For five seasons, the Jacksonville Jaguars have disappointed fans. It seems to have been a perfect storm of failed draft classes, free agent veterans, and coaching staffs. Underachievement has been about the only consistent theme on the first coast. In 2013, the Jags will finally reverse that trend.
The new heads of state, Owner Shad Khan, GM David Caldwell, and Head Coach Gus Bradley, are certainly leading the black and teal into a new era. While they are rebuilding a once respected franchise using a combination of cutting edge analytics and old fashioned competition, the primary reason the 2013 Jaguars will exceed most expectations is their schedule.
The Jaguars play five games against the NFL’s bottom 10 overall worst defenses from 2012 (Chiefs, Bills, Raiders, and Titans x2). Three of those games are in Jacksonville. The Jaguars also play the Arizona Cardinals and Indianapolis Colts, both of which finished in the basement of the NFL in rushing defense in 2012. As the Jags have more stability on the ground than in the passing game, weak run defenses will give the Jags a distinct advantage.
Offense is also a weakness for many of the Jaguars’ opponents this season. Nine of the sixteen games on the Jags’ schedule are against teams that finished in the bottom third of the NFL in 2012. The Chiefs, Raiders, and Cardinals have relative instability at the quarterback position and therefore a lot of unknowns on the offensive side of the ball. Gus Bradley’s aggressive style of defense should make for difficult and chaotic games for unstable offenses.
The Jags do play some very good teams in 2013. They play the 49ers in London. It is a long road trip for both squads, but the 49ers must traverse an extra continent and three time zones that the Jags do not. Another two are early games against west coast opponents (Chargers and Cardinals).
I am not saying the Jaguars are a lock for double digit wins, but there are certainly many advantages in the Jaguars’ favor this year. Many projections have the team winning 3-5 games in 2013. The Jaguars will have the opportunity to win many games in 2013 and show an impressive level of competitiveness in all 16 games that will turn heads and recharge the franchise.
- Lionel Joel