Can the Jacksonville Jaguars improve upon on a 10-6 record and an AFC South Division Title from 2017? Will this team prove it is still the class of the division with improvements to all three rivals?
The Jacksonville Jaguars won’t sneak up on anyone this year. For the first time in a decade, national and local pundits are talking about this roster as one of the most talented in the conference and potentially the league.
From a fan’s perspective, it’s about time.
The Jaguars have an opportunity to make a statement in 2018 that last season was not a one-hit wonder. They also could turn more national heads with better play on both offense and defense.
Here are three new bold predictions for the 2018 season.
Leonard Fournette Wins the NFL Rushing Title
This is all predicated on the offensive line playing better this season. Leonard Fournette rushed for 1,040 yards, the second most by a rookie in team history. He is also the second rookie to run for 1,000 yards in his first season in his career.
Fournette came to camp leaner and in better shape than he was a year ago. While he missed most of the team’s OTAs (nine of 10) he showed off a bit more quickness in minicamp and the first two weeks of training camp. This could be a sign of things to come.
If Fournette gets 300 carries and averages over four yards a carry, there is a chance he could challenge for the league rushing title. The only Jaguars player to win a rushing title is Maurice Jones-Drew in 2011.
Fournette needs to stay healthy and continue to work on his craft to prove he is the best running back in the NFL.
Yannick Ngakoue Wins Defensive Player of the Year
There is so much to like about Yannick Ngakoue and how he approaches football. The sack master plays with a chip on his shoulder and works as hard in practice as he does on game day. It’s that warrior mentality that makes him a possible surprise winner of the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year.
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Ngakoue went to the Pro Bowl and talked with Von Miller and other defensive stalwarts, learning a few new techniques. The education should pay off for himself and the Jaguars defense.
In 2017, the former third-round draft pick out of Maryland had 12 sacks, second on the team to Calais Campbell. It’s a good bet he will lead the team in that category this season and challenge the established pass rushers in the league for his place amongst the best in the NFL.
Josh Lambo Leads the NFL in Scoring
I’m putting this out there – I am drafting Josh Lambo in my fantasy football league. After signing with the Jaguars at midseason, Lambo was automatic at home, not missing a single kick. That’s almost iconic.
The Jaguars released Josh Scobee two seasons ago and relied on Jason Myers to replace the legend. We all know how that turned out. After a mediocre year and a half, the Jaguars made a change – a change for the better.
Lambo told me during OTAs he wants to continue to make clutch kicks that help the Jaguars past the AFC Title Game. He has been just as automatic during training camp.
I would not bet against him.