The Jaguars have had a disappointing last decade to say the least. The team hasn't finished at .500 or above since 2010 and even then they were just 8-8. The last playoff appearance for the franchise was 2007.
So can the Jaguars actually end their playoff drought in 2017?
Why they might:
The Jaguars have talent at every skill position and at every position on defense. With Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, Marqise Lee, Dede Westbrook, and Rashad Greene at receiver the Jaguars could be the most talented team at the WR position in all of football. The team has a stacked defensive line with Pro Bowl caliber players like Malik Jackson and Calais Campbell and several up and comers including Yannick Ngakoue and Abry Jones. At LB the Jaguars have three solid starters in Paul Posluszny, Myles Jack, and Telvin Smith. The secondary features Jalen Ramsey, AJ Bouye, Barry Church, Tashaun Gipson, and Aaron Colvin.
With a new coaching staff that emphasizes winning instead of shying away from it, this Jaguars team could prove tougher throughout the course of games. They should be able to run the ball with Leonard Fournette, Chris Ivory, and TJ Yeldon, and, at times, control the clock.
Why they might not:
The one position the team has the least talent at - You guessed it! QB. Of course that's the one position that can almost single handedly change the game . . . just ask the Atlanta Falcons. If Blake Bortles struggles, so too will the team.
Then there's the offensive line. Only one current starter, Brandon Linder, inspires any real confidence heading into the season. Sure, at left tackle Cam Robinson seems like a promising you prospect, but he's never played a down in the NFL. At LG the Jaguars have Patrick Omameh, who played decent for the team in 2016, but throughout his career hasn't been able to really take control of a starting job. At right guard the Jaguars have AJ Cann, who enters his third season coming off of a major sophomore slump. He lines up next to right tackle Jermey Parnell, who the Jaguars claim was injured for a portion of last season. For this team's sake let's hope the Jaguars are right, because his tape was pretty terrible until the last couple of games in 2016.
What Odds-Makers is saying:
Odds experts put the Jaguars win total at 6. Let's take a look at whether we would take the over or the under for the Jaguars in 2017.
The Jaguars have, in my estimation, at least five games that they could or should be favored in outside of their own division.
They'll probably be favored over the Jets, Browns, and 49ers no matter what. Each of those teams look destined for a top five pick in 2018. The Jaguars will also likely be favored against the Los Angeles Rams, who finished 4-12 last season. The Rams have to travel cross country to Jacksonville to take on the Jags, which is never easy. They could also be favored against Baltimore in London. The Jaguars have won at Wembley the last two seasons and the Ravens have a sketchy situation at QB with Joe Flacco's injury.
That's five games the Jaguars should or could be favored in. If they win four of those they'll be in great position for the rest of the season. But will they? Recent history would suggest the Jaguars might be able to win three of those games, even though they have more talent than each of those teams.
Then there are the rest of the division games. The Jaguars will be competitive within their division in 2017, as they usually are - let's be optimistic here and say they split with the Colts, Titans, and Texans going 3-3 in the division.
That gives the Jaguars 6 wins between the division and teams they should or could be favored to beat. Then the tough part of the schedule comes into play. The Jags play at Pittsburgh and at Arizona - Go ahead and chalk those up in the loss column.
At home the Jaguars will face Seattle, Los Angeles (Chargers), and Cincinnati. They likely won't be favored in any of those contests. Let's say they win one or two out of those four.
That puts them at 7-9 or 8-8, certainly a marked improvement from a year ago. But that will likely leave them out of the playoffs for an 11th straight season.
7-9: The Jaguars have the talent everywhere, save QB and OL, to compete with anyone, but this is a team that doesn't yet know how to win games. Will the blend of young stars and veteran additions over the last two seasons blossom into something special? At this point it's hard to tell. I would take the over on the 6 wins that Vegas is giving the Jaguars, but I wouldn't put them in the playoff picture just yet.