Where will the Jaguars finish in the AFC South in 2019?
By David Levin
The Jacksonville Jaguars have made changes to their roster in free agency, have the NFL Draft ahead of them and could still finish last in the AFC South.
I like to tell a story about a conversation I had two seasons ago before the Jaguars started playing preseason games. After watching the atrocious play from quarterbacks in camp and the lack of a true starter under center, one national sports writer asked what at the time was an odd question.
“What if Tom Coughlin, Dave Caldwell, and Doug Marrone know something we don’t know? What if this team is going to be really good this season?”
Of course, we all know the answer to that, with the 2017 season proving almost everyone wrong and the Jaguars making it to the AFC Title Game. We saw 2018 as the year that would make this franchise Super Bowl contenders once again and after beating the New England Patriots, Jacksonville was the team to beat in the NFL.
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Then the walls caved in. This offseason has been about soul searching and change. It’s been about making different decisions and creating new opportunities. This team, the one constructed right now, should be better if for nothing else because injuries destroyed the team on the offensive line and at skilled positions.
But there is the other side of this pancake we must address, like a baby elephant in the room as we all hope a new quarterback and offensive game plan will make it all better. The Jaguars, a 5-11 team last season, could win more games in 2019 and finish last in the AFC South.
The Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans are the two best teams in the division. The Tennessee Titans have a solid team but inconsistent play under center (I think we have discussed this a time or two). The Jaguars have a good defense but it is thin on depth and the offense is now under the watchful eye of John DiFilippo.
Like most of us, the idea of another high draft pick in 2020 is unacceptable, but making the playoffs could be a reach as well.
Per Ben Fawkes of ESPN, the projections are that Jacksonville wins eight games this season. Indianapolis is ranked first with Houston and Tennesse tied for second. A break-even season still yields this franchise a last-place finish.
Would eight wins be enough for Shad Khan to keep everyone one in the front office and coaching staff in house?
Jacksonville must establish themselves as a threat on offense, run the football and allow new signal caller Nick Foles to use his strengths to the team’s advantage. The defense, led by Jalen Ramsey, Calais Campbell, and Yannick Ngakoue, must find a more consistent rhythm.
There should be more changes to this roster with the Draft only two weeks away. Those moves should help the offense even more.
The rest, however, is dependant on the coaching staff and how well the team gels and avoids the injury bug.
Even this early in April, the focus is on getting better as a team. Hopefully, that also means proving critics wrong once again.