their 0-2 start and are on the road. Meanwhile, the Seahawks are 2-0 after their defense held the defending NFC champion San Francisco 49ers to a field goal and their fans set a sound record for an outdoor stadium by making noise to the level of 136.6 decibels.
Add in the fact that the Jaguars were thrashed 41-0 by the Seahawks in 2009 during their last visit to the Pacific Northwest, and all signs would appear to point to a total mismatch.
But it's not as if the most downtrodden of teams are taking their lumps in exchange for taking a guaranteed payout. So perhaps it shouldn't come as a surprise to see that recent prohibitive underdogs have generally come away still in one piece, although none of them duplicated what the New York Jets pulled off back in Super Bowl III. You have to go back to when the Washington Redskins stunned the Dallas Cowboys in 1995 for the last victory by someone with odds as long as the ones the Jaguars are up against.
Here is the post-2000 history the Jaguars are facing this weekend:
Nov. 25, 2007
Line: Patriots by 24
Final score: Patriots 31, Eagles 28
What happened: Less than 34 months after the two teams had met in Jacksonville for the Super Bowl, the Patriots were made the largest favorite since the Pittsburgh Steelers faced the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1976. But A.J. Feeley, replacing the injured Donovan McNabb, outplayed Tom Brady for most of the game. The Patriots finally prevailed with the help of a go-ahead 69-yard scoring drive in the fourth quarter and interceptions of Feeley down the stretch by Asante Samuel and James Sanders.
Dec. 23, 2007
Line: Patriots by 22
Final score: Patriots 28, Dolphins 7
What happened: If the Jaguars think they have it bad, the Dolphins were 0-13 until beating Baltimore in overtime the week before. There was no carryover from that win, or from the hiring days earlier of Bill Parcells as their executive vice president of football operations. The Patriots raced to a 28-0 halftime lead and coasted from there in improving their record to 15-0. Cam Cameron's team got its only touchdown on a 21-yard pass late in the third quarter from Cleo Lemon to Greg Camarillo.
Dec. 16, 2007
Line: Patriots by 20½
Final score: Patriots 20, Jets 10
What happened: This was the game where Bill Belichick was supposed to extract a pound of flesh from former Patriots assistant coach Eric Mangini in the wake of the Week 1 incident which became known as Spygate. But the Jets fought gamely, even after starting quarterback Kellen Clemens was body-slammed by Richard Seymour on an interception the Patriots returned for a touchdown in the early going. In the biggest surprise of all, Belichick shook hands with Mangini and smiled after the game ended.
Dec. 4, 2011
Line: Patriots by 20½
Final score: Patriots 31, Colts 24
What happened: With Peyton Manning recovering from surgery on his neck, NBC wanted no part of showing an 0-11 Colts team on a Sunday night. And through three quarters, the Patriots dominated, but their 31-3 lead almost slipped away as the Colts used a 5-yard run by Donald Brown and two TD passes from Dan Orlovsky to Pierre Garcon to make matters interesting. Not until Deion Branch recovered an onside kick in the final minute were the Patriots free and clear.
Nov. 11, 2001
Line: Rams by 19½
Final score: Rams 48, Panthers 14
What happened: Sometimes you are what the betting line says you are. The Rams held a 31-0 advantage in the second quarter and finished with 337 yards on the ground, which makes how the Jaguars were chewed up and spat out at Oakland seem tame by comparison. Marshall Faulk had 183 yards and two scores in one half of work, with Trung Canidate rushing for 145 yards in relief of him. It was the eighth loss in a row for the Panthers, who somehow made it to the Super Bowl the following season.
Sept. 29, 2002
Line: Eagles by 19
Final score: Eagles 35, Texans 17
What happened: This was the fourth game of the Texans' expansion season, and it came against a team that probably shouldn't have resorted to trick plays to win. That didn't stop the Eagles from using a 57-yard pass from return specialist Brian Mitchell to All-Pro safety Brian Dawkins that put them up 28-7 early in the third quarter. Two scoring passes from David Carr to Corey Bradford enabled the Texans to beat the spread, if just barely.
Dec. 3, 2007
Line: Patriots by 19
Final score: Patriots 27, Ravens 24
What happened: Of all the scares the Patriots got on their way to the only 16-0 regular season in NFL history, this was the biggest. The Ravens, reduced to little more than playing for pride, were upset about a series of calls which went in favor of the Patriots on what turned out to be the game-winning drive. The lasting image of the game was that of Ravens defensive end Terrell Suggs getting back-to-back unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, the second of which was a result of him flinging an official’s yellow flag into the stands.
Oct. 15, 2000
Line: Rams by 17½
Final score: Rams 45, Falcons 29
What happened: A game which began with each team returning a kickoff for a touchdown turned out to be more than the Rams bargained for. The Falcons got to within eight points of the lead on a touchdown pass from Chris Chandler to Tim Dwight and Jamal Anderson’s two-point conversion run, but the Rams responded with a score of their own. An injury to kicker Jeff Wilkins to begin the game forced the Rams to go for 2 on five occasions. They converted four of them.
Nov. 13, 2005
Line: Colts by 17½
Final score: Colts 31, Texans 17
What happened: At 8-0 and coming off an emotional Monday night win at New England, the Colts could have been ripe for a letdown. But the Texans entered the game with just one victory and then placed their top running back and three offensive linemen on the inactive list. A touchdown catch by Marvin Harrison broke things open after the Texans had made it a 21-14 game on the opening possession of the second half.
You can follow Ken Hornack on Twitter @HornackFSFla or email him at email@example.com.