David and Goliath mismatch creating macabre interest

Wed Oct 9, 2013 5:34pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

(Reuters) - It is the biggest mismatch in National Football League (NFL) history but, like an approaching train wreck, fans are awaiting Sunday's clash between the Denver Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars with macabre fascination.

The Broncos (5-0), who boast an up-tempo offense led by four-time league MVP Peyton Manning, opened the week as a record 28-point favorite over the Jaguars (0-5). And with good reason.

Denver scored 51 points in last Sunday's road win over the Dallas Cowboys (2-3), or equal to the total points the Jaguars have scored all season.

Manning, in the midst of record-smashing campaign, has tossed a league-high 20 touchdowns, seven more than his closest pursuer, while Jacksonville quarterbacks Chad Henne and Blaine Gabbert have combined for just three.

In Week One alone Manning threw a record-tying seven touchdown passes against the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. Jacksonville did not find the end zone until the closing minutes of their second game this season.

Few, if anyone, are giving the woeful Jaguars a chance of coming out on top in this David and Goliath matchup with what would likely rank as one of the greatest NFL upsets ever.

But there is still huge interest and a lot of money riding on whether Jacksonville can cover the colossal spread.

"The traditional side of me says there is a lot of value in those points and want to take them but the eyeball test you have to go with Denver," Jay Rood, vice-president of race and sports for MGM Resorts International told Reuters. "I would probably lean toward laying it with Denver."   Continued...