We know most of our fine readers here at Black and Teal wouldn’t dare gamble on the NFL, but it’s always fun to take a look at some of the odds Vegas sets each season. The Jacksonville Jaguars haven’t exactly done much on the field to inspire confidence in odds-makers, and clearly that lack of confidence is continuing for at least one more year. After finishing with 4 wins in 2013, the Las Vegas Hilton’s latest futures odds have the Jaguars over/under at 4.5 wins for 2014.
While most Jaguars fans believe the team should easily be able to manage 5 wins given all the improvements made to the roster, the team still has to prove itself for Vegas and the rest of the nation to change it’s perception of the franchise. Neil Greenberg thinks the Jaguars will make the over on the win total thanks to one important phenomenon – the third-down rebound effect.
Last season, the Jags were the worst at converting on third down, getting to the sticks just 22.7 percent of the time in a league where the average was 38.6 percent. However, each of the worst teams at third-down conversions over the last five seasons saw major strides in the following season.
General manager David Caldwell put a huge emphasis on the offense this offseason in the draft and free agency. Zane Beadles, Toby Gerhart, Brandon Linder, Marqise Lee, Allen Robinson, and quarterback Blake Bortles are all players who should make an impact this season possibly immediately.
Personally, I think the Jaguars have the makings of a team who could win upwards of 7 or 8 games. Whether or not Bortles eventually starts this season, the Jaguars are vastly improved at several positions and should be competitive in most of their games in 2014.
– Daniel Lago