Can the Jacksonville Jaguars Beat the Houston Texans in 2015?


The Jacksonville Jaguars were third in a weak division in 2014. At 3-13, they beat out the hapless Tennessee Titans who finished in the basement at 2-14. Now, the Indianapolis Colts rule the AFC South with the golden arm of Andrew Luck, much like they did in the Peyton Manning era. The Jags aren’t going to jump nine games in 2015 to catch the Colts.

But what about the second place Houston Texans?

The Jaguars will have to make a big leap in 2015 to go from tied for the second worst mark in the NFL to being on the cusp of the playoffs, which is where the Texans are now. It isn’t unprecedented, though. The Texans were 2-14 just a year ago (though with a lot less mess than the Jags had two years ago) and finished 9-7 in 2014.

Both teams are on the rise. In fact, the whole division is on the rise.

The Texans have done a solid job in free agency and are hoping that Brian Hoyer and/or Ryan Mallett can bring the team to the playoffs. Ryan Fitzpatrick couldn’t last year, but with some some free agency changes (Vince Wilfork is huge for the Texans, expect J.J. Watt to dominate even more) the Texans may be more prepared on both sides of the ball to make a push.

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Does that mean the Texans are going to sit at 9-7 again and sneak into the playoffs? Are they suddenly a 10-win team?

Personally, I think they’ll hover around those numbers. There’s only so much that Brian Hoyer can do for your football team and he’s at the most valuable position right now. Arian Foster can try and carry everyone, but it’s going to be tough. Another curious note, longtime center Chris Myers still remains a free agent and personally I’d be uncomfortable with his vacated position. Even with J.J. Watt turning in a near-MVP season, they couldn’t get into the playoffs.

The Jacksonville Jaguars, meanwhile, seem to be a seething force rising toward relevancy in both the AFC South and the NFL. Does that mean they’ll improve by six wins and finish at 9-7? Is 10-6 too much to hope for? Does the team just hope for .500 at this point?

It’s three years into the massive rebuild and the Jaguars will have to keep that in perspective as Blake Bortles learns the ropes more this offseason. With a host of young players (the most rookies making an impact of any team in the NFL), the Jaguars are trying to see which players can be instrumental going forward. Based on their performances as rookies and second year players, there are likely going to be more quality players than average players rising out of the Jags in 2015. Expect them to make a push.

Free agent additions like Julius Thomas, Jared Odrick, Jermey Parnell, and Davon House are immediate improvements in the holes they are filling, providing opportunities for other young players to focus on perfecting their roles while the veterans man the voids. It’s a good approach for general manager Dave Caldwell who is trying his best to right a ship that was capsized.

Heading into 2015, Houston Texans fans may have their eyes on the Indianapolis Colts and the AFC South crown. I don’t blame them. But for us Jacksonville Jaguars fans, we’re going to be looking forward at the next-best team in the division, firmly locked in on getting to second best, climbing toward the top one step at a time.

The Houston Texans are that next step.

The Texans are the new barometer, not the Titans anymore.

Next: 3 Interesting Proposed Rule Changes for 2015

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