The Jacksonville Jaguars were flying high ahead of Week 14. At the time, they were 8-3 and had a realistic chance to seize the No. 1 place in the AFC. However, they failed to capitalize on the opportunity and now find themselves in a three-way tie in the division following three consecutive losses.
It's true that the Jags remain in first place in the AFC South, but their latest losses have exposed their weaknesses on both sides of the ball. Meanwhile, the Houston Texans and the Indianapolis Colts are surging at the right time. Both clubs are trying to make a late-season push for the playoffs, and have more than enough time to surpass the Jags as the top team in the division.
There are three games left in the season, so the Jaguars have a bit of time to get back on track. Having said that, they have a few things going against them in their quest for their second division title in a row and a trip to the playoffs. In particular, these three factors could keep them out of the postseason.
3. The Jaguars are getting worse, not better late in the 2023 season
Clubs are supposed to fully hit their stride in the second half of the regular season. By then, mistakes such as offsides, drops, and missed tackles should no longer be an issue. Yet, the Jags can't seem to stop shooting themselves in the foot. Collectively, they cannot finish drives, and they've struggled to prevent opposing teams from reaching their end zone.
While the Jags have faced several tough opponents this season, they've lost "winnable games." Just last week, they entered Ravens territory and even reached the red zone four times in the first half but couldn't muster a single point. Their offensive line, for their part, has struggled to open running lanes and protect Trevor Lawrence. Granted the unit has dealt with several injuries but it's been a recurring theme most of the year.
Lawrence himself has made several mistakes in recent weeks. He's played through an ankle sprain and a knee injury at different points this season but he's been responsible for mistakes that have held the offense back. This kind of thing would be acceptable early in the season, not with the playoffs looming. And unless they wake up, they could end up on the outside looking in.