Jacksonville Jaguars get surprisingly high spot in CBS Sports' NFL power ranking

A Jaguars fan holds up a sign before a regular season NFL football matchup against the Baltimore Ravens.
A Jaguars fan holds up a sign before a regular season NFL football matchup against the Baltimore Ravens. / Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Unio / USA

The Jacksonville Jaguars are coming off one of their most successful seasons in recent years and they aren't resting on their laurels. Instead, they've restocked their roster in free agency and the NFL Draft to ensure that they can pick up where they left off in 2023. Pete Prisco of CBS Sports has taken notice of all the additions they made and given them a surprisingly high spot in his latest power ranking.

Prisco ranked all 32 teams following this year's draft and placed the Jags at No. 6, noting that they've gotten significantly better over the last few months and have a favorable schedule in 2023.

"Some will wonder why the Jacksonville Jaguars are sixth, but here goes: They have rising stars in guys like Lawrence and they've added a big dimension to the offense with Calvin Ridley. Plus, they will play six games against a division loaded with quarterback uncertainty and four more against the NFC South, which isn't exactly the best division in football. So the Jaguars should win 11-13 games this year. If they don't something bad happened."

The way Prisco worded his explanation, it feels like some observers think he ranked the Jaguars too high. For context, the Kansas City Chiefs seized the top spot. The Philadelphia Eagles were second and the Buffalo Bills landed at No. 3. The Cincinnati Bengals were placed fourth and the San Francisco 49ers got the spot above Jacksonville.

The Jacksonville Jaguars got a fair spot in CBS Sports' NFL power ranking

That seems to be a fair ranking and if critics think the Jaguars deserved to be placed lower, they haven't been paying attention to what they've done over the last two seasons. Calvin Ridley will round out an already talented wide receiver corps that includes the duo of Zay Jones and Christian Kirk. Also, general manager Trent Baalke added depth to all position groups on defense in the draft.

There's also Trevor Lawrence, who made a huge leap in Year 2 after an underwhelming rookie campaign. He should continue to improve next season and has a realistic shot at joining the upper echelon of NFL quarterbacks. Last but not least is head coach Doug Pederson, who won't let his players get complacent and will push them to get the most out of them.

Simply, it's hard to see the Jags regressing next season. They aren't perfect but they have enough talent and depth to compete in the AFC and return. Barring a series injury to Lawrence, Jacksonville should be able to win the division and make the playoffs for the second straight year.

Having said that, the Jaguars aren't the only team that has gotten better since the conclusion of the 2022 season. The Houston Texans have narrowed down the gap in the AFC South other teams the Jags will face in 2023 -- the New Orleans Saints, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Atlanta Falcons -- have also gotten a facelift. On the other hand, even if you account for the upgrades other clubs made, the Jags still come on top. They won't go 17-0 or even 15-2, but they should be able to finish the year with double-digit wins.

It's easy to dismiss the Jaguars as a one-year wonder. After all, they've had just two winning seasons since 2008. But if they stay hot next season, Pete Prisco won't be the analyst that will tip his hat to them. In fact, don't be surprised if he bumps them up a couple of spots in his power ranking.

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