Jaguars ascension in NFL Power Rankings continues after win vs. Jets
The Jacksonville Jaguars have been one of the hottest NFL teams in recent weeks, winning five of their last six games. They’re currently in first place in the AFC South and close to making the playoffs for the first time since 2017. Their recent success is the fruit of the work they’ve put in since Doug Pederson became their head coach earlier this year.
Although they’ve had rough stretches over the last few months, Pederson has the Jags on the right track, which is why they find themselves in the top half, and even top 12 of most NFL Power Rankings following their win over the New York Jets in Week 16.
Pete Prisco of CBS Sports placed Jacksonville at No. 13, noting that their game against the Houston Texans is meaningless and must turn their attention to the season finale. The Bleacher Report staff gave the Jaguars the 12th spot in their ranking. They point out that whether the Jags make the playoffs or not, their future is bright due to the presence of Trevor Lawrence, “who’s starting to look like the generational QB prospect” he was labeled coming out of college.
Dan Hanzus of NFL Media ranked the Jaguars at No. 9, the highest they’ve been in 2022. Hanzus notes that they played complementary football against the Jets and adds that they’re in a favorable position to win the AFC South.
"Jacksonville remains on the come-up. The Jaguars looked like the better, more prepared team in the wind and rain of the Meadowlands on Thursday night, coasting to a 19-3 win — their first prime-time road victory in 22 years. Trevor Lawrence easily outplayed Zach Wilson in a showdown of the top two overall picks of the 2021 NFL Draft, while the improving Jags defense allowed a single field goal on a drive that started deep in their own territory. Now tied in the standings with the lifeless Titans, Jacksonville feels like a team destined to win the AFC South. What a difference a year makes."
The Jaguars have the pieces to keep moving up in NFL rankings
Early in the 2022 season, the Jags struggled to play complementary football but they’ve put it all together since Week 9, when Trevor Lawrence says a switch flipped. The defense is once again racking up turnovers and limited the Jets’ offense to a measly three points.
Lawrence himself is playing like a top-10 quarterback, completing 69.69 percent of his throws for 1,909 yards with 14 touchdowns and one interception. Lawrence hasn’t done it alone though, he’s gotten plenty of help from his supporting cast. Tight end Evan Engram and wide receiver Zay Jones are having career years. Christian Kirk is 13 yards away from his first-ever 1,000-yard season and Travis Etienne already reached 1,000 rushing yards this season.
While it’s true that Week 17 might be inconsequential in the race for the AFC South title, don’t expect the Jaguars to take their foot off the gas pedal. They’re getting hot at the right time and will probably want their current momentum to carry over into the postseason.