The Jacksonville Jaguars had an uphill climb back to relevance after their trainwreck of a season in 2012, and they still appear to be fighting a justifiably lingering negative perception. This holds true for the analytics community, including Football Outsiders.
As they do every year, FO released their almanac and used a very complex statistical model to simulate the season.
"… we forecast the upcoming season with a complicated formula that accounts for everything from performance the last two years to personnel changes to injury history. Then we run one million simulations of the season, accounting for all the randomness and unknown variables that will also have an impact."
Using these results, Scott Kacsmar discussed which teams have the best odds for the first overall pick based on the projected records. The Jacksonville Jaguars came in at number 2, just behind the Oakland Raiders.
"2. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-12 or worse: 23.1 percent)Chad Henne is like that C-minus student who does just enough with his GPA to stay in the program, but he’s never going to improve to be anything more. It’s surprising the Jaguars are content with sitting rookie Blake Bortles behind him all season. Bortles looked really good this preseason, but that could be fool’s gold. Still, this roster is improving, and the quarterback of the future is in place — and will probably see the field sometime this season. Playing in the AFC South does give Jacksonville the potential to win a few games, yet a fourth consecutive year with a top-five pick is very likely. But if they can nail that selection as well as it looks like they nailed the Bortles pick, there won’t be another top-five pick for a while."
Kacsmar at least focuses on Jacksonville’s biggest dilemma (quarterback), but it’s really hard to envision a scenario where the Jaguars finish 4-12 or worse. The team appears to be significantly more talented along the offensive and defensive line, and they upgraded three key skill positions in the draft and free agency. If Blake Bortles comes in at some point and plays the way he has throughout the preseason with what should be a relatively soft schedule, the Jaguars will be closer to the playoffs than the top of the draft.