The Jacksonville Jaguars are 8-5 and hold a favorable chance of qualifying for the postseason. While seizing the No. 1 seed in the AFC now seems highly unlikely, this is still the same Jags team that was expected to continue to make strides one year after finishing 9-7 and winning the division for the first time since 2017.
It seems like the Jaguars haven't improved as much as they were expected but the truth is that they underwent a huge turnaround last year, so their progress was more notable coming off an underwhelming 2021 campaign. This season though, they're one win away from tying their 2022 win total with four games to go. Three of their remaining opponents have a losing record, so they should be able to achieve a better record in 2023.
That said, there are a few issues that have popped up in their two latest losses. If they don't fix them, they could either finish the season on a low note or be one-and-done in the playoffs. Here are three of those aforementioned issues.
3. Missing tackles, giving up big plays
Allowing big plays isn't the end of the world, as long as you can prevent opponents from reaching the end zone, or in the worst-case scenario, limit them to field goals. The trouble is that most of the big plays the Jags have surrendered the past two weeks have led to touchdowns. Against the Bengals, they gave up a 76-yard touchdown reception to wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase.
It's hard to tell from an outside perspective what kind of play defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell dialed up, but maybe Campbell could've benefited from help on the back end. Instead, he was left on his own.
Things weren't much better against the Browns. Besides letting Joe Flacco become the first Browns signal-caller to throw for 300 yards or more since Tyrod Taylor in November 2022, they routinely gave up big plays including touchdowns of 34 and 30 yards to tight end David Njoku. Wide receiver David Bell had another one of 34 yards.
Tackling has been another issue, the Jags missed 13 tackles against the Bengals and 12 in the loss Cleveland. Add their inability to create turnovers in recent weeks, and it's easy to see why the Jaguars' defense ranks 20th in points allowed after making the top 10 just before their BYE.