After years of bumbling play, Jacksonville got everything together. The Jaguars went from 3-13 to 10-6 and won the AFC South and reached the AFC championship game. Can they take the next step?
After years of being an NFL laughingstock, which included covering up thousands of unwanted seats and even putting in a swimming pool into the stadium so a few fans could actually be entertained, the Jaguars had a winning product on the field. Credit Tom Coughlin and head coach Doug Marrone for providing the vision and discipline for such a vast improvement. It’s not like Jacksonville lacked talent, as they were annually acquiring high draft picks and found the right people to put the program on the right path.
This type of seven-game improvement normally means regression, but 30 percent of the time this just a forerunner of a team on the rise. 5Dimes NFL odds still like Jacksonville to repeat as division champions and be a real factor in the AFC.
Odds to Win AFC South – +190 – 1st
Odds to Win the AFC – +900 – 3rd
However, there projected win total is one game lower than what they accomplished in the regular season last year. This begs the question, are the Jaguars really on the come or are they just the best team in the AFC outside of New England and Pittsburgh?
2018 – Ov9
2017 – Ov6.5 (10-6 record)
2016 – Ov7.5 (3-13 record)
2015 – Ov.5.5 (5-11 record)
To the oddsmakers credit, they understand Jacksonville is going from a last place to a first place division schedule. This is the old – hunter to the hunted routine – still, the Jags were literally one play away from the Super Bowl. How should we view Marrone’s young club?
Jaguars Offense – While more than one Jags fan bristled at the idea Blake Bortles got a 3-year 54-million dollar contract, with images of five interceptions games rolling their heads, for now, it was the right move. Bortles is not a top-tier quarterback, but neither was Nick Foles and at least a half dozen other signal callers that won gaudy rings.