After years of mediocrity, is it finally time for the Jacksonville Jaguars to shine? Take a deep dive into the team that almost ended New England’s reign as the AFC’s top dog in last season’s AFC Championship.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Super Bowl or Bust in 2018
“We didn’t come here to compete. We came to embarrass these boys.”
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) July 5, 2018
The Jaguars upset the Pittsburgh Steelers 45 to 42 as a 7-point underdog in last year’s AFC Divisional Playoffs. The Jags then pushed the Patriots to the brink in a 20 to 24 loss in the AFC Championship Game.
This season, Jacksonville will be looking to beat the Steelers and Patriots for their first ever Super Bowl berth. Can the Jags possibly do that? Or, is a Super Bowl berth off the table for the historically woeful Jaguars?
Jacksonville Jaguars Offense
The Jags’ offense used rookie running back Leonard Fournette’s skills with aplomb last season. Fournette, a Top 5 draft pick, rushed for 1,040 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was unstoppable in more than one game in 2017.
As crazy as it sounds, Fournette could have an even better season in 2018. The reason? The Jags decided to improve their offensive line even more last season by signing left guard Andrew Norwell. Norwell is one of the best guards in the NFL. He’ll play right to the inside of another top Jacksonville rookie last year, left tackle Cam Robinson.
Norwell and Robinson won’t just open holes for Fournette. They’re also going to protect QB Blake Bortles blind side. Instead of drafting a QB or signing one of the free agent QBs, Jacksonville decided to stick with Bortles. Blake signed a 3-year, $54 million dollar contract with over $26 million guaranteed.
Was the lucrative deal a good move on the Jags’ part? Absolutely it was. Blake improved mightily towards the end of last season. In the playoffs, Bortlees’ TD to INT ratio was 3 to 0. With the rushing game that Jacksonville has, they don’t need Bortles to do much more than keep defenses on their toes and not turn the ball over.
Oh, but he could do more than that this season. Jacksonville signed both WR Donte Moncrief and TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Moncrief could be the possession receiver Bortles needs while Seferian-Jenkins is a legit TE1.
Jacksonville Jaguars Defense
The Jaguars’ defense was one of the best units last season. The Jags’ D ranked second in total yards allowed per game, 286.1. Jacksonville’s D was all about pressuring opposing QBs as DE Calais Campbell provided 14.5 sacks. On the other side, DE Yannick Ngoue provided 12 sacks. DE Malik Jackson had 8 sacks.
Not content with their defense just yet, the Jaguars spent their Round 1 pick on Florida DT Taven Bryan. Bryan adds depth to what’s already become the best D-Line in the NFL.
The secondary is set. Left cornerback Jalen Ramsey might already be the best defensive back in the league. Barry Church and Tashaun Gipson forms one of the top safety duos in the NFL.
Jacksonville Jaguars Schedule
The schedule is tougher, but how tough can it be when the Jags play in the AFC South? Pretty tough this season. Indianapolis should be better. Tennessee and Houston are legitimate playoff contenders.
Outside of their battles against the AFC South, the Jaguars must take on the AFC East. Jacksonville plays New England in Week 2. That’s their only possible loss to any AFC East team this season.
The NFC East are the Jaguars’ other opponents. They should handle the Giants, Cowboys, and Washington. Jacksonville will have a shot to beat Philadelphia because that game is at home.
Jacksonville Jaguars Prediction
At +1600 in MyBookie to win the Super Bowl, future bettors haven’t yet jumped on the Jaguars. That’s good news if you’re considering backing the Jags to win Super Bowl 53. Jacksonville has what it takes to become champions.
The defense will be even better in 2018 than it was in 2017. The rushing attack will be better as well. Those are the two ingredients teams need to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Jacksonville looks like a playoff team for sure. They’ve also got a huge shot to not only make it back to the AFC Championship, but to win it this season.