Jacksonville Jaguars: Predicting how the offensive numbers in 2018 will compare to last season’s output
Will the Jacksonville Jaguars offense help the elite defense in balancing the load next season?
The go-to reason why the Jacksonville Jaguars are widely considered a dangerous squad for 2018 is not complex: the team is led by an all-time defense. Four All-Pros and numerous pro-bowlers illustrate what is truly a dominate group in Jacksonville.
On the other side of the ball where is you’ll find the majority of question marks for next season, albeit the few the Jaguars have overall. Most notably is the primarily unproven crop of pass catchers, both at wide receiver and at tight end.
But even with the uncertainty of the unit, the Jaguars threw some punches on offense in 2017, including leading the league in rushing yards per game while also having nearly 366 yards a game in total.
With a heavy emphasis this offseason on improving the talent on offense, and some young guys with a initial year under their belt, how might the Jaguars’ offensive numbers this season compare to the output in 2017? Let’s make some predictions:
Passing Yards per game
2018 prediction: More
Don’t expect the Jaguars passing game to exactly light up the scoreboard next season, but I do feel that the receiving corps from last season was better than it was credited, and the team has since added Donte Moncrief, speedster D.J. Chark, and Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
All eyes will be on Blake Bortles, who despite the constant criticism, had one of his better statistical seasons in 2017.
Jacksonville will get more production from the passing game in 2018, and ease some of the pressure that was on the running game all of last year.
Rushing yards per game
2018 prediction: More
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Expecting more from a rushing attack that is already coming off a number one ranked finish may seem like asking a lot, but that number was a bit of fool’s gold. It wasn’t that the run game wasn’t dominate on many occasions, and numbers never lie, but Jacksonville found some trouble trying to run between the tackles in 2017, especially when trying to close games out, as painfully evident in the AFC Championship game.
The offensive line held up well in pass protection, but couldn’t get a push in the trenches more often than desired. The Jaguars made a key move in eradicating that with the signing of guard Andrew Norwell in free agency, which is an addition that is going to pay vital dividends in 2018.
Jacksonville is still a ground and pound team to its core, and with Leonard Fournette in pristine shape and ready to go, the Jaguars will improve on an already league-leading stat next season.
Points per game
2018 prediction: slightly less
I know saying the team will have more passing and rushing yards per game next season and then turning around and predicting less points per contest seems like a huge contradiction. But that 26 points a game was good for the fifth highest mark in 2017.
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The unit did rise to the occasion when called on at crucial times, including most importantly in a surprising shootout in the divisional round against the Steelers.
Look for the offense to be far more fluent next season, but also to wear opponents down and let the defense slam the door shut. With that, I’m predicting an ever so slightly decrease on the 26.1 number from last year.