Jaguars get dreaded pretenders label after 3 consecutive losses

A Jacksonville Jaguars fan at TIAA Bank Field on August 29, 2019 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
A Jacksonville Jaguars fan at TIAA Bank Field on August 29, 2019 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) /

Calling an NFL club a contender is a desirable distinction. That means they have the right pieces in plays to qualify for the postseason or even make the Super Bowl. Conversely, being labeled a pretender is akin to wearing the scarlet letter around your neck. Simply, it’s a tag teams would like to avoid getting and the one the Jacksonville Jaguars got following three straight losses.

With one-third of the 2022 season in the books, Jeffri Chadiha of NFL Media felt there was enough of a sample to sort out contenders and pretenders and he placed the Jags in the latter category. Chadiha acknowledges that Jacksonville can put a scare in opposing teams when the switch is on but believes they lack consistency.

"This is the one team in this category that is truly scary. When the Jaguars are on, they look tough. The defense flies around and the offense has an assortment of playmakers around young quarterback Trevor Lawrence. The problem is that Jacksonville isn’t always on, as their current three-game losing streak attests."

Chadiha isn’t wrong. Jacksonville looked quite dominant on both sides of the ball against the Indianapolis Colts (in Week 2) and the Los Angeles Chargers. Trevor Lawrence had no trouble spreading the ball, the running game was operating at full steam and the defense was forcing turnovers at a high rate.

However, the Jaguars haven’t been able to close in any of the last three weeks. In spite of turning the ball over a staggering five times against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 4, they had a chance to win the game but their comeback attempt fell short. The following week, their defense kept the Houston Texans in check for most of the contest but they failed to reach the end zone. Then, the Jags traveled to Lucas Oil Stadium and had no answer for Matt Ryan and the Colts’ passing game. Simply, they haven’t been able to overcome self-inflicted wounds.

The Jaguars can realistically build momentum but will they?

You can lose a few games and still make the playoffs. Similarly, getting in a mid-season fun or losing a game doesn’t mean much if you can bounce back and the Jags might do that. Wide receiver Zay Jones certainly believes they can pick up steam and become a dangerous team.

“October has been spooky, to say the least, but you want to play your best football in November, and December”, Jones said during an exchange with the local media Monday. “You don’t want to peak too soon, and I feel as though this team is on pace to do something special down the road. Coming up, we have an unbelievable opportunity this week against the Giants, good football team”.

“They run the ball well, a great challenge for our defense. We know who they have on defense as we get into them a little bit more but November, December, when we start clicking at that moment, and we gain that momentum, I think that’s what makes a dangerous team. And hopefully, we can put ourselves in that category moving forward”, Jones said.

Jones isn’t being unrealistic. The Jaguars have already proven they can play high-end football. The question is whether they can get back into the win column and build consistency. If they can, they go toe to toe with most teams. For the time being, nobody should be surprised that they’re being called pretenders. The good thing is that they have enough time and talent to change labels and beating the New York Giants in Week 7 would be a good start.

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