Jaguars squander chance vs. Broncos to move up in NFL Power Rankings

Fans react during an NFL International Series at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Fans react during an NFL International Series at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The 2022 season is starting to take shape and the contenders have started to separate themselves from the pretenders. Teams such as the Philadelphia Eagles and the Buffalo Bills have worked their way up to the top while the Jacksonville Jaguars have gradually moved near the cellar after a promising start. Following their loss to the New York Giants, the Jags plummeted to No. 28 in most power rankings and they kept a similar spot after falling to the Denver Broncos in London.

Pete Prisco of CBS Sport gave Jacksonville the 28th spot in his ranking and points out that Trevor Lawrence has to “get it going“. The Bleacher Report staff also placed the Jags in the same spot and just like Prisco, they note that Lawrence has to play better.

Keep in mind that B/R and Prisco aren’t outliers. Most analysts agree that Lawrence has shown flashes in Year 2 but hasn’t made enough progress. Dan Hanzus of NFL Media argues that he had the chance to “put on the cape” against the Broncos but “it turned into more disappointment”, which is one of the reasons the Jags popped up at No. 30 in his ranking.

"Lawrence was picked off on his first throw in the ensuing drive, sealing a painful 21-17 loss at Wembley Stadium. Lawrence, who also threw a critical end-zone interception on first-and-goal at the 1-yard line in the first half is not making the strides many expected. His starting job remains safe because the Jags simply have too much invested in the former No. 1 overall pick, but Lawrence needs to be better. What he’s shown through eight games of Year 2 simply isn’t good enough."

This season, Lawrence has completed 62.5 percent of his passes for 1,840 yards with 10 touchdowns and six interceptions. While those aren’t bad numbers, they aren’t the ones you should come to expect from the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 draft. To make matters worse, all of Lawrence’s picks have come at costly times.

Trevor Lawrence isn’t the only issue the Jaguars have in 2022

Based on all the flak Lawrence is (rightfully) getting, you would think he’s the only thing holding the Jaguars back but the truth is that there are several reasons why they find themselves near the bottom of the league in terms of wins and most power rankings.

Jacksonville has a rising star in sophomore cornerback Tyson Campbell but he’s their only defender that’s making plays. Besides allowing a passer rating of 70.6 and less than 10 yards per reception, the former Georgia Bulldog is the only Jaguar who has logged a takeaway in the last four games. But it isn’t just their defense’s inability to create big plays. They can’t defend the run or the pass at crucial moments.

Heading into Week 8, the Broncos had the worst-scoring offense in the league. Yet, they were able to score 21 points against the Jaguars. This isn’t to say Lawrence should get a pass. If he were playing better, he could make up for the defense’s shortcomings and the opposite is true. If the Jaguars were able to stop opposing offenses from scoring, they would take some pressure off the quarterback’s shoulders but that hasn’t been the case.

Having said that, not everything is gloom and doom. Lawrence has made indeed made strides, even if it hasn’t translated into wins. Similarly, Travis Etienne has shown he can play at a high level in the NFL.

Of course, the bad is going to overshadow the good as long as the Jaguars keep losing. Working in their favor is that next on their schedule is a Las Vegas Raiders team that was shut out in Week 7.

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